Into the world of Stephanie Reese

DIRECT LINE - Boy Abunda (The Philippine Star) - October 2, 2015 - 10:00am

She has been in the entertainment industry since she was four years old. Since then, singer Stephanie Reese has done some pretty amazing things, the latest of which is to come home to record and release an album that will re-introduce her and her music to local audiences. 

Yes, the term is “re-introduce” because Stephanie — who was the first Filipina-American born singer to stage a concert at the prestigious Carnegie Hall, has been in and out of the country before. Since then she has literally gone places, traveling the world and jumping from the US to Manila and Europe, where she performed on the grand stages of the West End. Every year, she appears on German TV for the annual UNICEF Germany concerts as a featured artist with other artists from around the world. In UNICEF Germany’s 30-plus years of doing these televised shows, Stephanie was the first Filipino to be asked to participate and to represent the Philippines. She also composed the UNICEF theme song for UNICEF Germany’s 30th year. 

But what she is most proud of these days is her new album, The World of Stephanie Reese. Produced by RankOne Productions and Stephanie’s manager Teresa Kong, it contains a mixture of original tracks and cover versions, plus some mash-ups. The tracks are In My Life/Yesterday, Sweet Red Wine, Chocka Locka (Boom Boom), Anak/Magbago Ka, Ice, Prelude, Amame, Empire State of Mind, Hallelujah and Renegade Brigade. The album — which will have a soft launch via a show on Oct. 5 — was conceptualized, arranged, mixed and mastered at RankOne Productions (Jon Meer Vera Perez, Adonis Tabanda, Flecher Hernandez) with contributions and compositions from Stephanie herself, who also assisted with the music and vocal arrangements for some of the songs. American EDM/pop producer DJDS also contributed one song to the album. 

Overall music direction is by Jon, whose work as a songwriter and arranger is prominently featured in the album. Jon, also a musician, stage actor and singer, shares that as a music producer/composer, the song Amame is of special importance to him as he collaborated on the Spanish lyrics with his maternal grandfather, lawyer Antonio Malvar Meer, who was a true romantic soul. “It is an honor to have an artist such as Stephanie bring this song to glorious life, as my grandfather’s spirit shines on every time she sings his words,” says Jon.

Stephanie, who has dreamed of being a performer since she was young, was introduced to Jon by close family friends when he was in Paris. “When we finally had a chance to meet up in Manila, Stephanie and her manager Teresa Kong decided to work with me primarily to arrange a few key tracks, which would become the foundation for a ‘new sound’ that had the potential to cross over into several genres. We had begun our work at another studio, and then upon the institutionalization of RankOne as a production house, we took over all elements of the music production (arrangement, recording), mixing, mastering and digital packaging of the artist.” 

Aside from being a showcase of her musical talents, the album also boasts of how adept Stephanie is in other forms of art, like writing. The album will also have a book — one that is represented in the album itself in a mini version. Stephanie shares: “Mr. Gus Vibal, a book publisher of Vibal Publishing and a very dear friend, saw my photos and read a lot of my poetry and writing and decided he wanted to publish a book reflective of My World. This will be out next year but a mini-version will be included in the album. The book will include the album and the album will include the book — since all the photography and poetry is reflective of the tracks on the album — it’s something we haven’t seen done before and we are excited for it!” 

The album is a project that has been two years in the making. Stephanie is very excited over this new development in her career. “This album is the center of my world at the moment,” she says. “We worked so very hard on it and I’m really planning on taking it globally. I plan to do more traveling but I think most especially I want to promote this album and the music in it. I’m truly proud of it. Jon and I worked meticulously to create an album that would globally thrive and yet still be very me in every element. I can’t wait to share it with the world!” 

You can hear The World of Stephanie Reese live for the first time at the soft launch of the album on Oct. 5, 9 p.m. at 12Monkeys located at the fifth floor of Century City Mall in Makati. Special guest artists include Jon, Jonathan Wagner and Gabri Panlilio. Tickets are priced at P300. Call 0917-8181010 or 0917-5703222 for tickets and reservations.

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