Stevie Rae “Uneasy”

With touching, yet chilling, lyrics, Stevie Rae’s new song, “Uneasy,” is a very relatable song based on unfortunate current events. The song is the first of four singles she will be releasing, preceding three EPs (Ladylike, Daydreams, and Cruel Love). These will ultimately make up her upcoming album set to be released in the fall.

“As an activist for raising awareness and confronting domestic violence, rape culture, sexual violence/exploitation/trafficking in all its ugly forms, I do my best to address these issues in my songwriting. To call me a ‘feminist’ is an understatement.”

What music and artists influenced you growing up in California?

My music is very influenced by pop icons such as Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and Sara Bareilles, but I have deep roots in theater and film score that really contribute to my melodies, storytelling, and overall theatrics that permeate my writing. My favorite musicals are Les Miserables, A Chorus Line, and Funny Girl to name a few!

How has your family supported your career?

My mom never missed a single voice lesson in 15 years. My dad played guitar on my first album’s title track, “Let Me Go.” My brother frequently drives over an hour from Columbia, TN to play cajon for my rounds and solo sets around town. To say that my family has pushed me and supported me my entire musical career would be an understatement.

What are your fondest musical memories?

I started taking voice lessons at 13-years-old from a renowned teacher in the Bay Area. She had a two-year waiting list and took me instantly after hearing me sing. Four months later, I was pulled out of school to go down to Los Angeles with the vocal studio to compete in a competition called Best New Talent. Thousands of singers of all ages flooded the Kodak Theater after 3 days of grueling auditions. I stood at the back of the largest stage I had ever been on behind a sea of 500 of the best singers I had ever heard. Three names were called to come forward and compete live on stage for 1st place and I was only able to walk forward after the second time my name was called. I was 13, I was in shock, and it had never occurred to me that my mom wasn’t lying when she said I was meant for something bigger than I could ever imagine. I took that trophy home and it still sits on my nightstand nearly 15 years later.

Can you share your career defining moment to date?

My junior year of college, my best friend’s roommate, and debuting director, reached out and asked me to audition for The Vagina Monologues — an annual CSU Monterey Bay production geared toward ending violence against women. I refused because I was so busy and overwhelmed in my studies, but reconsidered after she offered me a part. The temptation of feeling at home on stage again while I was drowning in my music engineering degree was just enough to push me into the greatest experience of my life. After months of rehearsals and breaking into a character I never imagined I would be cast as, I stumbled onto the most important, career defining realization — nothing feels better than standing on a stage, except standing on a stage for something bigger than myself. After our first performance, the director asked the audience “if you or someone you know has been violated, please stand” and my stomach turned as 500 audience members stood in unison. I would never be the same, and neither would my music. I had a message and a purpose and I wasn’t going to waste any more time or talent on anything less than doing my part in giving a voice to those who have none and creating a future worth living in.

Where do your writing ideas come from?

My life, my experiences, my passions, and research :)

What is the backstory to your new song “Uneasy”?

After my first year in The Vagina Monologues, I was the sole lighting designer for the proceeding six annual performances along with the five performances of The MENding Monologues — another incredibly written play about ending sexual violence and rape culture. Essentially, I have a lot of Facebook friends who are well-versed in sharing their stories. So, when the #MeToo movement took to social media in 2017, my feed was inundated with the stories of my warrior sisters and brothers. I knew their stories and lived their stories via every rehearsal, run through, and performance over seven years. But I wasn’t prepared for the stories from my family members, my closest friends, my mentors, neighbors, coworkers, and classmates. It was a heavy, yet empowering morning endlessly scrolling through horror stories of rape, harassment, and healing. I sat down to write “Uneasy” and it poured out of me in less than an hour. I wrote the bridge ending with the words “it was me we said” after I reflected on every memory I had of doing nothing in the presence of injustice, shaming another woman or man, or staying ignorant to a very real rape culture that thrives within the borders of our country and so many more in the world. I faced every memory of when it was me, swore to be a warrior for progress, and finished this song.

UNEASY

Does it make you uneasy

When the world is in pain and the face of it looks like you

Does it make you uneasy

When the women you love and the men you call friends write #metoo

It was my fault she says

I shouldn’t have been out so late

It was my fault he says

I shouldn’t have made him say it again

It was my fault she says

I shouldn’t have had so much to drink

It was my fault we said

Stand with us

We can’t be the only ones

For your sisters and your mothers

For your wives and your daughters

Stand with us

Does it make you uneasy

One in three of us have seen this war

Does it make you uneasy

We’ve been fighting so long we don’t know what we’re fighting for

It was my fault she says

At first I said yes and then I said no

It was my fault he says

I was young and ashamed and I didn’t know

It was my fault she says

I should’ve fought harder but I was afraid

It was my fault we said

Stand with us

We can’t be the only ones

For your sisters and your mothers

For your wives and your daughters

Stand with us

It was me he says

Wasn’t taught how to treat you the right way

It was me she says

I shamed you because I was jealous

It was me he says

I couldn’t see the cycle of violence

It was me we said

Stand with us

We can’t be the only ones

For your sisters and your mothers

For your wives and your daughters

Stand with us, stand with us

We can’t be the only ones

For your sisters and your mothers

For your friends and your brothers

Stand with us

Staying true to one’s core values in a chaotic world is difficult. What helps you stay on course?

Simple. One in three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime. That’s one billion women on the planet. It’s my responsibility to do something about it — to invoke positive change in our culture. I want to see progress in my lifetime! Music has been known to make immense impact so it sounds like I’m in the right business.

The visuals in your videos are as powerful as your lyrics — as a songwriter, do you conceptualize a storyboard as you write?

I have been very fortunate to stumble upon the creative directors I have. My role in producing my music videos has been to steer these creative partners in the direction of my concepts. Lucky for me, these directors hear me and deliver beautiful representations of my music rooted in their own passions for progress, boldness, and fierce, unapologetic notions of change. Incredible, Nashville-based, creative, Anna Haas, will be directing my next video, “Ladylike,” very soon!

If you were to compare yourself to another female artist who would it be? What is most inspiring about her music?

I try not to compare myself to other artists and instead make sure what I say in my songs could be said by all women. I ask myself if my message will teach a young girl the meaning and importance of self-love and self-worth. I compare myself to the strongest women in history who never censored their voices for the comfortably of society.

What’s something you wished people asked you in an interview?

Great question! When I was on American Idol, I would consistently get asked one question: “How long have you wanted this.” And I could never answer the question the way they wanted me to. I went home after Hollywood week, back to CSU Monterey Bay to finish my audio engineering degree, produce my first album, and when I was handed my degree at graduation, I thought “This…I have wanted my whole life.” So, ultimately, I wish more interviewers asked me about how hard I worked for and wanted my BA and Masters in Music.

Stevie Rae is currently directing a production of The Vagina Monologues, which will take place on February 17th and 18th at Nashville’s Exit/In. Tickets can be purchased HERE.

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