Stephanie's BioBlue-eyed country singer Stephanie Michals has always been an entertainer. She was only six years old when she made her first public performance, but even at an early age her talent and love for music was clearly evident. She sang her first solo at her family church, a song recorded by her childhood inspiration, Christian artist Sandi Patty. From that moment she knew exactly what she wanted to do the rest of her life.
Michals, the daughter of a Banker and an Elementary school teacher, grew up singing in Washington State. I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember! she says, I think I came out that way!
Growing up Stephanie had many different musical influences ranging from Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin to the country sounds of Patsy Cline. “I was always happiest when listening to and singing country music but I had such a variety of music growing up! I loved country and mo-town and gospel! I was obsessed with Sandi Patty. She is a huge reason why I wanted to sing! I also wore out my Juice Newton tape! Man I loved her! "Queen of Hearts!!" That was my song!”
“I always had music on and was singing non-stop! I'm sure my siblings wanted to kill me!! I am always told the story of how I had my little tape recorder with Whitney Houston on it and I would walk up and say "want to hear me sing?" Before anyone could even answer I had pushed the play button and was in full performance mode!”
Accompanied by her parents, Stephanie began touring regionally at different fairs and festivals in Oregon and Washington. “We would just pack up the truck and go wherever I was booked to play. It was so much fun! We would go place to place and say one day well be doing this on a big bus!”
With her desires to accomplish her dream and her strong voice Stephanie began her struggle to make her dream a reality. She had formed a small fan base within the Northwest, who had heard her perform in schools, fairs, festivals, and everywhere in between. During this time Stephanie’s face became familiar to the public even though her name wasn’t. At one of her gigs she did an impromptu show with a live band. “I couldn't believe how amazing it was to have a live band backing me! I knew when we got home that I had to start looking for local musicians and get a band of my own. So that's exactly what I did. I made some calls and gathered some great guys together.”
Michals and her band gained a large following around the West coast performing at clubs and fairs. They went on tour around the country, Summer of 2007, gaining new friends and fans all over the United States as well as opening shows for major label artists.
Stephanie continued to work the music scene and make as many connections as she could. “I started flying back and forth to Nashville to meet contacts back there. I went to major conventions and met with some amazing people.” Many doors opened from there and at one particular convention in Nashville she found herself sitting at a table, eating dinner with Luke Lewis, head of Mercury Records Nashville, among many other things!! "I could not believe it! I talked with him and told him a little about myself! I was so in shock of who was right in front of me I couldn't even tell you what I said but it was amazing!” Stephanie continued to meet people in Nashville and was fortunate to have some real major hitters that genuinely liked her and her voice and wanted to help her succeed. “I was able to do things people work for years and years to do. I walked in and sang for A&R of many major labels, I was meeting major artists and forming friendships. It was surreal!”
Stephanie had been living back in Nashville one summer when her mom was re-diagnosed with cancer. “I knew I did not want to be across the country, away from my family. I just couldn't be. So right at the height of all my excitement and good things happening in Nashville I packed up my car and headed back to Oregon to be with my family. Let me tell you that is a scary thing. Not only was I terrified about my mom, but I was so afraid that my leaving Nashville meant the end of my career. It's very true that when you walk away from this business there is someone else right there ready to take your spot. And all the "friends" you have made seem all too eager to jump on the wagon of that next person! But it was what I wanted and had to do and thank goodness I did.”
Stephanie lost her mom in 2008. “My mom was my best friend and I miss her EVERY day. She was my biggest fan next to my dad. I still see her sweet face when I perform certain songs that she loved to listen to me sing.” That life changing event gave Stephanie a new perspective on her life and goals. Singing was the last thing on her mind at the time. “I didn't care about Nashville or trying to get that big record deal. I just wanted to be with my family and friends and soak up every moment I could with them. All of a sudden the sacrifice of the music industry wasn't worth it at all! I needed a break and time to focus on myself and my family.”
After what seems like an eternity away from singing she is finally ready to get back to it! “I really missed just singing. It is who I am, and even though I didn't feel like doing much of it for a while, I felt in my soul that something was missing. I have learned a lot about myself and what I really want, and I am going at this with an all new perspective! I have met some AMAZING musicians and songwriters and I have been writing as well. Good things are happening and I am just so excited to get my new music out to share with you all!
Michals has a way of captivating people when she sings. Her soulful country voice reflects feeling and emotion, and her passion for music is evident when you listen her. She believes music speaks to the soul and that is exactly what she hopes to accomplish through her music.
A lot has happened in a short amount of time, changing the life of Stephanie in many ways, but through it all she has learned more about herself than she ever thought she would. From singing songs on the back of flatbed trucks, to living her dream in the music city, she knows where she is now is right where she is meant to be.