Singing and writing songs since a young girl, Stefanie Johnson hails from the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania. Her professional musical experience is varied and significant: performing at Allentown's popular Musikfest, appearing in local television station WLVT's Steel Sessions, performing at Nashville's legendary Bluebird Cafe and 12th & Porter, and then on to perform at the Rock and Roll of Fame in 2011. This year she releases her self-titled debut album, Stefanie, through England's Escape Music label.
To describe her voice, Stefanie has a bold melodic presence, both strong and smooth. Her style ranges from a classic rock singer to soaring pop diva, and you may hear a slight country timbre as well. Similarly, her music and songwriting style traverse those same motifs, though the country motif is slight or almost completely lacking. (However, with a twist in instrumentation and arrangement, this could have easily been a country album.) It would be fair to drop her music into the overarching genre of AOR melodic rock without diminishing either her talent or the depth and breadth of her songs. Suffice to say, you will be captured by both her voice and her music, equally and exceptionally paired together.
As for the songs, there's simply not a runt in the litter or, stealing a cliche used often in hard rock and heavy metal: it's all killer and no filler. Certainly, I can say that I liked some songs over others. But considered as a whole, these eleven songs are well-crafted and pleasing AOR melodic rock. You get some fine rockers with All I Know, Stranger, Master Of Disguise, or the very catchy One Life. Something more akin to pop melodic rock comes with Everything You Need with it's playful piano line. Then you get to hear Stefanie's smoother and softer side, yet wrapped in her powerful vocal presence, with anthems and ballads such as Word Man, Hello Love, The Song I Was Meant To Write, and We Will Fight. Those last two showcase the emotion in her voice and, for you guitar fans, We Will Fight has a killer guitar solo.
It's pretty much all good. Stefanie Johnson's self-titled debut is an exceptional album of delightful AOR melodic rock, featuring her immense vocal talent within well-crafted songs. Easily recommended.
Stefanie Johnson's self-titled debut is an exceptional album of delightful AOR melodic rock, featuring her immense vocal talent within well-crafted songs. Easily recommended.
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