Becca Stevens to Release New Album; Shares Lead Single

Her forthcoming album Maple to Paper is set for release August 30.

By: Jun. 17, 2024
Becca Stevens to Release New Album; Shares Lead Single
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2X GRAMMY nominated singer-songwriter and rising star Becca Stevens has confirmed her highly anticipated forthcoming album Maple to Paper, set for release August 30 via GroundUP. Ahead of the album, she unveiled the lead single “Now Feels Bigger Than The Past” with a video June 14.

Stevens has also joined the cast of Broadway’s ‘Illinoise’, which yesterday won Best Choreography at the 2024 Tony Awards and was nominated for three others including Best Musical. Illinoise features music and lyrics from Sufjan Stevens’ 2005 concept album, Illinois. Stevens’ beloved cult classic “springs to epic life on stage (Washington Post)” with live music and vocals, choreography, and narratives centering on self-exploration and community, with direction, choreography and a book by Tony Award-winning director-choreographer Justin Peck (Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story, Carousel) and co-written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury (Fairview, Marys Seacole).

Stevens will play Barsine, the role initially held by Shara Nova, who performed on Sufjan’s original album. Stevens’ run begins today and runs through the limited engagement’s final performance on August 10—tickets are available for purchase now, linked here. The New York Times selected Illinoise as their critic’s pick, describing, “With the verbal dials turned way down, and the physical and musical ones way up, the calibration of information, from dreamy to piercing, is PRETTY MUCH PERFECT.” Variety raves, “[Illinoise is] one of the most singular productions in recent Broadway history.”

A gripping opening ballad, “Now Feels Bigger than the Past” intertwines the LP’s themes of loss, acceptance, and the struggle to sustain authenticity in a world of fast-shifting attention. Stevens reflects, “I think of this song as the prologue to Maple to Paper, providing a ‘heads up’ for what’s to come without giving away all the album’s twists and turns. The lyrics introduce the album’s main themes of motherhood and loss, while also weaving together some of my ramblings on how impermanence affects our perception and appreciation of art and of each other.” The accompanying video, directed by Jep Jorba, features Stevens conversing the song’s moving lyrics with an older version of herself.

In the early days of 2023, Stevens felt an overwhelming need to process two monumental changes in her life: the death of her mother, and the start of her own journey into motherhood. Seeking the catharsis of self-expression, she withdrew to her home studio. Emerging from this unfettered creative period, Stevens had completed Maple to Paper: a glimpse into her most private moments of grief and transcendence, rendered with devotion to music’s alchemical powers.

Maple to Paper is Stevens’ first entirely solo acoustic record. Recorded live with no overdubs and mixed by frequent collaborator Nic Hard (Snarky Puppy, Huntertones), the album features a stripped-down sound rooted in her spellbinding guitar work and raw yet luminous vocal performance. The album is a profound shift from the highly communal nature of her past projects—her most recent album, 2020’s GRAMMY-nominated LP Wonderbloom featured over 40 guest musicians, while her work as a member of David Crosby’s Lighthouse Band generated wide renown.

Comprised of 12 original songs and one heartrending cover of “Rainbow Connection,” Maple to Paper fully embraces the unhurried simplicity of folk. “This album brought me back to my roots as a guitarist, especially the Appalachian folk music my dad raised us on,” notes Stevens, a classically trained guitarist. “Instead of feeling the urge to bring in other instruments and add a lot of complicated rhythms and harmonies, I challenged myself to find a way to make the songs believable without relying on anything but guitar and vocals to hold them up.”

Looking back on the album’s creation, Stevens describes the experience as “at its best moments deeply cathartic and on hard days a means of survival.” Balancing recording with caring for her daughter, each track provides a different insight to her psyche. Stevens discovered an unexpected sustenance in holding her memories of David Crosby, who passed away soon after she began recording Maple to Paper. “After losing my mom it was so difficult to lose David too, but on the good days I could feel his music in me,” she says. “I’d look down at my hands and see his hands, and I could hear him encouraging me—almost like he was a songwriting partner.”

As she gets set to share Maple to Paper with the world, Stevens admits to a certain unease surrounding the release of such an intensely personal body of work. “In all honesty, I didn’t even realize I was making an album at first—I just needed to work through what was happening in my life, and the simplest way to do that was to turn it into music,” she says. “There have been times when I’ve asked myself, ‘Is this too much?’, but I always come back to the hope that it might end up helping people. If someone could hear these songs and come away feeling like they understand their own experience in a new way, that would mean so much to me. As an artist, that’s always the dream.”

ABOUT BECCA STEVENS

2X GRAMMY-nominated, North-Carolina raised singer-songwriter Becca Stevens has toured internationally as the bandleader of the Becca Stevens Band since its inception in 2006. Along with her solo output, Becca is a highly respected collaborator who has written and toured extensively with the likes of David Crosby as an active member of his Lighthouse Band, Jacob Collier, Michael League of Snarky Puppy, Taylor Eigsti and more.

Becca has released collaborative records with the Secret Trio and the Attacca Quartet (with whom she was co-nominated for a 2023 GRAMMY for Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals with violist Nathan Schram).

Her most recent album Wonderbloom saw overwhelming critical acclaim: Jazz Magazine described the record as “sophisticated and sensual pop” while The Mail on Sunday praised its “Glamorous…semi-electric pop Prince might approve of.” The track “Slow Burn” from Wonderbloom was nominated for a 2020 GRAMMY for Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals.

TRACK LIST
MAPLE TO PAPER

Now Feels Bigger Than The Past

Shoulda Been There for Me

I’m Not Her

Hey, Bear

How to Listen

So Many Angels

Wild Eyes Open

Maple to Paper

If I Die Before You

Someone Else Again

Beast of a Song

Payin’ to be Apart

Rainbow Connection

Photo credit: Shervin Lainez




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