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Exclusive Stream: Hear Chennai Singer-Songwriter Stevie’s Earnest Plea on ‘Hey Becky’

His second single comes on the heels of winning Best Young Indie Artist at the Radio City Freedom Awards earlier this year

Anurag Tagat Sep 25, 2018

Chennai singer-songwriter Stevie. Photo: Andrew Neet

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Musicians will often tell you the good test of a song idea is if it passes the morning after test ”“ finding that the voice note or Ableton project they worked on the previous night still holds up the next day. Chennai singer-songwriter Stevie Joe had the same experience when he wrote “Hey Becky” in 2016.

The musician – who goes by his first name – says, “I wrote it after a pretty sloshed night and I had a thing for a girl and I thought, ”˜Cool, I’m going to write a dumb song about it.’” Stevie placed himself in front of the keyboard and recorded the main idea as a voice memo. “It was nothing serious even when I was making it, but in the morning I heard it and thought it was actually decent.” With the rough demo also ramping up over 7,000 plays on SoundCloud, Stevie now has a more polished, soaring pop version of the song which you can hear below.

Starting with gospel and choir music, Stevie went from listening to Eminem at the age of 7 to getting into R&B artists like Usher and Chris Brown and then into punk rock and metal. “I kind of really liked metalcore in particular, because of its leaning to the pop side with some of the hooks,” 21-year-old Stevie says.

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It’s perhaps that listening curve which makes “Hey Becky” a refreshing listen ”“ piano-based R&B melodies over lo-fi beats (from bassist-producer Michael Timothy) building up to a blazing guitar solo from Joel Prithvi. The song is Stevie’s second official release, following the track “All Night,” which was released in March, the same week as his win at the Radio City Freedom Awards (RCFA) in Mumbai.

Artwork for “Hey Becky” by Sohail Nawaz Khan

Stevie recalls he applied with his music and didn’t give it much thought until they told him he was nominated for Best Young Indie Artist. He’s used the momentum to sign up with Bengaluru-based artist agency OAF ”“ he met founder Siddharth Nair at RCFA. “We really got along and now I’m working him with him. It’s been going according to plan.”

After knocking out gigs in Bengaluru, Mumbai and performing at Chennai’s Covelong Point festival and One People Festival, there’s an EP that Stevie is planning to release in December. “It’s got a lot of hip-hop influence, I’m experimenting with beats.”

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