About the artist
Stephan Nance was born in Eugene, Oregon, but raised outside any municipality, in the unincorporated area of Santa Clara. Like their childhood home, Stephan’s songwriting resists annexation; they specialize in poetic piano rock. Theirs is not the voice of the majority, nor the voice of a generation... but it is a voice worth listening to.
Stephan began uploading performances of their original songs on Youtube in 2008, with “Song for Losers” amassing over 100,000 views. They soon moved beyond these low-fi videos and released two EPs, Tricky to See (2008) and A Piece of the Piece (2011). In 2012, they released their Kickstarter-funded debut studio album, A Troubled Piece of Fruit (2012). To celebrate, they played a free outdoor bike-powered show sponsored by Pedal Power Music and City of Eugene Transportation Planning, with complimentary vegan Coconut Bliss ice cream for all.
The trilingual epic “Japanese Garden” was nominated for Best Alternative Song in the 8th Annual OUTmusic Awards. Rebecca DeMoss’s artwork for the album earned a nomination as well.
The end of 2012 also saw the release of Stephan’s holiday track “Song for Santa (Jingle Your Own Damn Bells!),” an infectious 6-minute romp through snowy fields of intersectional feminism and queer theory, anti-speciesism and fair labor practices.
Stephan’s “Song for Losers” was nominated for Best Song So Far in the 2013 RightOutTV Music & Video Awards.
These marginal successes were followed by a prolonged interval of trauma-induced creative block, which lasted from 2013 until 2016.
After years of therapy and birdwatching, Stephan finally returned to music with newfound vigor, churning out dozens of new songs. These new songs explore a wide range of topics, from sexual assault to the environmental racism of the Dakota Access Pipeline project, and reference more than 30 species of birds.
In 2017, Stephan toured Japan, playing 9 shows in Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto, Shunan (Yamaguchi Prefecture), Fukuoka, Nagasaki, and Ibusuki (Kagoshima Prefecture). Then, in association with Red Lion Hotel Corporation, Stephan played shows at boutique Hotel RL locations in Salt Lake City, Spokane, Olympia, Brooklyn, Baltimore, and Washington, DC.
To promote a special pre-release demo edition of their new Incredible Distance EP, Stephan finished the year with the first leg of the Incredible Distance Tour, with stops in the UK, Poland, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Italy, France, and Morocco.
Early 2018 saw the official release of Incredible Distance and the Japan leg of the Incredible Distance Tour, with shows in Sapporo, Fukuoka, Ibusuki, Saga, Shunan, Okayama, and Shimosuwa.
Somehow, in the midst of all this, Stephan graduated from the University of Oregon with a B.A. in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, with a minor in French and a strong focus on Queer Studies.
Look at the Harlequins!, a new six-song EP, will be released on January 11, 2019.
Stephan lives in Portland, Oregon with their partner and two parrots. They are currently working on a their second full-length album, Sparkbird, and a young adult novel set at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Eastern Oregon.
More than being a skilled pianist with an astounding knack for wordplay, Stephan captivates with their effortlessly genuine and infinitely warmhearted nature.
Nance's songs are an avenue to express things that bother [them], and that subject seems to have hit a nerve… [They're] a thoughtful, complicated person, and [their] piano-based songs reflect this.
Stephan Nance is an extremely unique breath of fresh air… One of Oregon’s greatest kept secrets, [they blend] the perfect element of charming piano and a voice that can truly stand on its own. Stephan could very well be the lovechild of Jukebox the Ghost and The Decemberists, which is truly a compliment.
[Their] voice is not the voice of a generation or the majority, but [their] upbeat, quirky piano pop deals in fun, the environment and optimism.
Reminiscent of the early days of Ben Folds, this young American songwriter has garnered a lot of attention with [their] quirky, upbeat piano ballads… Highly recommended.
There is more than just the red hair in common with the likes of Kate Nash, Regina Spektor, and Lenka. These tracks, consistent with Stephan’s sound, contain large amounts of genuine wonderings on top of layers of upbeat melancholy and optimism. Oh, and much enjoyed quirky energy.
The Oregon native totally accepts [their] awkwardness and turns it into a very captivating trait. Maybe it is just the piano but I do get hints of Ben Folds when I listen to Stephan. [They are] not afraid to make fun of [themself] or make corny jokes to amuse the listener… Stephan Nance has a hit album on [their] hands in ‘A Troubled Piece Of Fruit.’