Award-winning songwriter, producer, and artist Steff Reed will release his soulful and timely album, The Power of Love Experience, on July 6. The project is at once emotive and thought-provoking, inspiring the listener to open their mind and their heart. In our conversation with Steff Reed three years ago, we discussed his activism, collaborations with artists such as Trey Songz, Raekwon, and Jhené Aiko, and his cathartic debut EP, #TheIntervention. His journey in the years since has been transformational, culminating in The Power of Love Experience. The album is available for pre-order now on iTunes and will drop on Friday. The album release party is also on Friday at Williamsburg's Marcy & Myrtle Café at 6 p.m. Register for the free party here, and read on for an exclusive interview with Steff Reed.
AXS: What has your musical evolution been since "#TheIntervention" EP?
STEFF REED: Since releasing my debut EP, #TheIntervention, so much has changed. I taught myself how to play the guitar and bass by ear. This was a major breakthrough for me and it's allowed me to be much more self-reliant and cost-efficient in the studio, and also in a live setting. The guitar is an extremely convenient instrument to travel with, and although the piano is my first instrument, the guitar is much better suited for the type of music that I create than the piano is. Also, I'm touring and playing festivals regularly now. This is a professional breakthrough that has really been inspiring. I feel like my music and artistry overall fits perfectly within the festival community. Ultra Peace & Love vibes and positive energy.
AXS: When we last spoke, you were planning a trip to Cuba to perform, study, and teach. How was your experience?
SR: While I was in Cuba, I actually started writing a song called "Stand" which is featured on my new album, The Power of Love Experience. The song was inspired by Fidel Castro and his 26th of July Movement. I loved how much they value education, healthcare, and spirituality. The experience was magical. It changed my life! It reminded me of what is truly important in life: Culture, Spirituality and Community. Here is a link to my mini-documentary that I made about my trip to Cuba: https://youtu.be/sQ1aVVS_f3Q.
AXS: What themes are present in The Power of Love Experience?
SR: The main theme of The Power of Love Experience is LOVE-- love of humanity, self-love and love of the journey we call life. I wanted to create anthems that brought people together and reminded them of their humanity.
AXS: The sole feature on the album is your partner and frequent collaborator, Jypsy Jeyfree. How has your relationship influenced your sound and direction?
SR: Jypsy Jeyfree played a major role in creating the overall aesthetic and branding of this project as a whole. Through her lifestyle brand, Jypsyland, she added color and magic that brought everything to another level. Jypsy is my life partner, we spend every single day together. When you have that type of bond with someone, they inevitably become a part of everything you do. She's inspired and influenced my sound a great deal. We developed a style together that we call "The Wilderness." It's about being raw, authentic, wild, and free. As a Virgo, I'm super analytical and methodical and tend to have an intellectual approach to things. Jypsy is a Sagittarius and approaches things instinctively and intuitively, which is informed by how she feels. I explain my feelings and she expresses them. She adds the color to my structure. I've learned to create from feeling more because of her.
AXS: Tell us about the upcoming album release event!
SR: The Power of Love Experience album release party is this Friday, July 6 at Marcy & Myrtle coffee shop (101 N. 10th St. Williamsburg, Brooklyn) from 6 p. to 8 p.m.
It's sponsored by Red Bull, Relix Magazine, and Six Point Brewery. We will be playing the album, doing an artist talkback with Sir Moore of DocYouments, and screening the music videos and documentary to go with the project. Marcy & Myrtle is like a second home for me. It's where I go to build community, do my administrative work, and hang out. The coffee is great and everyone who works there is super chill, creative, and extremely supportive of me and my projects.
AXS: What else is in the works?
SR: I'm looking forward to getting back on the road, touring, and sharing the new album. Playing more festivals and bigger stages. I would like to get back into curating live events and interactive cultural experiences. I recently went on a day trip to the new Whitney Museum of American Art in the Meatpacking District with my father, Steven Reed. We visited an exhibit on social justice and protesting. It was really inspiring to see how long artists have been using their platform and gift to speak truth to power. One of the artists in the exhibit, Dread Scott, had shown one of his pieces in the first installment of my Frontline Art Exhibition in 2015 in NYC. That was definitely motivating and I've been contemplating getting back into that arena soon.
I have some music videos on the way. Jypsy and I shot two music videos while on tour in Santiago, Chile last year. I'm also in the middle of shooting a new music video and documentary that I will be screening at my album release party. Stay tuned!