The story so far…
“I make music that has purpose…I never made ‘club records’ just was never my thing…I guess the idea of trying to make people dance is a purpose as well, but I never wrote my songs with that purpose in mind,” says Steis (pronounced STEEZ). “I’ve always attracted a well rounded fanbase & I believe that has a lot to do with the down to earth nature of my music…I grew up in a 2 parent household, lived in the city where violence & street corners was always just a 2 minute walk away…I try not to focus on negative emotions but again because of the ‘real’ nature of my music you will hear it at times…like on my new album titled LOST FOR WORDS, on that same song I speak on the emotion of losing someone dear to me, so you feel the pain but also the reassurance that ‘it’s alright’ even though this world is so cold.”
LOST FOR WORDS comes off true to Steis’s admonition that there is purpose to his music. Steis credits his influences to artists like Nas, Jay-Z, Biggie, Tupac & Mase to name a few, so it’s not surprising at all that LOST FOR WORDS is stacked with great production & lyrically driven content. The album starts off with the record “Good Morning Neighbor” which gets the listener into full swing of the awesome journey that they’re about to take. Great production and dope lyrics are on full display with the next track, “What We On” where Steis confidently states that he cannot be denied. It only gets better with R&B vocals on the radio hit “Home” followed up by the fan favorite “Lost For Words” which is Steis’s highest viewed music video on YouTube. “That song is so important to me…one of the first songs I wrote for the album & I made it the album title right away…when my cousin Cory passed I found out that people don’t really die, their energy is present forever, Lost For Words is proof.” Steis’s laid back, smooth sound will resonate with some as being similar to artists like Fabolous or J Cole but it’s his unique style that sets him apart from anything you’ve ever heard.
Steis recalls some of the hurdles of being a hip hop artist from Boston. “This is not a city like New York or Atlanta, there’s no music scene here…so to get radio play you got to be seen & make connections which isn’t difficult but I was always a person that didn’t care to be out so it wasn’t easy for me.” Steis’s brother, Reemo aka “K-Pritty” was his manager at the time & did a great job of garnering him a lot of attention in the Boston hip hop scene and myspace. “I honestly felt like a local celebrity more times than I should’ve…I would meet people for the 1st time & they already knew who I was, it was kind of weird,” Steis says with a smile.
After releasing his first mixtape, Reverse the Curse Volume 1, Steis had his second daughter. “That changed everything for me…I already had one & now had to manage a second…financially I was living check to check…trying to get signed is expensive…I watched other talented artists going the same route spending way more than I was & I saw their results…it made me second guess…talent wasn’t what it was about, clearly, so even tho I had a lot of confidence in myself as an artist, I knew I could still fail…& when kids are involved failure’s not an option, not in my book…I had to take a step back and re-evaluate everything, most importantly myself as a person & what I wanted…life was stressful & I wasn’t happy.”
Steis finished his second mixtape, Reverse the Curse Volume 2: Elevator Music, and felt very confident about the album. “I had features from some of Boston’s best talent…Termanology was on there, Millyz, Supastar LT, Easy Money, my sister Erin Daneele…definitely a dope project.” Despite the quality of the music he understood his next moves were more important. “Good music is only good music to who hears it…I needed everyone to hear this product worldwide man, but I could barely take a trip to New York without it hurting my pockets,” Steis laughs. “But honestly that shit bugged me…I was working with my peoples which helped me a great deal but life situations happen…recording, mastering, cds, fliers, going out there and meeting people, traveling, etc. I mean the costs run up…and when you’re not making no money in return that’s all losses especially if you never get signed…it’s taken more than dozens of artists 10 years plus to get signed…that’s a tough journey and for me, with 2 daughters that needed me, It just started getting more & more unrealistic…you start thinking of your age & what’s next…I love music but overall I wanted to be happy.”
The pressure of life began to bear down on Steis. His music was good but he wasn’t meeting with any record labels or music executives. His brother was now a successful club promoter and no longer managing his career and Steis never graduated from college so he have the education to fall back on to get a great paying job. “It wasn’t about music anymore…I had to start thinking about how I was gonna be a great dad…a great son…a great brother…a great friend…a great co-worker…I just wanted to be great in general and I knew I was being far from that.” A good friend of Steis’s introduced him to a book about change. “The First 30 Days, A guide to making any change easier…that’s the name of the book…I still recommend it to this day when people ask me for one…it was the first step for me before thousands of other steps…knowledge is a whole lot more powerful than money.”
Still unsigned and unsure about what was next in his music career, Steis decided to get sure about his life instead and the part he played in it. He was soon reading anything he could get his hands on. Normally, he would be playing NBA 2K, watching sports or arguing with his friends about what team was going to win the championship. Now he would read, read, and read and that’s what lead him to online marketing. “Knowledge is power” is what the books he read taught and Steis received confirmation in an unexpected way. “Anybody who knows me, knows how much I loved video games…I stopped playing them…that was valuable time I could read instead…now I was only watching sports when it was playoff time…I stopped dating…people thought I was acting weird but they didn’t understand I had to make sacrifices…those things were taking up all of my time and I wasn’t getting anything out of it.”
Steis started marketing his music on social media platforms. Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. “I mean I’m talking to people in countries I’ve never been to…China, Australia, England, Africa, that’s just a few off the top of my head, the list is pretty long…it was like wow, I’m having conversations with people right from my phone in places I’ve never even heard of…I didn’t have to duplicate a cd to send them the music either…just copy and paste a link…they could listen and give me feedback in real time…like right now…it had me like yooooooo I’m onto something!” Steis was indeed “onto something” as he puts it. His twitter following rose to over 130K, 45K plus on instagram, 8K subscribers on youtube, and an email list of over 10 thousand people. “No disrespect to the DJ’s and the record labels but I felt like this was a better route for me…of course I would love to travel, do shows, have my songs spun on the radio but worse case scenario I could share music with people all over the world…right from my phone…no middle man…that lowers my costs and allows me to market my music a lot more effectively…it was was gonna be a lot of work…definitely…I just had to make a plan and get to it.”
A business plan is essential and Steis did just that. But the first plan was to be happy and nothing made him more happy than his two daughters. He worked on strengthening his relationship with them. Becoming the man he always wanted to be seemed to ignite his passion for his work and he got deeper into marketing than he ever thought he would. Steis created his own marketing company, Soul Humidifire, and he would be the first project launched under the name. “I wanted to show my daughters they could do anything they wanted through hard work and perseverance…not hoping that everything will turn out ok…no one was gonna give me the life I wanted…only I could do that.”
LOST FOR WORDS represents the struggle, the pain, as well as the determination to create Steis’s own path. “Me and my producer recorded the album in his basement…he wasn’t sure if he was going to lose his house at the time…the water would get cut off and I remember when the electricity company shut the lights off…it was pretty crazy…we weren’t making music in some big time studio but we were making it…I would show him the messages I would get from people online about the music and it was one of the things that really helped fuel us to keep going…I was marketing Reverse the Curse 2 which was “old” at the time but the response was crazy…they loved it…it was like wow if they are loving this, LOST FOR WORDS is gonna be something special…we were making music with water leaking through the ceiling and doing all nighters til 7:30 am when I had to be to work at 9 but I wasn’t swayed one bit,” Steis says.
Many artists quit based on their circumstances and Steis could have easily been one of those people. “I wanted to quit…and I had plenty of reasons to do that…I decided I had to find myself before anything and that path lead me right back to music indirectly…I knew it was real then…it was the path given to me by the universe and I just had to be obedient…I went from being someone who wanted to be a big artist to someone who wants to make a big impact…two very different things and now I have a realistic chance to do that which I never had before…it’s all about perspective.” Well from our perspective, Steis has more than a realistic chance to impact people with his album LOST FOR WORDS. Fans of this man should be very excited about this project as well as more music to come from this awesome artist.