The Time I Kicked It With John Stephens

I sang in an a capella group at Cornell University. I have very fond memories of my time singing with the group. We traveled and performed around the world and got to experience a lot of things that other college students could only dream of. Throughout my four years in the group (95-99), I always kept an ear out for new recordings and cool arrangements from other campuses.

As it turned out, one of my best friends growing up went to the University of Pennsylvania. He knew that I was interested in a cappella music, and gave me a copy of a CD when I came by one year to visit. He told me of a friend who had an amazing voice, who was in the University of Pennsylvania a cappella group called The Counterparts.  The album was called “Housekeeping” the singer’s name was John Stephens, and the song he sang on was “One Of Us“.

A few years later, while I was attending law school, and working part-time, I happened to be living in a “guest room” in the back yard of the home my friend and his brother were living in. My friend let me know that  John Stephens was heading into town and would be crashing on the couch for a few nights. He told me that John was in town for meetings with some labels, and that maybe I should see if the firm I was working for at the time would be interested in trying to set up a meeting.  My buddy made a copy of John’s demo (which I thought was dope by the way) and I tried to pitch him to the firm, but they were too busy or too skeptical to really pay any attention to me.  Maybe I should I have tried to persuade them a little harder, but hell … I was attending a cut-throat law school, and working part time, so I figured that if they weren’t interested, it wasn’t any skin off my back.  I had enough on my mind.

One night while we were all kicking it at a bar, I mentioned to John that I had the one CD of his college a cappella group, and we talked to each other about our backgrounds in music.  I found out that, like me, he was the business manager of his a cappella group.  His knowledge of music, though, was definitely far superior to mine, and he obviously seemed to have much more passion than I did in pursuing a career as a singer.  My career as singer was limited to a few auditions for the revamped “Star Search” and vocals for original music used in a short-lived animated series called “Phatheadz” (sp? … I can’t even remember it anymore) that was available to watch on the no-longer available site…. but I digress… We drank the night away, and did what what young men in their early 20s do at bars.  From what I can remember, it was a good time.

John’s meetings must have went pretty well…. he ended up getting deal with a label, and has had a pretty decent career. I still have his a cappella group’s CD, but I wish I could find that CD of demos I was given before he was signed. D’oh!

Click here to find out who John Stephens is.

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