Bronx transplant Stephaine Michaels has been generating some buzz in South Florida through her association with Drastic Measures and has even gained the attention of Slip-N-Slide Records. Ever the working musician, this Puerto Rican/Jamaican dynamo has seen numerous stages throughout the tri-county area and has backed up some high profile performers like Ne-Yo, Queen Latifah, and The Game.
She's also versatile enough with her voice to have done scores for Cirque Du Soleil. Maybe you saw her in the 2006 Miami Vice revamp with Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell, or Dove's 2007 "Beauty Campaign"... Regardless, Michaels is currently making the BB King's stage sizzle on Fridays and Saturdays with the BB King's Allstar Band sharing her strong pipes with the greater West Palm Beach scene.
I'm currently working toward my B.A. in the arts, my major is Journalism and Mass Communications, which I'm doing online. The school is physically in Iowa but I am here in Miami. I can honestly say it's a lot harder doing it online because the workload is doubled. More reading more writing, but it gives me the flexibility that I need to pursue other endeavors.
I do quite a bit of traveling, so it makes it that much easier to take my laptop with me and still be able to get the work done without having to be confined physically to a classroom or missing anything important.
How did you land the BB King gig?
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I had been working with another band for three and a half years. We performed at various places throughout South Florida, like The Fling Lounge at the Isles Casino, Mardi Gras Casino, The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Seminole Classic Casino, Gulfstream Casino, and have done weddings at the Fontainebleau in South Beach just to name a few. A friend of mine was actually working with the BB King All Star Band at BB King's and called me because the female lead singer at the time was going to be taking some time off and they needed a cover for her. I went to audition one night after one of my shows, and they liked me. I am now officially the new female lead singer of the incredibly talented BB King All Star Band.
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I've seen footage of you and I'm impressed by your energy and it seems to seep throughout the band too. How easy has it been to perform with these musicians and what process do you as a band undertake selecting set lists for your weekend gigs?
Thank you, the energy is definitely electrifying on that stage with those guys. Being that this is my first experience performing with a live band, I'm learning so much every time we rehearse as well as when we perform. These guys have been in the biz longer then I have, so I'm always looking to them for help and insight. They are amazing!
It's always a great thing when you have a group of musicians that can get together and make magic without the egos and attitudes. We have so much fun on stage, it's insane. We're always laughing and having a great time.
Our band leader T. Hatcher usually picks songs for rehearsal that he sees and feels are suitable for each of our voices as well as the venue. BB King's is a blues club but we don't only do blues, we do R&B, soul, some rock, and disco music.
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How do you feel about your impact on the local music scene and moreover, on BB King's stage? While it has been a respected musical venue for some time now, it is recently garnering a lot of buzz and I believe that somehow it is connected to you.
There are many singers on the local music scene, some of which are extremely talented singers. Some are better singers than performers and some are better performers than singers. I bring both. You can expect an incredible show every time I hit the stage. I come alive when the lights come on. When the music starts it completely takes control over me and I just go with it.
When you love music, it tends to take you to a place where no one else goes. It's that place in your mind and in your heart and soul that you lose yourself in. There are no fears or reservations in that place. It's just you and the music.
That's when my alter ego Quietstorm comes out. It's like the calm before the storm, or the eye at the center of the hurricane. The sun is shining, but you know it's about to get crazy soon. That's me when the music starts. I walk on stage I'm calm and collected, then all hell breaks loose. I love to interact with my audience, I like to go out while I'm singing and get them involved whether I'm sitting at the table with them singing, rubbing someone's head, acting like I'm drinking their drink, high fiving them, pulling them up to dance, grabbing someone by their tie, whatever.
I use my acting skills in my performances, and make it more of a 4-D experience for my audience. They love that! It's a different view from the stage into the audience than it is from the audience onto the stage. I like to make people feel a part of the show, after all, as a performer I would be nothing without them, right?
I don't know if there has been more of a buzz at BB King's since I've been there, but I do know that I have gotten a huge amount of feedback from people since I've started.
I've had kids ask for my autographs, men propose marriage (so funny) and have taken tons of pictures with people. It's been amazing so far and it's only been a month. I couldn't say for sure if business has been better since I've been there, but I can definitely say business is great. I'd like to think that we, the BB King All Star band as a whole, are making a lot of noise in the local music scene, and I'm just very fortunate and grateful to be a part of that movement. I'm just a piece to an incredible musical puzzle, but hey if you hear otherwise, that it's somehow connected to me, that's awesome!
You have many other talents, acting, performing, and writing... What else do you have on your plate now?
Yes, since I was able to walk and talk I've been an entertainer. I was singing and dancing at five-years-old in front of my house in the Bronx with my friends. I was always acting and putting on shows at family functions and anything I had the chance to. At nine, I sang at Congressman Del Mastro's charity function in front of Gay Pressman, Connie Chung, and a few other congressmen in New York. I have big dreams and an even bigger desire and drive to reach them.
I'm a single mother, so my son is my first priority, and thankfully, singing has been my bread and butter where I'm able to support us doing what I love. Currently, I'm working on my solo project. I have a lot of exciting things lined up for the near future. Creating great music and working with amazing producers and musicians is what's on my plate right now. Getting my name out there and performing at larger functions is on the near horizon.
In conclusion, what's next for Stephaine Michaels?
What's next for Steph Michaels? That's an easy question. I walk by faith and not by sight, God is in the driver's seat and I'm riding co-pilot. So whatever he has designed for my life I'm fully prepared to completely and wholeheartedly immerse myself into and give it 10,000,000,000% of my heart and soul. I tattooed "DESTINED IV GREATNESS" on the inside of my arm because I know that when He created me, greatness was my destiny. I want to be a positive in this negative world. I want to be a great role model and example for young girls, and women all around the world.
I want to help people, men, women and children know that boundaries exist only in the minds of those that refuse to overcome them. Like my partner/manager James says: A mountain will never tell you that you can't climb it, only you tell yourself what you can and can't do. I want people to know who I am, see my heart and my accomplishments and feel that they themselves can also attain their hearts desires and dreams. I want to be remembered when I'm gone, having had some type of impact in this world in a positive way. So when you ask me what's next for Steph Michaels, I'll just say whatever it is I'm ready so stay tuned!
Stephaine Michaels and the BB King All Star Band perform every Friday and Saturday at BB King's from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., 550 South Rosemary Ave., West Palm Beach. For information call 561-420-8600, or visit bbkingclubs.com.
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