Stephaun Anu has come into his own. The music producer, vocalist and musician was recently tapped by Heineken to provide the musical backdrop for the Heineken Mural Project during the Open Your World Tour at the A3C Hip Hop Festival this past fall.
“I was always around music growing up. I started doing music when I was 11 … my uncle bought me a keyboard. I have been doing it ever since,” shares Anu.
Having recently released a digital album, Amoment, Anu is on top of his game.
“The music is a collaboration with Yancy Wilkinson and is meant be a cohesive and concise body of work that is impactful and resonating. The 8-track album, which features plenty of hidden songs can be described as ‘elliptical and lucid music for the soul.’ It is infused with enough energy and heart to leave a lasting impression of what could take place in a single moment in time,” offers the hip-hop purist.
Read what else he has to say.
Do you most often actively seek inspiration or does it find you? Or is there a combination of the two?
A combination. Sometimes inspiration finds me but I find inspiration from a lot of places, whether it be attending art exhibits, looking into my love’s eyes, going to movies, walking in the park, and having great conversations. Oh and taking long, hot showers and riding around at night. Inspiration is all around; it’s just about being able to tap into it. And being in the mood to tap into it.
What led you to art in general and to your art form(s) in particular?
I know it’s cliché but I’m going to go ahead and say art found me. As far back as I can remember, when I was two years old, I was drawing. Everything I’m doing now, I’ve been doing as a kid. My first artistic medium was drawing and that led into music and theatre. My uncle got me a keyboard and it changed everything. I also went to SCAD for computer animation and minored in sound design.
I love the other mediums but the process of creating music, it was instantly gratifying. I am able to immediately communicate an idea, emotion or feeling. Acting, drawing, and animation – I love them but the process takes longer. I remember hearing music that was timeless, and thinking that I wanted to make something timeless too. That’s art in general. Wanting to create something immortal that will live forever.
How do you stay at the leading edge of your craft?
I follow my instincts and my intuition. I believe making music should be about being true to yourself, not about trying to ride the next wave of popular music or what everyone thinks will be the next big thing. My music has been described as having a retro ‘90s feel to it, but a unique sound that appeals to the modern listener.
Do you think that there are any widely held misconceptions about artists? If so, what are they and how do you work to dispel them?
Many people think that because an artist is talented, it will equate to success. What they fail to realize is that the music business is just as much about the business as the music. Anyone in the position to further your musical career will evaluate your music based off marketability. I walk a line of being mindful of making music for music’s sake and making music a career.
How do you map out your goals? How do you measure your success?
I’m a very visual person, so I write my ideas and life goals in my notebook. I still keep plans from years ago and look over them every once in a while. I measure my success by taking inventory. I assess whether I’m living what I set out to do, whether it be saving money, traveling, or increasing productivity. Ultimately, my idea of success is being able to sustain a living off of my art.
Who do you consider to be your peers in your field? Who do you see/use as examples for you to emulate?
My peers are also my friends: Gregory “Sance” Taylor, Lloyd “KidSyc” Harold & Alex Goose. They’re very talented individuals; however, I admire and respect their ambition, drive, and willingness to act. I am inspired by surrealist, Salvidaor Dali, Pablo Piccasso, The Goddess of Soul, Sade, Nas, Timbaland, Pharrell Williams, Kanye West, and Robert Downey Jr.
Name two of your top role models: one in the art world and one from outside of it.
Well, outside of my mother… It would be Leonardo Da Vinci and astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Name three books, works, performances or exhibits that changed how you view life and/or yourself.
The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield, Sun Tzu’s Art of War, and Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.
What affirmations do you repeat to yourself that contribute to your success?
“No matter what…don’t forget to strut!” I’m just kidding! I often say to myself, “Make the most. With what you have. Where you are. Right Now.” and My Personal Manifesto: “You are blessed. Go Hard! It’s BEEN Go time. Get it done. Don’t stop.. This is the pursuit of Awesomeness. Let happiness ensue.”
What role does technology play in your day-to-day life? How do you utilize it?
Technology such as my smart phone plays a significant role these days. I use it to stay informed and seek out new opportunities.
What software, app or other technological innovation has made the biggest difference in your life and/or career?
Please define your personal brand.
In the credits of my latest offering, “Amoment,” I defined the brand of music as “Elliptical and Lucid Music for the soul.”