I see countless opportunities to use music as a platform to inspire others.  The music business provides these opportunities to artists to express their message through their art. Stephen Edmon Jr @StephenEdmondJr

Listen to the interview
Episode #338 : A.V.A Live Radio Behind The Music with Jacqueline Jax

by Jacqueline Jax host of A.V.A Live Radio

Stephen Edmond Jr

I feel positive about the music business…
I see countless opportunities to use music as a platform to inspire others.  The music business provides these opportunities to artists to express their message through their art.

When I was 19, I was receiving a lot of attention for my music.
A manager of a well-known R&B group was interested in working with me to develop me as an artist, but at the time I was being managed by someone in my family and I felt like I had to be loyal.  Making that decision cost me a record deal.

Given some other hurdles I faced with my health at the time, I realize now that the timing wasn’t right for me to pursue a music career.  I kept my faith in God, stayed focused on my dream, and never gave up.

Over the last year, my commitment to pursuing a career as a singer/songwriter has been revived.  My perseverance and dedication to my art is paying off.  All of the pieces are falling into place and I’m still amazed by and thankful for the opportunities coming my way.

Because a lot of the promotion around my music has been online
and many of my fans prefer to purchase digital music, I have focused primarily on releasing digital singles.  The singles I have released so far are intended to be a part of a full album that will be released at a later date.  About a month ago, I released my EP, ‘The Way to You,’ which fans can purchase as a CD through my website or attending a live performance and they can download a digital copy through iTunes and Amazon.

I’ve found that releasing singles
from my album over a period of time creates more momentum with fans and allows each song to shine.

Social media allows me to interact on a personal level with my fans,
which I call my Family.  The Stephen Edmond Jr Family has been incredibly supportive on social media.  I value the use of Twitter, Facebook (especially Groups), Instagram, YouTube, and even LinkedIn for professional networking.

There’s a lot of people, but if I can only pick one it would be Lionel Richie.
I would love to pick his brain about songwriting, music, his inspirations, his techniques, what gets him in the mood to write music.  He is the first person to inspire me to want to be a songwriter.  His songs are touching, fun, they encompass all aspects of love and family.

There is definitely a pressure within the industry to be trendy
and I’ve seen a lot of artists that try to be too outlandish just to get noticed.  I’ve found a balance by being myself and allowing my true nature to come out.  It’s important to me to be real and genuine with my fans.  I want them to know me.

I carry this Bible verse in my wallet everywhere I go:
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.  (Matthew 7:7-8)

EXTRA – The Stephen Edmond Jr Story

Through a personal journey of love lost and a battle for his life, Stephen Edmond Jr became the artist he is today. Despite being born with one functioning kidney, Stephen was the picture of health as a teen. He was very athletic, participated in several sports, and led his high school volleyball team to win a division championship. At 17 years old, Stephen met his high school sweetheart on a blind date and fell in love.

Since childhood, Stephen had dreams of becoming a recording artist.  When he was 18 years old, he called his cousin to ask for a recommendation of a studio which led to the recording of his first songs and the beginning of a long-time professional relationship with his producer, Juan “Uglyfingers” Blair. Stephen had his sights set on a successful music career and was loving life. At just 19 years old, Stephen received the devastating news that his kidney was failing.

Over the next 19 years, Stephen endured extreme highs and lows. He started dialysis treatments and two years later, received a successful kidney transplant from his girlfriend’s stepfather. After his transplant, his health dramatically improved.  Stephen was able to play volleyball again, participated in a softball league, and was once again very athletic.  He felt like a light was turned on within his body.  During this time, Stephen and his high school sweetheart got engaged and conceived a baby girl.

Living donor kidney transplants can last for 12+ years, but only two years after his transplant – just before his wedding – his kidney started to fail. Despite attempts to stop the transplant rejection, Stephen ended up back on dialysis at 24 years old. The birth of his daughter in 2001 was the blessing that helped him stay positive through the loss of his transplant.

After experiencing hemodialysis (done through vein access at a dialysis clinic three times each week) before his transplant, Stephen opted to manage his kidney failure this time through daily peritoneal dialysis done at home via an access tube in his abdomen. With his health somewhat stabilized, Stephen knew the next step was to pursue a career to be able to provide for his family.  He decided to attend culinary school because he viewed it as a fast track to a career.  Unfortunately, due to dialysis and battling a deep depression, Stephen dropped out of culinary school. Stephen worked with a therapist to overcome his depression and followed the therapist’s recommendation to pursue something he loved.  He began to coach High School volleyball and did that for two years.  During that time, he wrote two full playbooks for the boy’s and girl’s volleyball teams, he created an on-campus volleyball camp, made arrangements for getting the teams new uniforms and equipment, and positively impacted the lives of many teenagers.  Unfortunately, coaching volleyball didn’t pay well enough to support his family, so Stephen started looking for another job.

Five years after losing his transplant kidney, Stephen’s whole world came crashing down.  A severe abdominal infection coupled with surgical complications left him hospitalized for two straight years fighting to survive. During his hospitalization, his marriage to his high school sweetheart disintegrated, his dad passed away, he lost his ability to walk and everything he had worked to achieve in life was gone including his music career. On more than one occasion the doctors told his family to prepare for his death.  At 6’3”, Stephen dropped from 195lbs down to 115lbs.  He remembers asking God to either take him home or use him as a beacon of his Grace.

He was ready to fight. He worked hard to learn how to walk again, endured multiple surgeries to repair his intestines including wearing a colostomy bag for 3 years, and 14 additional years of dialysis treatments. Stephen had to be tough and resilient during this time.  He leaned on his faith tremendously and learned to be independent.  He secured an apartment, returned to school, worked part-time in a daycare, and continued recording songs. He worked hard to rebuild the relationship with his young daughter, which was weakened by his hospitalization.  Stephen continued to put God first and persevere.

Stephen wanted to find love again, but his scars and health issues affected his confidence.  He found himself choosing to get involved with the wrong women and felt empty.  He knew he needed to build his confidence, so he decided to stop dating for a while.  Two years later, he decided to give love another shot.  God brought Stephen the woman he prayed for in 2013.  She accepted him for who he is, encouraged him to follow his dreams of pursuing a music career, and loved his daughter just as much as she loved her own.  Stephen married the love of his life in 2015.  They are raising their two beautiful daughters and can’t wait to welcome another child into their family.

In 2014, he was devastated by the loss of his dearly-loved mom to cancer. This was an enormous blow to Stephen.  He was very close to his mother and losing her was harder on him than any health issue he had ever battled.  Through all of the struggles and heartbreaking experiences life has dealt him, Stephen has never lost his faith in God or took his many blessings for granted.

More of Stephen’s prayers have been answered recently. Stephen received a second successful kidney transplant in early 2015 and although he had complications and an additional surgery, he is now healthier than he’s been in 15 years.

Stephen released his first EP, The Way to You, in early 2016. As a result of his vast vocal abilities, the sounds of the tracks on his EP include an up-tempo dance hit, a sexy, passion-filled single, and a romantic ballad. Long-time Producer, Juan Blair, of Uglyfingers Productions has collaborated with Stephen once again on this current project to capture the hearts of women and the minds of men.

Surviving against the odds through many trials and tribulations, became a source of inspiration for Stephen. Faith, perseverance, hard work, and dreaming big have become his recipe for success.

Stephen Edmond Jr’s next steps include many live performances to establish himself as a recognized singer/songwriter. He has his sights set on inspiring and touching the hearts of fans worldwide through his music. He intends to use his music as a platform to encourage others to never give up on themselves and their dreams.

I Love the Way’ is a funky,
up-tempo, song that tells love-at-first sight story of a regular guy who can’t get enough of a girl he meets.  We can all relate to that feeling of having a crush on someone that makes us lose our cool.  This song is about having the courage to take the risk to get the girl you have to have.

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I came up with the melody as I was working on a project for a class
I was taking and it turned into something more.  I always write songs that reflect my own experiences as well as the experiences of other people that I know.  As I started to create this song, the lyrics came together pretty fast.  I worked with my long-time producer, Juan “Uglyfingers” Blair to arrange the music.

I am a singer/songwriter,
who has persevered against the odds to bring my passion and love for music into focus in my life. My sound is inspired by R&B, Jazz, and Pop artists from several eras, most notably the 90’s.  I aim to write music that is reminiscent of yesterday’s timeless R&B songs that is missing today.‘The Way to You’ tells a story of love, loss, and triumph.  I am passionate about sharing the lessons I’ve learned about love, faith, and perseverance with others.It’s my hope that my music can be a platform to encourage others to never give up on themselves and their dreams.

San Francisco Bay Area,
the music in the Bay Area is diverse with a long history.  From music festivals, to concerts, to clubs with live music, there’s always music to be heard through San Francisco and the whole Bay Area.

I go places like..
Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf, Jelly Belly Factory, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, Levi’s Stadium, Pac Bell Park, Winchester Mystery House. I like to go bowling.  I used to be part of a competitive league.


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