Stephanie grew up in the heart of the Ribble Valley, Lancashire, listening to Joni Mitchell, The Beatles and Johnny Cash, dreaming of being a songwriter. She went to Blackpool Art College, modelled in Japan and worked at various arts and crafts, stained glass, floristry and painting.
After receiving her acapella songs through the post Jamie Nelson at Parlophone organised the early recordings that became the basis of her debut album.
David Boyd signed Stephanie to a five album deal with Hut/Virgin and in 2003 ’That Girl’ was released. Hut closed shortly afterwards and Stephanie began writing for her second album.
‘Sunlight On My Soul’ was released in 2006. Receiving fantastic reviews throughout the UK, critics have praised her bold progression on an album that encompasses tudor madrigals, celtic folk, country and jazzy pop.
‘Tiny Spark’ Stephanie’s third album, produced by Phil Thornalley is due to be released in January 2016. ‘Easy As 123′ has been used on a Peugeot TV ad in the UK, EDF Energy in France and presently for a Miracle Grow TV commercial in the States.
Cornwall Today. May 2016. Easy As 123
Since coming to Cornwall, Stephanie Kirkham has found success in both art and music.
Cornwall-based artist and singer-songwriter Stephanie Kirkham has enjoyed a busy 2016 so far. Her third album, Tiny Spark was released in January and she is currently putting together an exhibition of her most recent artwork in preparation for Open Studios from May 28th to June 5th
She first threw open the doors of her studio at Townshend, near Hayle for Open Studios 2015. “I’d never exhibited my art before, so it was great to be a part of something that was happening already” says Stephanie, who is softly spoken with an accent that betrays her Lancashire upbringing. “It’s such a great idea – you don’t feel so alone, and yet you can still do your own thing in your own way. It gave me so much confidence, and I’m really looking forward to it this year.”
She works in colourful acrylics, building up layers before sanding and scratching to reveal patterns and textures. The area around Gwithian, with Godrevy lighthouse to the east and St Ives to the west, has become the most recent muse to her work and many of the paintings on display are inspired by her emotional relationship with the rocks and ever-changing colours of this stunning shoreline. “Just touching and feeling the rock gives me a sense of self”, she says with conviction.
Stephanie grew up in the Ribble Valley, just north of Preston, and spent much of her childhood “writing songs, painting and daydreaming”. She made the move south-west two years ago, ” I felt so much at home in Cornwall, as soon as I stepped off the plane at Newquay.”
“As soon as I moved down here, things started to happen for me.” Mitch Adams of 3S Films filmed her painting, which can be seen on her website, she met guitarist and singer-songwriter Kai Skjervik, who is now a major collaborator, and she has been offered a month-long run in August at the prestigious Penwith Gallery in St Ives.
Visitors to her Open Studios can expect a bonus on June 3rd, a live performance of tracks from Tiny Spark. She describes the album as “snippets of holiday feelings”, with postcard-like titles including Bon Voyage, Kiss Me Quick and Dreamboat Song. It’s a bright, feel-good album, perfect listening for a summer’s day, and infectiously upbeat, with accompaniment and production by the Grammy award-winning Phil Thornalley (who has worked with Natalie Imbruglia, Pixie Lott, Bryan Adams and the Thompson Twins).
The hugely catchy track Easy As 123 was co-produced by Mads Hauge (whose CV includes songs for Natasha Bedingfield and Eliza Doolittle), and has been featured on the European TV campaigns for Peugeot and EDF, and Miracle Gro in the US. This comes as no surprise, as her style, poppy and light, brings to mind the likes of ad-friendly Feist, Noah and the Whale and female singers such as Ellie Goulding.
“When I came to Cornwall, my goal was to find great musicians to work with, for gigs and the new album, and to get my artwork on a wall in St.Ives. All that has happened within 18 months, so I’m really happy”, says Stephanie.
“Coming here to Cornwall, I feel more grounded, more settled. I feel at home here – I don’t think I’ll ever leave.”
Photos from Holifair Family Festival, Cornwall 2016