By Jessica Foreman
Trannie Stevens always had her eye on partnering with Uproar Records. Now, she grew up in Waco, and the freshman has watched the student-run record label on Baylor’s campus since its early beginnings a few years ago.
So when it came time for Stevens to decide where to continue her educational career, Baylor stood out as an excellent pick for a singer/songwriter to advance a musical calling.
“There’s a lot of talent at Baylor, and no one is shy about it,” Stevens said, thinking back to the competitive Uproar audition a few weeks ago. “Everyone wants to succeed.”
Stevens succeeded in the audition and signed on with Uproar, but her musical acts have not always gone so smoothly. She fell down the stage stairs after her first performance in front of the Columbus Avenue Baptist Church congregation in Waco as an 8-year-old. In addition, previous to signing at Uproar, “The Trannie Stevens Band,” had a rough start to their act.
“It was a music festival, but a screamo venue,” Stevens said, remembering the show she played at the House of Blues in Dallas. “We were setting up on stage and everybody just started leaving, going outside. But then I played my first song and everyone came back in to watch us.”
Persistence is in the recipe for success, and Stevens said the band sold more CDs that night than the band had ever sold at another venue.
“What I learn from that is I can’t take myself too seriously,” Stevens said. “That’s how you deal. You laugh at yourself.”
Creativity and an open mind are deeply ingrained in Stevens’ musical lyrics; they are also two defining characteristics of her major, entrepreneurship.
“I really like coming up with new ideas, making something cool out of nothing,” Stevens said.
Stevens’ manager, Megan Moore from McKinney, a senior music and entertainment marketing major, said innovation and brainstorming are going to be at the forefront the next few weeks as she and Stevens decide on three songs to record in the Uproar studio this November. Moore said that each signed Uproar artist will have one weekend to record their chosen songs, which will appear on an extended play (EP) album to be released later in the year. She anticipates revealing Stevens’ music to a wider audience and described her sound as “intelligent piano pop music,” like Sara Bareilles.
In addition to the House of Blues show, Stevens played at Common Grounds earlier this semester, the Acoustic Café, and she also recently performed her original “My Place in the Line” with Jack Spalding at Student Activities’ After Dark Variety Show.
“I heard that Ken Starr, our president, has watched my [After Dark] performance twice on YouTube,” Stevens said. “It’s a sarcastic song about being a freshman at Baylor.”
The lyrics mock the hierarchy of senior to freshman, living away from home for the first time and other freshman year trademarks, but Stevens’ favorite line from the song is:
“Oh I miss my mom and dad cause all my clothes never smelled so bad; they stink. I turned my underwear pink.”
“Trannie’s music is so comical and unique,” said Stevens’ fellow freshman, Olivia Offringa, from Rochester, Mass. “Her personality shines through her lyrics, and her clever choice of words play on the ear nicely.”
When Stevens’ isn’t singing, playing, or writing music, she keeps busy as freshman class vice president of student government and keeping up with the Baylor Men’s Basketball team, especially her favorite player, Anthony Jones.
“I’m obsessed with Baylor men’s baseketball,” Stevens said. “I just want to hang out and be best friends with all of them.”
The songwriter’s upcoming events will include a show in College Station with fellow Uproar artist, Amy Boykin, and Jillian Edwards, and putting a band together to enhance her November recording session and future performances.
“I see the potential in things, and I get really excited about it,” said Stevens. “Being a new Uproar artist, I get giddy when I think about where I could be in a year.”