Montreal-based country singer Steph Morin released his EP, titled I Won’t Forget You, in June of 2018. Morin has been playing and writing for about fifteen years now, and has been building his career up to this release.
I had a chance to chat with Steph about his career as a country-rock singer, how his career and sound evolved, and what’s behind his life as a musician.
Interview with Steph Morin
Front Porch (FP): Let’s start with an introduction from yourself. What do you want readers to know about you as an individual and Canadian artist – where did it all begin?
Steph Morin (SM): Hi guys! I’m excited to meet you all, here on the Front Porch! Where did it all begin? A little more than 15 years ago, me and a friend asked a singer in a bar on the north shore of Montreal if he would let us play on stage during his break… He said yes and this was the night I started my music career! I was hired by the owner and played there for like 6 months, so on and so forth. A few years later, I decided to write and play my own songs and here I am today with a brand new EP!
FP: Your music has a rich rock vibe to it. Tell us about how you developed your sound and direction. Who are your biggest music influences that helped to shape you as a musician?
SM: Indeed, I’ve always been a huge rock music fan. I grew up with Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen so you can probably understand why there is such a rock influence in my songs. In 2007, Bon Jovi released an album called Lost Highway which [was] recorded in Nashville. It had that ‘New Country’ vibe that I really liked and this album made me want to learn more about the country movement. Shortly after, artists like Luke Bryan, Lady Antebellum, Eric Church, Dierks Bentley, [and] High Valley became my main road-trip partners as well as some Canadian country artists I really like (Dallas Smith, Tim Hicks…). That country-rock style came up naturally as we built the songs in the studio. I never made any music to ‘’sound like’’ someone, it always has to come from the heart, that’s why that organic and honest country twist was very appropriate.
FP: How do you get inspired and in that creative frame of mind so you can write music?
SM: I can’t just sit down and say ‘’Ok, let’s write something’’… From my point of view, the best songs are coming out of good stories, and they come up quickly. Usually, something happens in my personal life and I HAVE to write about it, I can say it’s kind of a good therapy to me. I’m also really sensitive to the way other people can feel in a certain situation, that’s why I wrote many songs after reading the papers, watching the news, or a movie.
FP: What’s your favorite track from your latest release? Is there a story behind it you’d like to share?
SM: I’m proud of every song on my latest EP, but “Last Train” is definitely my favorite. Back in [the summer of] 2015, I was in an uncomfortable relationship and I had to step back a little bit. I went on a road-trip to New Jersey with one of my best friends and it all started in a music store in Asbury Park. I jammed with a guy who told me ‘’Man, you sound great, you should record a few songs!’’ and it was a huge wake up call to me. I had a lot to write about at the moment so I went back to my hotel room with an acoustic guitar I bought there and I started working on what became “Last Train”. I was so excited about it! As soon as I was back in Montreal, I got in the studio and started the recording process of my latest EP called I Won’t Forget You. In October 2017, “Last Train” made it to radio stations across Canada & USA as my first radio single.
FP: If you’re not in the studio writing and creating music, where can we find you? What do you like to do when you’re not 100% focused on making music and performing?
SM: I’m a huge family guy. Hanging out with the people I love is my priority. I don’t have kids, but I’m a proud uncle of five and I do my best to have a good impact on their lives. I also love road trips! There is nothing better than driving a few hours with the windows down and some good music! You might also find me in a bar enjoying some great local bands with friends and a microbrewery beer in my hand.
FP: What are you looking most forward to career-wise in 2019?
SM: I am currently working on new songs to be released by the end of 2019. I’m also preparing for my Montreal return that is set for June 20th. In the past years, I played far from home and I can’t wait to be back in front of my people.
FP: What are you listening to right now? Top five songs you can’t get enough of?
SM: I met a young Canadian band called the Justin Saladino Band a few weeks ago. Justin is not even 25 years old and he’s a hell of a guitar player! The Mountain, Dierks Bentley’s latest album, is still playing a lot in my headphones these days.
My top five country songs I can’t get enough of? Wow! This is a hard question for a music fan!
“Broken Halos”: Chris Stapleton (Man, that voice…), “Wagon Wheel”: Darius Rucker, “My Church”: Maren Morris, “Country Girl (Shake It For Me)”: Luke Bryan, “If It Gets You Where You Wanna Go”: Dallas Smith.
Special mention: Have a listen to Matt Lang and Five Roses! I’m sure you’ll love these Canadian country artists from Montreal, they make great music!
Thanks for chatting with us Steph! We’ll be looking forward to your your new music in 2019.
You can follow Steph Morin on Instagram here.
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In country music, the Front Porch has long been a place of reflection. A place where you can look at the life you have inside that front door. A place where time almost seems to stand still, where you can get away. It’s also a place where you can go to observe the world as it passes by you. To think about your place out there beyond the driveway.