An Intimate Look at Singer / Songwriter, Stephanie Anderson Written by Deborah Bostock-Kelley She sits in front of me at Starbucks, fresh faced, light brown hair pulled back behind a blue bandana, large sunglasses perched atop her head. She is friendly, but reserved... until she talks about her love, her music. Stephanie Anderson was born to sing. This is simply a fact she has known from an early age, singing along with her parents' records in the small town of Bonney Lake, WA. She honed her craft through school choral productions, talent shows and solo competitions. "I think I started singing the same time I started talking." A smile punctuates her sentence. "I always wanted to be a singer. That was all I wanted to do." But actually, it wasn't all. At the young age of twelve, Anderson picked up a notepad and penned her first song. "I actually wrote my first song in the middle of the night when I couldn't sleep. I woke up with this melody in my head, and just started singing it in my bed with the lyrics flowing. I had it memorized by morning." Fast forward several years and while in college at Central Washington University, Anderson purchased her first guitar and began the lessons that would change her life. She had her first taste of stardom by singing with a friend's rock band at local college clubs. Through dedication and practice, she earned the ability to label herself a singer / songwriter. "I first studied guitar when I was twenty-one and then I moved down here (to Florida) and I began frequenting the places that played live music." One such visit wrought unexpected rewards. "One of my friends asked the band if I could sing with them. He liked my voice and asked if I wanted to sing a duo. While still learning guitar, I ended up singing with him and his band." While sharing the mic as part of that duo, Anderson was also a member of a garage band that performed at an open jam session. She met up with other like-minded artists and proceeded to join a blues band. But being a "member" of multiple bands wasn't where she saw her future. Anderson was ready to devote her time into developing herself into a solo performer, an acoustic guitar player with an impressive, original repertoire and a beautiful, powerful voice. "A lot of my inspiration comes from God, love, relationships, nature.... and really the love of singing. I just love performing so much." She pauses to sip her coffee. "Musically Sarah McLachlan, Lenny Kravitz, and Bob Marley (among others) have been a huge influence on me. I feel a real connection when I hear their music. You can tell that the words are coming from their heart, from within and that's what I hope people will feel when they hear mine." In 2008, Anderson began working with Heartbeat Productions for career development and to strengthen her vocal and stage performance. "People would probably be surprised to know in this business - I'm actually somewhat shy. When I'm on stage I love to be in the spotlight; In my personal life, I'm more reserved. I began working with Joe (Yazbeck, Heartbeat Productions) because after hearing other musicians say you need to change this or you need to change that, Joe told me stay true to myself and not worry about what's trendy or hot today. Sing from the heart. I knew he was the right man to train me." From a pubescent girl scrawling lyrics in a dog-eared notebook to the confident young woman performing in front of live audiences, the performing has never stopped. Years later, Anderson offers her audience an approach to music that cannot be pigeonholed into one particular genre, a style that is as eclectic and versatile as her musical genre influences. "I like blues, r & b, funk, folk, acoustic, alternative, rock, singer-songwriters, anything with harmony, reggae." When asked to describe herself in six words, Anderson was stumped for only a moment. "Loving. Kind. Heart. Spiritual. Authentic. Inspired." She jokes, "I guess I'm a hippie at heart." Produced by Heartbeat Production's Tony Rockcliff, her fully-produced debut CD, "Broken Sky" is a fresh blend of raw original vocals mixed with pop, rock, folk and reggae influences. Broken Sky is now available to her growing number of fans. The biggest compliment she has ever received about her music is that her voice has healing power. "It makes me proud that someone who had a really bad day hears my music and I make them feel better. That's all I want... to touch people, to make a positive impact on their lives." There is no doubt that Anderson's insightful and thoughtful lyrics coupled with her distinctive voice are sure to make an impact for years to come.