Steven Prince

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Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Melody Is King

A lot of things are important in music but melody is king.  Timing is crucial, style, tempo and other things are very important but melody is the principle thing.

Melody equals power

I think that it is melody that gives music it’s potency.  It is the melody that conveys the message in the music most directly to the listener.  When music is not melodic it may be hypnotic or engaging on some level, but will lack the power that music can have when it is melodic.

Melody gives music greater appeal to the majority of listeners.  The reason why Beatles music is still popular today is that it is melodic.  Even in guitar solos, shredding can be spectacular (and I love it) but if it is not melodic then the listener will be left cold once they have gotten over the ‘Gee Wizz’ factor.  Solo’s by players like David Gilmore for example are epic because they are melodic.  Other technicians of the guitar may be able to run rings around David Gilmore in number of notes, but their solos will be weaker if they are not melodic.  Having both melody and great technique is an awesome combination!

Melody is Communication

Music is really a universal language.  At it’s best it is the language of the heart.  Even the Bible refers to music in these terms (Ephesians 5:17).  When music is melodic it conveys what is in the heart of the musician, more directly to the heart of the listener.  It is melody that has the power to cross mental or even cultural boundaries and speak directly to the heart of the listener.

Music involves technique as well as communication and this is where it can go astray, I think.  The technicality in the mastery of ones instrument can lead the musician to a ‘Braniac’ place where music becomes more like mathematics rather than heartfelt communication.  Technical ‘gymnastics’ are good to develop ones skills but I believe a wise musician will allow melody to dominate his or her playing.

My wife will often comment on music that I listen to and say, “that’s muso music”.  What she really means is that, even though I enjoy it, it’s not doing anything for her.  In other words, not speaking to her.  I’ve heard other people comment that certain musicians and singers are “hard work to listen to”.  I remember listening to an Al di Meola interview in which he commented that it was mainly guys that would come to the Return To Forever shows that he played.  Most females present were there with their husbands or boyfriends.  He realised that his music was only speaking to, potentially, half the population of his listeners.

Melody is king.

1:38 pm - 0 comments - 0 Kudos
Friday, April 30, 2010

My Bio

Current mood: calm

Steven Prince Band Biography

It was 1989 and I had been a musician playing in bands since my High School years in the 70's.  I had been writing songs right from the time I started being really serious about my guitar playing in 1974.

I joined my first band in the last couple of years of High School with my long term friend Lyndon Kriss, an excellent musician and his dad Allen.  Back then I was basically the lead singer of the band as my guitar skills were only rudimentary.  For the songs I couldn't play I simply turned my guitar down and faked it 'air guitar' style :o)

After leaving High School I played guitar and sang in various cover bands but had a desire all through that time to record and play my own material or at least original material of the band I was a member of.  This only occurred sporadically and my dream of being a member of a creative original band seemed to be slipping away with the passing of time.

In 1989 I decided to leave the band I was with and form the Steven Prince Band to record 'You Can Fly'.  I told myself at the time that I didn't want to wake up when I'm 50 and regret not giving this a shot.  The project began in earnest and a grueling effort commenced.  I quit my day job and put all my time into getting the album underway.  My friend Lyndon has a recording studio in Ballarat called Soundtrax 919; it was there that the preproduction was done and most of the musicians were gathered from the session players that worked at Soundtrax 919.  A band was put together and rehearsals began.

I wanted a digital recording and at the time there were only two digital studios in Australia, Metropolis Audio in Melbourne being one of them.  The studio was booked.  The recording sessions occurred between June 30th and August 14th 1989.

Around Christmas that year that the CD was released and the band did two shows to launch it.  Sadly for me, most of the members quit the band soon after.  They were session players after all; we weren't a band prior to the recording, it was essentially a solo album.  I released 'You Can Fly' under the name of the Steven Prince Band rather than just my solo album as my goal was to be a member of a creative team that wrote great music, played and stayed together.

So, after this huge effort and expense, my dream seemed just as elusive as ever.  A period of deep depression followed.  I had little internal energies left to promote 'You Can Fly' by myself as I had exhausted myself getting the album finished.  Life looked pretty grim at that time.  My wife and I had to sell our home to clear some of the album debt.  Thankfully our marriage stayed strong.

So, at my darkest hour I began to cry out to God and say, "there must be more to life than this".  I had attempted to make my dream a reality by my own efforts and naively believed that it must succeed just because I gave it 100%

It was then that God started putting christians across my path.  One colleague gave me a New Testament and my good friend Kerry Ann McKittrick (nee Fry) gave me some christian music by a band 'White Heart' that started stirring my soul.  God was drawing me to Himself.

Eventually I got back into the cover band scene in Ballarat.  I was asked to join a friends band that didn't work out, however, the bass player from that lineup approached me later to reform the Steven Prince Band and give it another shot.  So it was back to the pubs and clubs again.  Kerry Ann joined to play keys and sing.  She was the connection to my first church.  All through this time God was working in my heart and eventually called me out of the band to serve Him exclusively.  So consequently 'You Can Fly' got shelved again and basically stayed that way until August 2008.

I was telling my friend Barry Tiplady of Westwood Guitars the above story and he encouraged me to consider making 'You Can Fly' available online.  You have to remember, there was no iTunes and such back in the early 90's.  I started to reacquaint myself with 'You Can Fly' and fell in love with it again.  I had even forgotten how some of the songs went it had been so long!

So, after discussing this idea with my Pastor, Justin Gardener, I decided to make 'You Can Fly' available online.  You can find it on iTunes.

My life is totally different these days to what it was when I was gigging in the early 90's.  God has fulfilled my creative dreams by making me the Music Director of Destiny Centre Christian Church.  Our worship team is a group of passionate people who love God, each other and whose hearts are knit together to see Jesus glorified.  We have many song writers on our team and are in the throws of releasing an album of original Praise & Worship music.  It's wonderful to be alive for me these days.  It amazes me how I have ended up being in the creative situation that I dreamed of as a young musician by giving up my own striving efforts and letting God fulfill my destiny.  Take it from me, God has the best plan for your life!

Jeremiah 29:11 (New International Version)

"I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

I hope you enjoy the sample tracks here from 'You Can Fly' and perhaps may like to purchase the whole album.

Thanks for reading my story, may God bless you abundantly!

Steven Prince

2:29 pm - 3 comments - 2 Kudos