This week we get a sneak peek into the artistic world of musician and violinist Steven Bowman. Steven teaches violin, is a church planter, and also plays with a band called “Loser’s Way Home.” You can visit his website here. And be sure to check out the band’s new EP here. You can also find additional albums on Itunes and Spotify. I met Steven last year in Nashville at a coffee shop he was playing at with fellow band member Randall Downs. These guys are doing some pretty awesome stuff in the music world. Read on to learn more!
What are you currently working on?
I’ve been working on a series of autobiographical songs for my “Ebenezer” project. The idea is that these songs represent different seasons in my life, and each volume tends to reflect my spiritual and emotional state from the time I wrote that set of songs.
When did you first know you wanted to be a musician?
I was in kindergarten. I saw a girl in my school play the violin and I was unbelievably fascinated… Couple that with the very first PBS Riverdance special, and I knew that I would play.
What are your near and future goals for your music?
A near goal is to finish Ebenezer Vol. 2, but I also want to get into film scoring. I have loved the art of movie music for years (and even scored an Olan Rogers short film episode called New Prime). Hopefully I can play around with that medium more in the future.
What other types of art or artists inspire you? Any specific examples?
I definitely find inspiration in a variety of places, but I find the cinema to be my favorite medium. The way that a director’s worldview and storytelling is expressed through a combination of visuals, sound, editing, and acting is thrilling to me. My current favorite director is Terrence Malick. Tree of Life is without a doubt my favorite film, and the deeper you look the more symbolism and spirituality you see presented. I’ve also been fascinated by the movie screenplays of Charlie Kaufman for a while. Where Malick comes from a Christian worldview however, Kaufman is very humanistic and postmodern – and I find that fascinating. One of my goals with viewing art is to try and understand the artist’s worldview through the art itself.
How do you usually get past creativity blocks?
I will tell you as soon as I discover that myself. 🙂 Seriously though, it happens to all great artists at one point or another. I try and mentally cleanse myself in those moments. I find that over-saturation in my art leads to burnout, so creative blocks are generally born from fatigue. I try and escape to a quiet place, somewhere that is fresh and new in order to combat this.
What does your creative process look like?
When I write songs I generally start with either the lyrics or the melody. I rarely work with both simultaneously. If I have been inspired by something I experienced, I generally journal in depth about it. How did it make me feel? What did I notice about myself? about God? Then I take these jumbled thoughts and try to reorganize into a cohesive structure. Melodies, on the other hand, seem to be born from chaos. I never sit and plan out a song’s chord structure or melody… I just start picking and it comes to me. It’s a gift from God I believe.
What is your favorite instrument?
Violin! At times I think I might enjoy the sounds of a cello or piano more, but since I can make a violin sound however I want it to, I tend to always return to that as my favorite. It’s just so versatile. I can literally play any style….
What nugget of advice can you give to beginning/aspiring musicians and/or other artists?
Keep it real! The more vulnerable you allow yourself to be in your art, the more you will be able to connect with your audience. I find so much pop music to be distasteful because it’s all fake… from the auto tune down to the lyrics written by 15 different people. Even if a song is simple, it can be POWERFUL if it is telling the truth. Don’t be afraid to tell the truth with your art.
What do you wish you knew before you released your first album with the band?
Be prepared to play a song for the rest of your career. I think we all just figured “Can I Let You Just Go?” would be a one-off project, but some of these songs have lasted to this day. I think I have probably played “Rachel” and “Place of No Return” 500 times each so far… Thank goodness they are good songs and fun to perform.
How do you balance home life/other responsibilities with your “creative time?”
My creative time is generally a reward for my “adulting.” Lol. I have to be sure that I pay the bills, have a clean home, stay healthy, etc. It frees up my music to a degree when I’m not thinking about the OTHER things I have to do. Sometimes I have to wait a little before I can jam out, and when I do… that’s when the musical magic happens. I also try to bring other people into my creative time… Community begets deep art.
What kind of change do you hope to bring about through your art?
My desire is to awaken hope in my audience and inspire community. It’s a dark world these days and we often feel overwhelmed and isolated. By sharing my stories and being vulnerable through my music, I have the opportunity to connect with my audience and offer them hope. My hope is that my audience will realize they are not alone, that we all share in similar things being a part of the human race. My personal journey with Christ is at the root of who I am and what I do, but I don’t seek to write “Christian songs.” Instead I write songs about my experiences and my story – and my faith just happens to intersect with those frequently.
What would your superpower be and why?
I feel like I would be that lame superhero that can read people’s emotions and tell exactly what they need… more like the “super significant other.” I am a really sensitive person and to a degree already pick up on little ticks in people’s personalities…. If I had a superhero sized version of that, I would be perhaps the greatest counselor in the world. 🙂
More about Steven:
Steven Bowman is a violinist, music teacher, and church planter from Memphis, TN. He is currently relocating to Anthem, AZ to work with Crosslife Church, where he will minister to the city through the arts as well as discipling and teaching through the church. He received his Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance from the University of Memphis in 2010, and his Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in 2016. Steven has 13 years experience teaching violin in Memphis, and works frequently with the Annie Moses Band in Nashville, having been been featured in performances with them at Carnegie Hall, the Bluegrass Underground, the Grand Ole Opry House, and the PBS Special “The Art of the Love Song.” He has backed up artists such as Star & Micey, Jimmy Wayne, Ron Block from Alison Krauss and Union Station, and Josh Turner. Steven also writes and performs with his band Loser’s Way Home with fellow church planter Randall Downs. Together since 2009, Loser’s Way Home has recorded 5 albums and performed extensively. While music has always been his passion, Steven recognizes a call to ministry on his life, so he currently enjoys finding ways to merge the two. Steven has led worship for Bellevue Baptist Church and Faith Baptist Church in Memphis, and has worked heavily with the Faith Baptist and Kirby Woods Baptist music academies organizing ministry ensembles and recitals, teaching group classes, and showing young musicians how they can glorify God through their gifts. He is currently launching a new music conservatory in Phoenix Arizona to develop a new generation of performing artists. Although music and ministry make up a great portion of his life, Steven is a coffee connoisseur and film buff, and loves spending time with family and friends. 1 Corinthians 10:31.