Stephanie Rodriguez (SwanoDown Report)

Reported by Imani Wj Wright

I cannot speak for everyone, but when I begin my musical journey into an album, I’m not just there to simply listen. No. No. No. I could’ve turned on a local radio station, or gotten on an elevator for that. That’s not what I’m here for. I’m here for an experience. Why will albums like Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, and The Notorious B.I.G.’s, Ready to Die, be listened to for years to come? It’s not just chalked up to the “sound.” Let’s be honest, we’ve all heard good sounding projects that don’t necessarily go down in history as unforgettable. So what makes the aforementioned pieces stand out? Well, they’re a few things. For starters, they all have highly conceptualized storylines. Every song is placed with intent. Not only “intent” in the sense of consciousness, but pieces roll together in cohesion. Song after song is the next page in their masterpiece, and I do not use that word lightly. But- what truly captures the brilliance for me is the dynamic makeup of those bodies of work. Though the album works in tandem, the songs do not all display the same tones & timbre. Now, when you listen to Crazy Game, by Stephanie Rodriguez, you get exactly that- a dichotomy and dynamics.

If you look at the cover of this piece or even the aesthetic of Stephanie herself, there are a few feelings one could derive from those sheer visuals. One could successfully define Stephanie as humble. There isn’t a lot of flash, nothing is too “in your face,” and for that reason, I am drawn in even more. Why? You may think it would be the other way around. However, there is a magnetic-pull that lies within an artist with some mystique. There’s no fun in giving it all away. Well, not for me at least. 

Let us dive back into the soundscape of, Crazy Game. Regardless of how beautifully subdued her visuals may be, the project is the complete opposite. At times it can be downright rambunctious and exuberant. Tracks like "Fine with me" and "About Time" have the potential to be absolute party favorites. The percussion on both tracks, especially "About Time" are in your face, moving with intensity, and uplift Rodriguez' vocal performance to a different dimension. Then, you have, "Follow My Destiny," which is piano led with more transparent and reflective lyricism. 

Rodriguez Told SwanoDown: 

The evolutionary stages of my first EP ‘Crazy Game’ were during a trip to London where I found a new love in writing. In my album, I thought it was essential to introduce different style genres in order to demonstrate my versatility as a vocalist and to show my adaptability and connection to the music. ‘Crazy Game’ is a distinct album influenced by Jazz, Blues, Middle Eastern music, Latin Soul, and Dance music. When I was first starting out with my original material, it was a combined mixture of different ideas. I ended up developing songs that represented different themes. 

She continued: 

The tracks are related to emotional life – events. The kinds of emotions I intended to extract from my listeners were in relation to heartbreak, hope, perseverance and never giving up. Hence why I came up with the idea of calling my EP ‘Crazy Game’ because in essence to me it has been quite an interesting journey putting this album together.

It is clear that Rodriguez conceptualized this project with diligent care and intent. So with that, one may wonder how often she thought of her audience during the album's growing/creating stages. 

"For my new project in which I am in the process of putting together, I aim to bring something new. Thinking of a new sound. I have lots of creative ideas that I would like to put into action, so this time I intend to keep my audience in mind as I am hopeful that they will be able to relate to my new material in the future thus keeping them interested. I believe the audience plays a very integral part when it comes to putting new music out there. And so it will be my responsibility to accomplish this." Rodriguez stated.

Listen to Crazy Game:

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