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Meet Stephanie Rice from The Voice – Flygirl Interview
Posted by Mandy Randhawa on June 27, 2018
Stephanie Rice: Artistic Thoughts of a Scientific Mind
We first saw Stephanie on season 12 of The Voice, and if you haven’t seen her audition, go find it online and watch it. Now. It’s beautiful. She hooked an entire nation with her voice, her honesty, and her story of resilience after coming out and becoming estranged from her parents.
Fun fact: After moving to Houston, Stephanie graduated with honors, earning a BS in Biology at the University of Houston. She’s conducted groundbreaking research involving HIV, and even published an article for the Journal of AIDs.
We knew we had to try and get Stephanie to come perform—and we’re excited to welcome her to Vancouver for Pride this year! We had a chance to chat with her about her experiences after the Voice, her inspirations, and more.
Get to meet Stephanie:
Flygirl: How has life changed for you after The Voice?
Stephanie: Before The Voice, I had this dream: to travel while doing music. That was the ultimate goal for me. I was working two full-time jobs, one in the medical research field and one as an aspiring musician. Since The Voice, I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to call music my full-time job, and I’ve been able to travel around the country doing what I love.
Flygirl: As you’ve been travelling and seeing more of the country’s response to current events, what do you think of the significance of artists pushing for social change?
Stephanie: Nina Simone once said, “How can you be an artist and NOT reflect the times.” Like Nina, I see it as an artist’s duty to use our voices, no matter how big or small, to push for change.
Flygirl: We love that, especially having been in the queer community so long and having seen so many queer artists come and go. It’s interesting to see who uses their voices for what end.
Stephanie: Yes! Whether that’s by using our voice off-stage, or writing songs that make people think, or all of the above. I have the utmost respect for artists who use their platform for good—for creating change—and being a voice for those who have been silenced.
Flygirl: Okay, different topic—you have an awesome sense of style. Who are your fashion inspirations?
Stephanie: Thank you! I’m inspired by strength, love, eclecticism, and a strong sense of identity as an overcomer. I love to feel fierce and 100% me. I identify as androgynous and am really inspired by the styles of Michael Jackson and Jimi Hendrix.
Flygirl: Speaking of inspirational artists… which artists would you love to collaborate with?
Stephanie: Coldplay, Imagine Dragons, Macklemore, Florence and The Machine, Alabama Shakes.
Flygirl: Nice. How about queer artists?
Stephanie: Wrabel’s honesty is electrifying, Justin Tranter’s talent is other worldly, and Janelle Monae’s is just indescribable.
Flygirl: Most memorable gig so far?
Stephanie: I would have to say my homecoming show in Texarkana has been the most memorable. I was able to reconnect with so many people from my past and the mayor declared June 16th Stephanie Rice Day. To me it was a powerful moment where the people of the city recognized that what happened to me should never happen to anyone else—no queer kid should be rejected from their family.
Flygirl: With Pride weekend coming up, what message would you offer to other queer kids out there who are ostracized by their parents? What message would you offer their parents?
Stephanie: To other ostracized queer kids: We aren’t alone. The best thing I could have done was surrounding myself with people that supported me. And sometimes, it might just be one person, but that one ally, that one voice saying ‘everything is going to be alright’ could save your life. The good news is that although we’ll inevitably live with scars, with every holiday or birthday accompanied by a sting, you can find fullness of life and happiness without your parents in your life. You are stronger and more capable than you’ve dared to dream. Secondly, find an outlet! Don’t let the pain sit inside you and eat you alive. Find a way to transfer the seemingly unbearable pain into a form of expression. Find something positive in your life, find a passion, and then dedicate your entire being to it.
To parents: You are not the victims. Your child was born beautifully and perfectly into an imperfect world, and your abandonment of your child is the only travesty—not your child’s orientation or identity. You have no idea how much harm you are causing your child or how much your actions are increasing the rates of suicide. I dare you to try to love. Love is an action. See what happens when you open your heart and mind to having an open dialogue, forming a relationship, and never giving up even when you don’t understand. Love will always be the guide for the path you did not expect.
Flygirl: You graduated with honors in Biology—would you ever go back to working in science and research?
Stephanie: My ultimate dream is to one day travel the world doing music and be hands-on involved in research projects of the city or country I am performing in. However, though I’m not currently working in a lab, that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped thinking like a scientist! I still process and interpret experiences and information around me methodically, and in turn, that impacts my writing and being. That’s why I often refer to my work as “artistic thoughts of a scientific mind.”
Flygirl: You had many beautiful, memorable performances on The Voice. What made you decide to choose Piece by Piece as your audition song?
Stephanie: I first heard the song when I was working in the lab, and it brought me to tears. My sister-in-law sent me the video of Kelly singing it and said, “I can imagine you singing this.” I normally don’t do covers, but when I tried out for The Voice, I decided that connecting emotionally to a song was more important than picking a song to show range or style—because for me, that’s why I do music. To connect and convey a universal feeling.
The song is about a father abandoning his daughter, and I don’t have to dig that deep to connect with that. Yesterday was Father’s day, and once again, it’s a day that I’m not able to celebrate. But it’s something that I can write and sing about—and I know I’m not the only one who feels the way that I do.
Flygirl: That was beautiful and we’re glad you chose to share that song. Okay last question—just had to ask: go-to karaoke song?
Stephanie: Honest confession: I don’t sing karaoke! Actually, The Voice was really the only time that I’ve done covers besides a couple of go-tos: Hold On by Alabama Shakes is probably my favorite cover to sing.
Catch Stephanie performing live (and there might even be a meet-and-great…) during Pride weekend! She’ll be at Pride Hershe Bar Sun Aug 5.