Born in November, 1969 in the beautiful Ribble Valley in Lancashire, North West England, I grew up with two brothers, two sisters, and wonderful, creative parents.
I studied at Blackpool College of Art then joined a modelling agency and spent 6 years working between Manchester, Osaka and Tokyo then later in London. Assignments took me to Korea, America, Italy, Africa and Barbados.
Whenever I came home and throughout most of the last 30 years, I helped in my mother’s flower shop. Living in Edinburgh I worked at The Stained Glass House and through out my life I have always enjoyed painting and writing songs.
I dared to dream and posted a cappella ideas to publishers and record companies and in 2003 signed a five album deal with Hut Recordings. ‘That Girl’ was beautifully recorded in Dublin by Ian Stanley (Tears For Fears/Tori Amos/Sinead O’Connor/ Pretenders) and released in 2004 and played on Radio Two.
Soon after, EMI closed the label and all including the man that signed me, David Boyd went our separate ways. I teamed up with Johnny Dunne and he wrote the music to accompany my melodies and lyrics and produced my most thoughtful album ‘Sunlight On My Soul’ released in 2006.
In the back room of the flower shop I painted a picture to go with each of my songs and while out delivering flowers I sang new ideas into my phone. One delightful day Phil Thornalley (The Cure/Natalie Imbruglia/Brian Adams/Pixie Lott) sent me a backing track to write a melody and words on top. It became ‘Happy Ever After’ and life started to change.
Over the next few years I emailed song ideas from my phone and Phil sent me backing tracks to work on. The songs became ‘Tiny Spark’ my happiest album, which Phil produced with co-producer Mads Hauge, released in 2016. ‘Easy As 123’ has been used by Peugeot in the UK, EDF in France and Miracle Gro in the USA.
My songs have been my companions and the soundtrack to my journey and I think writing and singing the happy songs on ‘Tiny Spark’ has helped change my life. I’m now living my happy ever after with my husband, in an old Chapel in Cornwall with our fluffy pets. I do believe there is magic in music and I’m excited about the new ideas flowing and I expect to release my fourth album in 2019.
Since moving to Cornwall, such a creative and beautiful place, the painter in me has blossomed and I’ve become strongly inspired by the rocks along the coast at Gwithian. My second solo show at The Penwith Gallery, St. Ives, is on the 15th December – 6th January 2018. Please use the contact form for details of the private view. Hope to see you there!
Enjoy having a look around the web gallery, listen to songs and please join up for a free download. You can see earlier artwork on Instagram and Pinterest and say hello on Facebook or tweet me on Twitter.
Cornwall Today. May 2016. Easy As 123
Since coming to Cornwall, Stephanie Kirkham has found success in both art and music.
Cornwall-based artist and singer-songwriter Stephanie Kirkham has enjoyed a busy 2016 so far. Her third album, Tiny Spark was released in January and she is currently putting together an exhibition of her most recent artwork in preparation for Open Studios from May 28th to June 5th
She first threw open the doors of her studio at Townshend, near Hayle for Open Studios 2015. “I’d never exhibited my art before, so it was great to be a part of something that was happening already” says Stephanie, who is softly spoken with an accent that betrays her Lancashire upbringing. “It’s such a great idea – you don’t feel so alone, and yet you can still do your own thing in your own way. It gave me so much confidence, and I’m really looking forward to it this year.”
She works in colourful acrylics, building up layers before sanding and scratching to reveal patterns and textures. The area around Gwithian, with Godrevy lighthouse to the east and St Ives to the west, has become the most recent muse to her work and many of the paintings on display are inspired by her emotional relationship with the rocks and ever-changing colours of this stunning shoreline. “Just touching and feeling the rock gives me a sense of self”, she says with conviction.
Stephanie grew up in the Ribble Valley, just north of Preston, and spent much of her childhood “writing songs, painting and daydreaming”. She made the move south-west two years ago, ” I felt so much at home in Cornwall, as soon as I stepped off the plane at Newquay.”
“As soon as I moved down here, things started to happen for me.” Mitch Adams of 3S Films filmed her painting, which can be seen on here, she met guitarist and singer-songwriter Kai Skjervik, who is now a major collaborator, and she has been offered a month-long run in August at the prestigious Penwith Gallery in St Ives.
Visitors to her Open Studios can expect a bonus on June 3rd, a live performance of tracks from Tiny Spark. She describes the album as “snippets of holiday feelings”, with postcard-like titles including Bon Voyage, Kiss Me Quick and Dreamboat Song. It’s a bright, feel-good album, perfect listening for a summer’s day, and infectiously upbeat, with accompaniment and production by the Grammy award-winning Phil Thornalley (who has worked with Natalie Imbruglia, Pixie Lott, Bryan Adams and the Thompson Twins).
The hugely catchy track Easy As 123 was co-produced by Mads Hauge (whose CV includes songs for Natasha Bedingfield and Eliza Doolittle), and has been featured on the European TV campaigns for Peugeot and EDF, and Miracle Gro in the US. This comes as no surprise, as her style, poppy and light, brings to mind the likes of ad-friendly Feist, Noah and the Whale and female singers such as Ellie Goulding.
“When I came to Cornwall, my goal was to find great musicians to work with, for gigs and the new album, and to get my artwork on a wall in St.Ives. All that has happened within 18 months, so I’m really happy”, says Stephanie.
“Coming here to Cornwall, I feel more grounded, more settled. I feel at home here – I don’t think I’ll ever leave.”
Photos from Holifair Family Festival, Cornwall 2016