From performing songs in New York City subways, Stephen Chopek is flourishing in the competitive music world.
Chopek’s music career began when he picked up a set of drumsticks and felt an immediate connection to the instrument. He later formed bands with his friends throughout high school and college, and then continued his studies post-college with influential drummers — namely Billy Martin, Leon Parker and Charlie Hunter.
Chopek’s first real gig began on tour with Hunter. Chopek described his journey as the initial professional touring and recording process with an established artist that consequently led to additional exhilarating opportunities.
Through his connection with Hunter, Chopek was introduced to John Mayer and later went on a world tour with Mayer as his drummer. Chopek explained that playing with musicians who are either on your level or above your level is beneficial because it grants you with the opportunity to learn and grow.
Chopek’s career as a solo artist began with his debut album, See Through, released in 2012. His songs touch on a combination of genres ranging from indie and folk to pop and rock. Chopek’s second full-length album, Things Moving On Their Own Together, and the album he is currently working on, Begin the Glimmer, primarily focus on the rock/indie genre and culminate into a full band production — Chopek plays all of the instruments himself.
“My recording so far has been a continuous exploration and growth process of writing songs and performing songs — and learning these things as I go along,” Chopek said.
For Chopek, drums have been his instrument of trade for as long as he can remember. But for the past five to six years, he has become more familiar with the singing and songwriting process.
Each of his records is a representation of his next stage in life, Chopek said. For Begin the Glimmer, he found that he reached his most comfortable phase in his career as a performer — he found his figurative and literal voice, Chopek said.
“What I use as a reference is the comfort factor that I feel as a drummer — on an instrument that I’ve been on. I feel very at home on that instrument — I do my best to transfer that feeling as a performer, singing and playing guitar as well … The more that I do it, the more comfortable I feel,” Chopek said.
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Chopek said passion is vital for anything you aspire to pursue. It is even more important to transform those passions into dedication and devotion, according to Chopek.
Chopek advised younger students and adolescents to hone in on their craft, whatever that may be — it is important to apply a committed work ethic to anything you do, Chopek said.
“Education and growth doesn’t stop — it’s a continuous thing that should be pursued, you know, at any point in your life …Make a daily commitment to yourself to continue to learn and grow…” Chopek said.
In the competitive music industry, Chopek realized how imperative it is to find a balance between face-to-face interaction and virtual communication with his fans and the public. It is crucial to not only rely on social media but personal engagement as well — there is no real substitute for interpersonal relations, Chopek said.
Chopek’s spring tour — a pre-promotion for his upcoming record — began on April 12 in Oklahoma. He traveled to Kansas, Iowa, North Dakota and is making his way through the Midwest. He will be performing in Madison at Williamson Magnetic Recording Tuesday. The tour will end in St. Louis on April 29.
Chopek will be traveling on tour — yet again — when the full-length album, Begin the Glimmer, releases in the fall.
To find out more about Chopek, visit his website.