Stephanie Greaves takes centre stage

Stephanie Greaves takes centre stage

Victoria songstress is fueled by the music

  • Dec. 18, 2019 7:30 a.m.

– Story by Sean McIntyre Photography by Lia Crowe

Victoria songstress Stephanie Greaves won’t ever forget her first live stage appearance, and not only because she stole the show: she nearly became the subject of a missing persons investigation.

She and her parents were visiting family in England when they spontaneously popped in to watch a local talent competition in Great Yarmouth, where Stephanie soon vanished amid the crowd. By the time worry had set in for her parents, the curtain lifted to reveal their missing six-year-old daughter all alone on stage singing Raffi’s Mr. Golden Sun. Once the applause subsided and the show came to an end, the host announced that Stephanie had won the event’s grand prize: a bottle of champagne.

Because they hadn’t anticipated the competition’s under-age winner, organizers scurried to come up with a more age-appropriate prize. Stephanie walked away with a “Milk does a body good” T-shirt and a one-week, all-expenses-paid stay at a holiday resort.

Even at age six, Stephanie was living on a healthy diet of the classics. She recalls a childhood household in which music was paramount. Songs by ABBA, Willie Nelson, The Carpenters and Frank Sinatra and a dose of classical music floated within the walls of her home in Toronto. She never doubted her love of song and the power of her voice. Stage fright was not a concern; Stephanie was never shy.

“I’ve never had that problem,” she says. “Mum and Dad always sang. I was literally raised on the good old music and didn’t wait long to make an impression whenever we were entertaining or at a social event.”

Stephanie’s penchant for song has helped her see and perform all over the world. With an untiring commitment to her craft, she’s become a household name at public events and private functions across Victoria and Vancouver Island. Be it at intimate solo shows, dinner theatre at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel, or singing Canada’s national anthem for international dignitaries or tens of thousands of cheering Vancouver Canucks and BC Lions fans, Stephanie displays the versatility and grace of a natural performer.

Stephanie spent 18 years as lead vocalist for The Naden Band of the Royal Canadian Navy. She was the only civilian among the band’s 35 musicians who travelled the world to support the Royal Canadian Navy at ceremonial events and public outreach initiatives. The band is a regular feature at Remembrance Day celebrations, the opening of British Columbia’s Provincial Legislature and during official visits from heads of state. Her years with Naden gave her the chance to work alongside greats such as the Victoria Symphony, while introducing her to the Salvation Army, an organization with which she remains very active on a fundraising level.

When a change in the band’s music director took place in 2016, it seemed like the perfect time to close the book on one chapter of her life. Faced with an unforeseen career setback, Stephanie could have been forgiven if she’d begun to worry. But she never had time to second-guess herself. Almost immediately, she discovered that she was in high demand. No longer committed to her previous band’s rigourous and unpredictable schedule, she had the freedom to set her own timetable, select her own gigs and explore new avenues for her music.

“Since that happened, I’ve never been busier,” she says.

Stephanie’s years of experience and natural command of the stage have earned her the honour of collaborating with many local musicians and hosting popular events such as the historic Oak Bay Tea Party. Her busy performance schedule and a full-time job have placed her in an enviable position of being able to say “no” when it comes to booking gigs, she says.

Stephanie has been a long-time proponent of fair wages for musicians. As is the case with so many artistic pursuits, music often places performers in a perpetual clash between following their art and coping with financial realities. Grabbing a low-paying gig for exposure and a free meal might seem harmless, but it lowers the bar, driving down the value of live music and forcing entertainers to look elsewhere to cover their expenses — and ultimately meaning they spend less time playing and practicing their craft.

Though her musical calendar is filled with private events of all sizes, Stephanie still makes time for public shows in and around Victoria. One such venue is at The Oaks Restaurant in Oak Bay, where she and her music director, pianist and great friend Darcy Phillips entertain patrons with live music on the second Friday of every month. Stephanie loves the venue’s living-room ambience. It offers an intimate venue where she can take patrons on a two-hour musical journey through song.

Anyone who has seen her perform will know that, in addition to a powerful voice of her own, Stephanie excels at impersonations. She brings well-known works to the small stage, where people can close their eyes and imagine they’re seated before some of the planet’s most famous divas and chanteuses. A standout is Stephanie’s version of the national anthem performed in a style that combines the voices of Cher, Edith Piaf, Celine Dion, Barbra Streisand and Adele. Another is the title track from 2018’s A Star is Born, featuring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper.

“It’s all music that is relatable,” she says. “It doesn’t matter what age you are, whether you’re a six-year-old child or an 85-year-old man, these songs are relatable. That’s what fuels me; music is what fuels me.”

Stephanie Greaves and Friends performed their annual Christmas Show from December 5 to 8, 2019 at the Blue Bridge Theatre at The Roxy, where she’s looking forward to sharing the stage and doing what she does best, making music with a local tenor.

You can follow her on Twitter here.

Story courtesy of Boulevard Magazine, a Black Press Media publication

Like Boulevard Magazine on Facebook and follow them on Instagram

Arts and cultureArts and EntertainmentMusic

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The president and chief executive officer of BC Ferries promises additional reviews to help sustain BC Ferries. (Black Press Media File)
BC Ferries to review expenditures following 43 per cent passenger drop in 2020

Promise from CEO follows new figures showing significant decline in passengers

B.C. SPCA’s Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre voted favourite non-profit in the 2020 Best of the WestShore Awards. (Facebook/Wild ARC)
Wild ARC in Metchosin voted favourite non-profit for second year in a row

The rehabilitation centre treated nearly 3,000 animals last year

Shea Smith is one of three creators of The Homeless Idea podcast. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Victoria podcasters talks homelessness first-hand

Three homeless Victoria residents created The Homeless Idea to give themselves a voice

The University of Victoria will mark the eighth annual Giving Tuesday with its Add Sprinkles campaign which collects funds to support various student initiatives across campus. (Photo courtesy UVic Photo Services)
Nearly 150 Greater Victoria groups prepare for eighth annual Giving Tuesday

Last year Canadians raised nearly $22 million in 24 hours

Local MLA Adam Olsen, a member of the Tsartlip Nation, here seen before the 2020 provincial election, said a new report finding “widespread systemic racism against Indigenous people” in the provincial health care system does not surprise Indigenous people. (Hansard TV)
MLA, Tsartlip member says ‘silo’ approach won’t work dealing with racism in health care

Adam Olsen calls for comprehensive approach in dealing with systemic racism

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Christy Jordan-Fenton is the co-author of the book Fatty Legs, which has been mentioned amid the controversy of an Abbotsford school assignment on residential schools.
Co-author of residential schools book condemns controversial Abbotsford class assignment

Children’s book mentioned amid controversy at W. A. Fraser Middle School

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka takes over as energy and mines critic for the B.C. Liberal opposition. Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick (right) moves from health critic to assistant deputy speaker. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals pick critics to take on Horgan’s NDP majority

Interim leader Shirley Bond takes seniors, long-term care

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland listens to a question from a reporter on the phone during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Spending too little worse than spending too much, Freeland says as Canada’s deficit tops $381B

‘The risk of providing too little support now outweighs that of providing too much’

Left to right: A screenshot of NTC nurse navigator Lesley Cerney, FNHA regional mental health manager Georjeana Paterson and Island Health’s medical health officer Dr. Charmaine Enns addressing Ehattesaht community members from Ehatis reserve in a Facebook live update. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Medical team sent to Ehatis reserve near Zeballos to guide community through COVID outbreak

17 cases, eight recoveries and no hospitalizations as Island Health praises First Nation’s response

Most Read