History

After serving 32 years as Minister of Music for the NorCal GMWA Chapter Choir founded and led by the legendary Dr. Helen J.H. Stephens, Steven was elected to the GMWA International Board of Directors in 2007. He took the reigns of GMWA Norcal Chapter leadership when Dr. Stephens retired in 2011. He was officially installed as Chapter Representative at the national convention in Nashville TN., July 2011.

A self-taught musician, Steven 1st took interest in music while playing piano as his mother sang gospel hymns & pearls in their home. Raised in a Pentecostal/Apostolic home, his musical learning was influenced by Dr Charles Watkins, Dr Norman Wagner, Dr James Abney, Rev James Cleveland, Dr Mattie Moss Clarke including local gospel musicians: Ernest Jackson, Henderson brothers, Willie “Bill” Coleman, Raynard ”Chuck” Webb, Edwin Hawkins, Henry Jackson just to name a few. In his college years he studied the styles of jazz musicians: Art Tatum, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Bill Evans, Wild Bill Davis, Errol Garner and many others. But his 1st love was always gospel music and the people who wrote it, sung it, produced it and performed it.

In 1968, Steven accepted Jesus as his personal savior and began serving as pianist for the All Nations Pentecostal Church in Tracy CA., where his Father was pastor. It seemed he was go play with and/or share hardships with- being a novice musician in a small community church. But God’s hand was in the plan. Listening to radio each Sunday during the hour-long drive to the little country church kept his desire strong and interest high in gospel music. His musical growth was consistent. He took a small record-player to church every Sunday- and between morning and evening services would sit and play piano along with every gospel record he had. Those years turned out to be Steven’s most vital learning years. His interest grew and he studied and learned piano styles of many gospel musicians, styles of songwriting, the business of music publishing all the while never receiving or thinking about pay for playing at church. God opened doors and offers came. In 1975, years of studying and learning prepared Steven for the moment. As Steven matured spiritually and biblical, passages worked their way into his piano playing, soon the gift of gospel songwriting was born. Steven soon became a compensated musician, playing for many soloists, choirs and churches from all denominations: PAW, COGIC, Baptist and Methodist fellowships.

In early 1980 Rev James Cleveland was in Oakland CA conducting a workshop for the Voices of Christ. He heard some of Steven’s songs. Rev Cleveland invited Steven to attend GMWA in Philly 1980 to introduce a song to Mass Choir. That was the invitation that would change his life. In the latter part of 1982, he started SR (pronounced CZAR) Music Publishing Company. SR Music Publishing Co today is an affiliate-member of Harry Fox Agency (HFA), SESAC, National Music Publisher’s Association (NMPA). Steven is also a voting member of NARAS. In the early 80’s, Steven entered international songwriting competitions and won 1 st place for gospel music three consecutive years: The American Song Festival-82, Music City Song Festival-83 and International Song Festival-84. This led to 7-year writer-publisher-partnership with Sound of Gospel Record Company. That association gave Steven a voice at the table and access to gospel recording artists, producers and notables.

By God’s grace and favor in 1992 Steven was the recipient (along with Dr Margaret Douroux) of a special songwriting award from GMWA for having most songs recorded as a songwriterpresenter by the GMWA Mass Choir in its’ 25-yr history. Steven has enjoyed being a gospel music clinician and musician traveling the U.S. and world as a special guest participant in music workshops, symposiums, festivals, seminars sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. He has developed friendships, fellowships and favor with many people, many cultures and many houses of Faith throughout America, Europe and Japan. His sheet music is constantly requested from various religious and educational institutions all over the world. Steven is the recipient of more than 150 awards including 6-keys–to-cities, 23-Northern California Gospel Academy awards, 4 U.S. congressional recognitions and many other national merits and honors.

In 1995, Steven was selected by the state of Oklahoma, as the Inspirational music consultant (6 other secular artist throughout the U.S. was also selected to share their artistic expertise) with the survivors and victims of the Alfred P. Murrah bldg. bombing.

At this memorial workshop his assignment was to encourage, inspire, support and share uplifting gospel music themed “Singing for Joy”. This was both a challenge and rewarding experience. God’s presence was felt in each music session as more than 250 people participated in this music course to be lifted with inspirational songs, messages and memories during this week of reflection, reclamation and recovery.

Personals: Steven’s wife, Lois and two sons Steven and Sterlen continue to be a great support system in his ministry. “Home is an amazing place of peace”. Steven and family are members of Grace Community Church (San Francisco CA), he is the Minister of Music for Pilgrim Baptist Church (San Mateo CA), Chapter Representative of NorCal GMWA Chapter, Director of the James Cleveland Gospel Chorus, Administrative Assistant of GMWA Mass Choir and member of the GMWA Board of Directors. In 2004, he was awarded the prestigious Honorary Doctorate of Music degree from Bell Theological Seminary.

Steven has written more than 350 songs (two on Grammy nominated albums) and has over 100 songs covered by gospel, jazz and secular artists. The music personalities whom he has worked with over the years is prestigious and many. More importantly Steven says “All honor and glory to Jesus Christ, whom by way of the cross with great faithfulness, unfailing mercy and lovingkindness chose me as His vessel”. Steven continues to share the message Jesus’ love through music.

Steven’s steps have been ordered to spread “Jesus loves” by encouraging, inspiring and including people of every nation about God’s message of hope, help and healing in Jesus Christ. He is most grateful to God for his belated parents to whom he esteems and owes high honor.

Steven’s Life’s Statement: “I am the beneficiary of my parents’ benevolence to God. Their parental direction, correction and nurturing led me spiritually and shaped me musically. They loved me, supported me and never fenced me in racially, religiously, denominationally or musically. Their support helped me hear and accept the call of God on my life. My family is an extension of this generational blessing”

Steven’s Life’s Testimony: “God will take a small bit of talent, a pinch of faith, a large cup availability, pour in His anointing, stir it- with His spoon of love and that cup will overflow”.

TO  GOD  BE  HIGH  GLORY!

Selah