Songwriting, arranging and performing happen in the same flow of Stephan’s creative energy — and he’s created exceptional works across many musical genres.
Over the years, he’s enjoyed collaborating and writing with many of America’s finest, including writers of world renown like Melissa Manchester, Sharon Vaughn, Kenny Hirsch (hit writer for Barbra Streisand, Anita Baker, Ray Charles, etc.) Robin Lerner (Faith Hill, Tim McGraw etc.), Marsha Malamet (Barbra Streisand, Patti LaBelle etc.) Jason Gould , Allan Rich, Rapper Tia P. and many others.
One of his first successes was “Merci Dass Es Dich Gibt” (Merci For Being Who You Are).
On Stephan’s first trip to the United States in 1990, he fell in love with America’s powerful mainstream pop, jazz and soul sound as well as the impactful sonics of Jazz and Latin fusions performed in the sweltering clubs of Los Angeles — a sound that became a siren that irresistibly pulled him across the Atlantic from his native Hamburg, Germany.
Before that epiphany and subsequent move took place, Stephan returned to Hamburg from his first visit to the U.S. when his German agency asked him to write a commercial for MERCI, a famous chocolatier and candy maker in Europe.
INSPIRED BY HIS FIRST AMERICAN MUSIC EXPERIENCE, STEPHAN WROTE ONE OF EUROPE’S LONGEST-RUNNING AND MOST BELOVED TV-COMMERCIALS.
ON AIR FOR OVER 23 YEARS – AND COUNTING!
With truly breathtaking lyrics by advertising specialist and lyricist Ev-Kathrin Pahnke and the music of Stephan (also produced by Stephan), the catchy composition was broadcast around Europe in more than 10 countries simultaneously.
In the blink of an eye, everyone in Europe could sing the “Merci Song” – hatching countless spin-offs, edits in all imaginable lengths and finally, a successful radio single, with Stephan as the artist, on the BMG label.
All over Europe the song took on a life of its own – performed and recorded by countless choirs, bands and orchestras showed the song hitting an emotional nerve that far surpassed its role as merely a jingle for a chocolate company.
It got so much attention that even Germany’s most revered comedian, Otto Waalkes, asked permission to record his (very funny) version of the song and released it worldwide.
The composition, a true ‘earworm’, is consistently being broadcast since 1992 until the present.
Click on the video above to hear the MERCI “Long Version”, performed by Stephan and powered by a fantastic track produced by the Hamburg hit makers Krueger & Wilckens.
RADIO LUXEMBOURG GOLDEN LION AWARD
Stephan is the recipient of the coveted “Golden Lion Award” for the #1 commercial in Radio Luxembourg’s renowned commercial chart (their “Hit Parade”). Radio Luxembourg (RTL) is one of Europe’s largest radio and television networks.
The client who requested Stephan to compose, produce and sing the commercial and pop radio hit was Bahlsen Foods, a significant force in the international foods market.
COMPOSING, ARRANGING AND PRODUCING COMMERCIALS IS ONE OF THE MOST USEFUL SKILLS ANY MUSICIAN CAN ACQUIRE.
“There is a pivotal moment where composing and arranging become one: As a commercial composer, you must be able to react to your client on a moment’s notice after they gave you the thumbs-up for your project,” said Stephan.
“So get ready to run back to the studio and quickly cut your piece down from 60 seconds to 45, then 30, then 15 – and even 5 seconds, etc. — whatever they request – all the while still maintaining a perfect compositional integrity. This formidable skill becomes 100% transferable to all your other music arranging and orchestration endeavors.”