Songwriting is just another organic expression of Stephan’s palette — 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 , 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 stream of mainstream pop, jazz and soul hits — a sound that became a siren that pulled him across the Atlantic from his native Hamburg, Germany.
When Stephan returned to Hamburg from his first visit, 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 23 YEARS – AND COUNTING
With truly breathtaking lyrics by advertising-specialist 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, even recordings by germany’s top comedians (!) showed the song hitting an emotional nerve that far surpassed its role as a song for a chocolate company.
It got so famous that even Germany’s most outstanding comedian, Otto Waalkes, asked permission to record his (very funny) version of the song and release it worldwide.
The composition, a true earworm, is consistently being broadcast since 1992 until the present.
Click to the video on the right to hear the version performed by the Hamburg hit makers Krueger & Wilckens — with vocals by Stephan.
Up next is one of Stephan’s original compositions, “World of Me and You,” written by Stephan, Kenny Hirsch and the wonderful lyricist Rosemary Casey.
Beautifully interpreted by the superbly talented vocalist Liela Avila.
RADIO LUXEMBOURG GOLDEN LION AWARD
Stephan is the winner 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 skill is 100% transferable to all your other music arranging and orchestration endeavors.”
“Oh – and you have to do it very fast!”