It was a dream come true for keyboardist Vahagn Stepanyan to travel to the US to finish recording his second album, “A New Chapter,” with a stellar collective of Grammy winners and nominees and prodigious musicians, producers and engineers. That dream made history when the jazz fusion album simultaneously debuted on three Billboard charts, making Stepanyan the first independent artist from Armenia to accomplish such a feat.
The eight-song set of fusion, jazz, rock, and funk with world beat and global music elements produced by Stepanyan and Grammy winner Kitt Wakeley debuted at No. 5 on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Albums chart, No. 19 on the Jazz Albums chart and No. 97 on the Current Albums chart.
“A New Chapter” is more than a showcase for Stepanyan’s virtuoso keyboard artistry. He’s a team player thus the project is a team effort highlighted by eleven-time Grammy-winning trumpeter Philip Lassiter (Prince, Ariana Grande), Grammy nominated guitarists Greg Howe and Mark Lettieri (Snarky Puppy); platinum-selling saxophonist Dave Koz, bassists Ida Nielsen (Prince) and Anthony Crawford (Justin Timberlake, Kirk Whalum); and powerhouse drummer Eric Moore (Bobby Brown, Sly & The Family Stone, Suicidal Tendencies) among other noteworthy players from around the world.
Stepanyan has always been incredibly ambitious dating back to when, as a ten-year-old in Armenia, he told his piano teacher that one day he would travel to America to record with jazz and gospel music greats. He also thinks on a grand scale, somehow securing the Times Square Jumbotron to world premiere clips from the video for the album’s first single, “Synergy,” which features Koz in a vastly different setting for which the sax star is best known. The song won the Akademia Music Awards’ Grand Award.
Stepanyan captured the making of “A New Chapter” in a five-part video short documentary series taking viewers inside the recording process, showing the musicians tracking their parts and discussing the experience of working with the Armenian force of nature. The next video release from “A New Chapter” is for the track “Gravity,” which features Howe’s scorching guitar and Lassiter’s explosive horns.
An award-winning music producer, arranger, songwriter, film and television composer and a classically trained keyboardist, Stepanyan arrived in the US with his family a year and a half ago to continue work on “A New Chapter.” Settling in Los Angeles, he began composing the music for the set while venturing through Arizona and Utah. Released on May 19, the album has already won several awards from the Akademia Music Awards and Global Music Awards, and garnered nominations from the Hollywood Independent Music Awards (Jazz – Fusion/Bebop) and The Josie Music Awards (Musician of the Year). It is receiving airplay in multiple radio genres and is being praised by reviewers.
“Vahagn Stepanyan’s ‘A New Chapter’ is a remarkable album that showcases his immense talent and musical vision. With its masterful piano performances, diverse collaborations, and well-crafted compositions, this album is a must-listen for jazz, fusion, and contemporary instrumental music enthusiasts. Stepanyan and his collaborators have created a truly memorable musical experience that will leave listeners eagerly anticipating the next chapter in his musical journey.” – Slang of Ages
“A remarkable achievement in production, arranging, songwriting and musicality.” – Cultuurmania
“The bouncy, burning tunes can’t help but make you feel alive in a world that often feels dead inside. It’s an intimate-to-stadium-concert jack-up-the-volume kind of album you want to share with drinks-in-hand friends.” – Coggie Ink
“This intriguingly succulent new recording opens on the magnificently vibrant, dipping and soaring ‘Synergy’ (featuring Dave Koz).” – Exclusive Magazine
For more information, please visit https://vahagnstepanyan.com.
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