- Bossa Never Dreamed
- You And I
- Hey Pretty Baby
- Take A Little Time
- Don’t Teach Me Tonight
- Rainy Day
- Baby’s Feeling Blue
- Last To Know
- I Can’t Believe
- When You Do That Thing
- Whale Out Of Water
- For You
Stephen Farrell, Jazz Musician Biography
Forty Years in the Making
The prevalence of reality television singing competitions has given us an abundance of hopeful teens and twenty somethings proclaiming that music is their life. Their desire, while probably sincere, often doesn’t extend beyond their headphone’s umbilical cord that tethers them to a portable media player. For many, the dream of becoming a professional musician is merely a flight of fancy. But for Stephen Farrell, music really is his life. It’s a life that began forty years ago – forty creative years as a jazz musician that have led to the release of his first solo album.
Born in Montreal in 1951, Stephen had a taste for music and embarked on a creative journey at the early age of twelve. He grew up in a pre-YouTube era where instant fame only occurred to those who claimed to have been abducted by space aliens or witnessed a prehistoric sea creature swimming on a foggy loch.
Stephen, however, was not after instant fame. He immersed himself in his craft and, over the years, learned to sing as well as play the guitar and piano. Along the way, he sought guidance from established jazz musicians and mentors who helped him develop his creative talents. He even carried his musical aspirations into school.
While studying at McGill University, Stephen sang in various theatrical productions including Pirates of Penzance and HMS Pinafore. At Vanier College, he played in stage bands for productions of Cabaret and Jesus Christ Superstar. It was at Vanier where he met Irena Bubniuk. Under her tutelage, he honed his skills as a vocalist and pianist.
“She gave me great insights into music making,” says Stephen. “And I’m in her debt to this day.”
As he grew as a smooth jazz artist, Stephen composed an eclectic blend of jazz, blues, folk, and easy listening music.
Eventuallyhe formed the group Farrell and Monroe with Gordie Monroe. They played their own compositions at venues in Quebec and Ontario, and performed for the Canadian Forces in the high Arctic some 400 miles from the North Pole.
Stephen then sought out some high-profile projects. He collaborated with Harry Marks on the songs “Let the Games Begin” and “Au Revoir” which were submitted to a competition for the closing ceremonies of the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics. They also had the privilege of writing and recording “Tower in the Sky”, an inaugural
song for Toronto’s CN Tower, arranged by Maury Kaye.
Although, the songs were not chosen for their respective events, it didn’t deter Stephen. He knew, as is the case with many musicians, that success and steady work can be elusive.
“As time went on, I found it more and more difficult to get paying work as a guitarist and singer/songwriter,”
He played a lot of solo piano jobs and supplemented his income by teaching guitar, voice, and piano. But he never
stopped learning or improving his own musical skills. He studied new techniques, new technologies, and new styles to make himself a more well-rounded musician and performer.
Over the years, Stephen continued collaborating with fellow musicians on creative and commercial jobs. He
accompanied other musicians on their albums, wrote and performed the music for multimedia presentations, was
musical director and composer for short films, and worked the wedding band circuit. His work as a pianist,
arranger, vocalist, and musical director allowed him to travel throughout Canada, to the US, and to France.
After decades of collaborating with other artists, Stephen Farrell is finally embarking on his first solo project.
“Now,” he proudly says, “It’s my turn.”
In 2013, Stephen Farrell released a self-titled album that was shaped by forty years of his personal and
“A lot of the songs reflect my life,” says Stephen. “Some of them were born out of thin air, not really related to particular people; but most of them are stories of what I have lived through, so it’s somewhat autobiographical.”
Influenced by elements of jazz, country, and folk, the smooth sounds of his debut album ring true. Many of the Songs on the album, Stephen explains, are inspired by loves, love affairs, pain, separation, and all the things that go along with loving, losing, and… living. It’s an album composed by an artist who has traveled every inch of the
road; and he doesn’t regret taking it because, for Stephen Farrell, music is his passion. Music is his life. And luckily, for lovers of music, it’s a life that still has so much more to give.