Stephanie Greaves takes centre stage

Victoria songstress is fueled by the music

  • Dec. 18, 2019 7:30 a.m.

– Story by Sean McIntyre Photography by Lia Crowe

Victoria songstress Stephanie Greaves won’t ever forget her first live stage appearance, and not only because she stole the show: she nearly became the subject of a missing persons investigation.

She and her parents were visiting family in England when they spontaneously popped in to watch a local talent competition in Great Yarmouth, where Stephanie soon vanished amid the crowd. By the time worry had set in for her parents, the curtain lifted to reveal their missing six-year-old daughter all alone on stage singing Raffi’s Mr. Golden Sun. Once the applause subsided and the show came to an end, the host announced that Stephanie had won the event’s grand prize: a bottle of champagne.

Because they hadn’t anticipated the competition’s under-age winner, organizers scurried to come up with a more age-appropriate prize. Stephanie walked away with a “Milk does a body good” T-shirt and a one-week, all-expenses-paid stay at a holiday resort.

Even at age six, Stephanie was living on a healthy diet of the classics. She recalls a childhood household in which music was paramount. Songs by ABBA, Willie Nelson, The Carpenters and Frank Sinatra and a dose of classical music floated within the walls of her home in Toronto. She never doubted her love of song and the power of her voice. Stage fright was not a concern; Stephanie was never shy.

“I’ve never had that problem,” she says. “Mum and Dad always sang. I was literally raised on the good old music and didn’t wait long to make an impression whenever we were entertaining or at a social event.”

Stephanie’s penchant for song has helped her see and perform all over the world. With an untiring commitment to her craft, she’s become a household name at public events and private functions across Victoria and Vancouver Island. Be it at intimate solo shows, dinner theatre at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel, or singing Canada’s national anthem for international dignitaries or tens of thousands of cheering Vancouver Canucks and BC Lions fans, Stephanie displays the versatility and grace of a natural performer.

Stephanie spent 18 years as lead vocalist for The Naden Band of the Royal Canadian Navy. She was the only civilian among the band’s 35 musicians who travelled the world to support the Royal Canadian Navy at ceremonial events and public outreach initiatives. The band is a regular feature at Remembrance Day celebrations, the opening of British Columbia’s Provincial Legislature and during official visits from heads of state. Her years with Naden gave her the chance to work alongside greats such as the Victoria Symphony, while introducing her to the Salvation Army, an organization with which she remains very active on a fundraising level.

When a change in the band’s music director took place in 2016, it seemed like the perfect time to close the book on one chapter of her life. Faced with an unforeseen career setback, Stephanie could have been forgiven if she’d begun to worry. But she never had time to second-guess herself. Almost immediately, she discovered that she was in high demand. No longer committed to her previous band’s rigourous and unpredictable schedule, she had the freedom to set her own timetable, select her own gigs and explore new avenues for her music.

“Since that happened, I’ve never been busier,” she says.

Stephanie’s years of experience and natural command of the stage have earned her the honour of collaborating with many local musicians and hosting popular events such as the historic Oak Bay Tea Party. Her busy performance schedule and a full-time job have placed her in an enviable position of being able to say “no” when it comes to booking gigs, she says.

Stephanie has been a long-time proponent of fair wages for musicians. As is the case with so many artistic pursuits, music often places performers in a perpetual clash between following their art and coping with financial realities. Grabbing a low-paying gig for exposure and a free meal might seem harmless, but it lowers the bar, driving down the value of live music and forcing entertainers to look elsewhere to cover their expenses — and ultimately meaning they spend less time playing and practicing their craft.

Though her musical calendar is filled with private events of all sizes, Stephanie still makes time for public shows in and around Victoria. One such venue is at The Oaks Restaurant in Oak Bay, where she and her music director, pianist and great friend Darcy Phillips entertain patrons with live music on the second Friday of every month. Stephanie loves the venue’s living-room ambience. It offers an intimate venue where she can take patrons on a two-hour musical journey through song.

Anyone who has seen her perform will know that, in addition to a powerful voice of her own, Stephanie excels at impersonations. She brings well-known works to the small stage, where people can close their eyes and imagine they’re seated before some of the planet’s most famous divas and chanteuses. A standout is Stephanie’s version of the national anthem performed in a style that combines the voices of Cher, Edith Piaf, Celine Dion, Barbra Streisand and Adele. Another is the title track from 2018’s A Star is Born, featuring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper.

“It’s all music that is relatable,” she says. “It doesn’t matter what age you are, whether you’re a six-year-old child or an 85-year-old man, these songs are relatable. That’s what fuels me; music is what fuels me.”

Stephanie Greaves and Friends performed their annual Christmas Show from December 5 to 8, 2019 at the Blue Bridge Theatre at The Roxy, where she’s looking forward to sharing the stage and doing what she does best, making music with a local tenor.

You can follow her on Twitter here.

Story courtesy of Boulevard Magazine, a Black Press Media publication

Like Boulevard Magazine on Facebook and follow them on Instagram

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

CHARTS: Home-building down in 2019 in Abbotsford, but still historically high

2019 saw construction wrap up on 1,000 homes, the second-highest total on record

Suspected car thief beanbagged by Abbotsford police for resisting arrest

‘It doesn’t break the skin usually, but it hurts so much you might as well be shot’

5 to 10 cm of snow still coming to Fraser Valley: Environment Canada

Hard to say when the freezing rain will turn to regular rainfall, Environment Canada says

Abbotsford bank ATM robbery thwarted by woman standing her ground

Police arrest alleged known robber running down South Fraser wearing balaclava

Teen accused in Abbotsford attack on 85-year-old convicted of firearms offence

Brandon Janveaux found in vehicle in Chilliwack with .22-calibre rifle down his pants

VIDEO: Cold snap brings ideal conditions for Okanagan icewine

Take an inside look at how icewine is made

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Fraser Valley motorist drives up vehicle ramp and onto parked trailer on Chilliwack road

The incident happened after Chilliwack was handed another dump of snow Friday night

Canada Post driver in hospital after ice smashes windshield at Massey Tunnel

Incident happened on Richmond side of the Massey Tunnel

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Calls for dialogue as Coastal GasLink pipeline polarizes some in northern B.C.

Coastal GasLink is building the 670-kilometre pipeline from British Columbia’s northeast to Kitimat on the coast

VIDEO: Newbie Vancouver Giants leads victory over Victoria 4-1 Friday

The G-Men play Saturday in Victoria before hosting Kamloops on home ice in Langley Sunday afternoon

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Most Read