She’s a talent who discovered her own. She’s a self-taught artiste who strives for perfection despite not having a formal training. She is a self-taught guitarist and a singer who has made a name for herself thanks to her talent and YouTube.
Stephanie Sansoni became somewhat of an internet sensation recently after one of her YouTube videos of Sinhala song cover versions such as Saragaye, Daffodil Male, Pathu Pem Pathum, and Oba Hinda Be Mata Me Tharam went viral over several social media platforms.
Speaking to the Weekend Nation on how she started her music journey, Stephanie refers to her debut as quite ‘sudden’. However, music runs in her family as her father and brother are both interested in music.
For Stephanie, it was her brother’s old unused guitar that helped her strike a chord with music, literally. “I took it and tried to play a few chords. My first chords were the G Major and C Major,” she said.
She then used a book of chords given to her by her brother and started learning on her own. “I also browsed the internet and YouTube to learn how to strum a guitar and get the notes right,” she added.
The first song she tried was Taylor Swift’s hit ‘Crazier’. However, Stephanie feels that her guitar playing is ‘pretty mediocre’ as she focuses on singing. “But I’m hoping to practise more,” she says with an air of determination.
Her singing career started when she was schooling at Good Shepherd Convent, Kandy where she was in the choir. “That’s the training I got in singing,” she said.
She also won an all-island singing competition conducted by a religious organization. “That made me take singing quite seriously”, she recalled.
“I don’t believe in going for voice training because I feel that I would lose my originality if I am trained to sing in a particular way.”
Ed Sheeran’s ‘Thinking out loud’ was the first cover she uploaded on her YouTube channel. Though she feels it is inferior, Stephanie has come a long way from where she started as a YouTube artiste.
Today Stephanie has her own YouTube channel and has as many as 8000 subscribers.
Stephanie feels that the current trend of artistes become popular through YouTube uploads and is a boon for music lovers like her who wish to express themselves through song.
“It is a good platform which helps youngsters to exhibit their talents. It actually encourages you to do better every time you make a song. Each day when I do a cover I always think as to how I could make it sound different,” she says.
She’s currently an undergraduate at the Colombo University and balancing studies with her passion. Is she a celebrity at campus? “There have been occasions where students have sung a few songs of my cover and have even played them when I was around. It’s nice. No celebrity status. I don’t want to be that and people know it. It’s just normal stuff,” she laughs.
When asked whether having good-looks helps her in reaching out to the masses, she admits that looks can be an advantage that helps increase the number of views. “I don’t think I’m good-looking, but I’m thankful if I am. But looks do help in getting the views,” she says.
Having done numerous covers, Stephanie now hopes to move forward by creating her own stuff. “I am planning to do some originals. But I would never put them on TV or sing at shows,” she says.
Stephanie says that she is comfortable where she is and on the platform where she exhibits her talents. When asked whether she would change her mind if fame pushes her towards it, she says she would hold her ground. “It’s a no,” she says firmly.
Stephanie says that she had been approached by mainstream artistes to collaborate with them but she had humbly turned down the offers. “I have not sent any videos to any television channels even though some of them had played my cover songs. I prefer to be a YouTube artiste. I like this since I can do what I love,” she says.
Published in the Nation on Jan 28, 2017