Beauty & The Beat: Steph Lecor On Her Unique Sound, Downside To ‘LHHMIA’ & Female Rap Unity
There’s plenty to be learned about Steph Lecor. From the outside, it’s easy to label the Miami native as a singer looking to flood her discography with party jams. There’s also her casting on Love & Hip Hop: Miami. While having an ample amount of experience in the music industry (her father led a Haitian band, she’s also a DJ Khaled signee), she seemed to be etched as a middle man to rivals Amara La Negra and Veronica Vega. Her underdog qualities have only grown her fan base and a curiosity to just who is Steph Lecor.
We get a sense of this during her VIBE office visit. With her signature paled turquoise hair, Steph is cool, calm and collected. Her energy is balanced and just as warm as her velvety fur coat. We share a few laughs about how her name came to be. In an effort to be taken seriously as an artist, Steph did away with the premise of going by “Stephie Lecor” after parting aways with male-dominated dance group Kulture Shock. The group’s choice to immortalize the turn up and praise of drugs only forced her moonwalk right out the situation.
“It was terrible, it was absolutely terrible,” she said. “It was different because I was used to being a solo artist but I thought, ‘Let me try this thing out.’ We talked a lot about drugs and sex and I was like, ‘I wanna talk about love. What about these other things?’ and they were never on it.”
When you’re in a group or any situation where there’s more men than women, it’s like your voice doesn’t always count.
In the end, the decision to part ways worked out for everyone. She’s still on good terms with the guys and her next move lead her to a working relationship with Asahd’s father, DJ Khaled.
Her solo jam “Saturday” caught Khaled’s attention as well as her edgy look. As the only woman on Khaled’s We The Best Imprint, Steph isn’t trying to be the next queen of Miami. Her music is broad as it jumps from trap feels (“Saturday”) to braggadocios chords (“Face.”) But it’s also reminiscent to bold risky collaboration choices like Azealia Banks, Nitty Scott and Princess Nokia have made in their music journeys. It’s also gained her a co-sign from the Queen of Miami herself, Trina.
“I was in awe of my cast members, like first of all Trina,” she said. “Being from Miami, I’ve grown up watching Trina, like have you ever looked in her eyes? Her eyes are just always sparkly, I don’t know what it is but, to be surrounded by a really strong cast of women was inspiring.”
In addition to finding inspiration in the baddest bih, Steph has also be in awe of other legends like Chaka Khan. Her new music also has her head-to-head with big name collaborations that provide plenty of grooves to our spring break playlists.
Get a dose of more pleasant surprises from Steph in the interview below.
Let’s talk about music. If you kind of had to describe your sound what would you say?
Steph Lecor: That’s a hard question for me. I come from Miami where there’s a melting pot of sounds. My music sounds like ADD. It depends on my mood, one day it’s this, the next it’s this. I know I’ll play some stuff for you and you’ll see what I mean. Aside from my voice, I don’t think it sounds the same.
I get that. I heard “Saturday,” “Face” and the track with Trina. They’re all different. You mentioned being in a group, but when did you first get started in music?
My dad was in a Haitian band growing up so at like 3-years-old it was him and my uncles, so I was always surrounded by music. But for my first professional job, I had really bad stage fright so I said, ‘Let me start out by singing back up.’
I auditioned to sing back up for Ky-Mani Marley for the Van Halen reunion tour. I went from being afraid to singing for a few people in a room to singing to 20,000 people in stadiums. I actually turned it down when I first got it because I was so scared. But when I decided to do it, I had no practice, no rehearsal and I had to learn everything the day I got there.
Wow, so how did you end up working with Khaled?
My manager and Khaled are really good friends. My manager played him “Saturday” and Khaled was like, ‘Yo, I gotta meet her,’ and he didn’t even warn me. So I get to the studio, walk in and I didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t know if he was going to be that big personality for real or if he’s really chill. I walk and he goes, ‘She’s here, she’s beautiful. Ace Hood, tell her she’s beautiful!”
He liked the song and we had a really great conversation. We’re really like-minded and he took his chain around his neck and put it on mine and says, ‘That’s it. You’re with We the Best now. Your energy and everything about you is lit and you’re beautiful’ and I was like, ‘Thanks!’
How is it bouncing ideas off of and/or working with men in the industry?
I’ve been in the industry for more than 13 years now. I’ve learned how to flow with the men in the industry, and if you’re labeled with the term “bi**h” because you’re particular about your sound, then so be it. That’s what the f**k I am then. I’ll be a bi**h for this record. Let’s get it done, let’s get it poppin. But then also, since I’ve been with my same team for so long, there’s a mutual respect because we genuinely love each other.
But at the same time, it depends on the guy and the person, but as a woman just f**k that. Sorry for the cursing.
We’re not apologizing for knowing what we want anymore. We’re not being cute about it or dance around my own feelings. We don’t have time for that, not anymore.
Especially now. We’ve seen over last year how women are making men accountable for their outlandish actions behind Hollywood’s doors. Do you think if something like this were to happen in the hip hop community, will anyone give that person the time of day?
I think the hip-hop industry is different. I’m sure it’s happened and I’m sure it’s happening now. As a girl in this industry, guys have tried it. When I was younger, I was alone in the studio once and this man came in grabbed my ass. I was obviously uncomfortable, so I left and never went back to that studio again. This is actually the first time I’ve said it out loud honestly.
I was thinking about Kesha recently and I felt bad that she went through the Dr. Luke incident. She didn’t have the support of the music industry at the time because she went up against the biggest name in the industry. She was years ahead of the the #MeToo movement. Had she done it now, it would be a whole different situation.
Right, but it seemed like there was some bit of female camaraderie on Love and Hip Hop Miami. What did you learn from being the first season?
I was surprised at how things are done on reality TV. If I did learn anything, it was that you can’t control everything. I was very cautious of what I said and how I said it. Even then, it can still be portrayed in a different way. I learned there’s going to be backlash and people and going to come for you. No matter what, haters are going to hate. I never experienced anything like it, I think its preparing me for something bigger.
Do you think you’ll do it again?
Stay tuned [Laughs].
You said you learned how to navigate, but were you inspired musically by this experience?
I wasn’t inspired musically by this experience, but I was in awe of Trina and being surrounded by a cast of really strong women. Seeing everyone’s struggles and what they’re going through was inspiring. Everyone on that cast are very talented musicians. Veronica [Vega] has some heat she’s dropping, Bobby is LIT, I tell him all the time like, ‘When are you writing for me?’ Amara has the dopest Latin songs, and of course Trina and Trick are Trina and Trick. Miami Tip is dope too, her Trina and I have a song together.
I like that there’s women on here pushing for the music and less of the drama.
You know, we always thought it was only space for one. That narrative is long gone. It’s good to see that we’re all with the sh*ts.