Below is an extended account about Millicent’s Music journey. For Testimonials see Millicent’s Testimonial Page. For Press and Media articles see Millicent’s ‘Features in Press and Media‘ page’. For a short summary with videos and music for booking Millicent please see her Electronic Press Kit page. If after reading these pages you have would like to know more or book Millicent then please complete the form on Millicent’s Contact page to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0) 7976 279 736.
In short Millicent is an in-demand multi-award winning full time professional Saxophonist. Millicent is also an entrepreneur; songwriter; pianist; vocalist; music director; teacher; mentor; speaker; label owner (Silver Gliss Music); Endorser of Harry Hartmann’s Fiberreed; founder of Cafemnee and Not Just Jazz; Millicent also sits on two Musicians Union Committees. Millicent is a wife and mother of two adult children. Before becoming a leading light in music Millicent lectured in Business and IT.
Millicent’s first musical introduction was at age 8 were she had piano lessons, but due to household finances, her lessons ceased. Her love for music kept her playing at home. It is hard to believe now, but 6 years later, her music teacher refused to let her play the saxophone at school directing her instead to play the clarinet in the School Orchestra and also to play the Steel Pans. The Steel band was the first of its kind in any secondary school in Birmingham. They performed across England and toured West and East Germany. The band played in episode one of the 1978 BBC soap opera ‘Empire Road’. Cast members included Norman Beaton, Corinne Skinner-Carter, Michael Abbensetts, Wayne Laryea, Joseph Marcell and Rudolph Walker. The Steel Band also featured in ATV Production ‘Saints Alive’ and were frequent visitors to BBC Pebble Mill meeting DJs Chris Tarrant, George Franklyn and Guys and Dolls.
All the more remarkable that after leaving School, a couple of years later, that an opportunity presented itself for her to play the Sax. A close friend had a saxophone and needed a sax player for a Church event. As she had clarinet skills she volunteered to play. She borrowed his saxophone played for the event and instantly fell in love with the instrument. Millicent went on to study saxophone, to grade 8 and perform widely to audiences throughout the UK.
It was during a holiday to her Aunt in Los Angeles in 1984 that Millicent found out that her cousin, Angella Christie, was a signed recording Gospel Saxophonist. This propelled Millicent to see if she too could develop her gifting.
Millicent musical interest in her youth also included Choir directing. She was invited to direct a community choir from across Birmingham Churches for the service commemorating Archbishop Desmond Tutu‘s visit to Birmingham. It was here that she met her husband, Michael Stephenson. Millicent also directed the Handsworth Mass Choir that won BBC Choir Award in November 1986.
In her youth Millicent was tutored by the late great Birmingham saxophonist Andy Hamilton (MBE), and she was honoured to be featured in his Central TV documentary ‘Silver Shine‘. Millicent has gone on to follow in his footsteps by teaching and mentoring musicians.
MENTOR & TEACHER
It has not only been about awards, celebrations and bright lights as Millicent actively gives back and mentor those who wish to follow their musical ambitions. In 2018 Millicent was invited to speak at Whiise Con, an international online music conference where successful musicians share their secrets of success, dealing with problems and what they are doing differently.
Noticing the lack of female musicians in Churches and within the music industry, in 2014 Millicent set about creating and delivering a networking and empowering workshops for female musicians and singers called ‘Cafemnee’.
The sessions provide space for women, especially those who are returning to their music, to discuss and engage with the issues surrounding the hurdles they face in their music and at the same time engaging and creating solutions to help them move forward. The sessions also include the opportunity to ‘Jam’ and attend music development workshopsc. The Cafemnee feature in The Voice Newspaper was noticed by BBC1 Songs of Praise who ran a feature about Cafemnee in their March 2017 broadcast.
Millicent also gives training and coaching sessions for men and young people, on the saxophone (Her oldest sax student being 74 years old) and piano. Millicent deliver music industry topics on her through her Podcast ‘Success Beyond The Score’, E-Booklet and online training platform . Millicent is rapidly becoming a voice in the music industry.
Millicent previously served as a member of the Executive Committee of the GMIA (Gospel Music Industry Alliance), a national voluntary organisation addressing the development of the Gospel Music sector in the UK.
In December of 2017 Millicent was elected onto the West Midlands Regional Committee of the Musicians Union where she will be involved with the day to day decision making of the Union and supporting members. Millicent also serves on the Musicians Union Equalities Sub-Committee from 2019 and the Executive Committee from 2020.
Millicent endorses Harry Hartmann’s Fiberreed, a cutting edge high-tech German woodwind reed manufacturer who specialise in creating the reeds combining natural and synthetic fibres. Millicent was invited to be an Endorser by Harry Hartmann (inventor, entrepreneur and saxophonist).
Millicent self-releases her music on her record label ‘Silver Gliss Music’ since 2012. Her first project was an EP called ‘This Is Life’ and then her album ‘Reflective Notes’. Millicent is proud of the fact her EP ‘This is Life’ broke even within 6 months of release and ‘Reflective Notes’ 12 months after release. Millicent’s music is played on BBC Radio as well as local and Internet Radio stations.
Millicent is a featured artiste on the TTM Collective Band Lover’s Rock reggae album ‘Inspirational Love Songs – The Album’ produced by Stuart Green and Gary Dixon. Millicent’s interpretation of ‘Take Me To The King’, written by Kirk Franklyn, was released as a Single in Nov 2018. It was Number 1 in the BIWST Chart in January 2019. ‘Just The Way You Are’ was voted Number 1 Listeners Choice on the Stevie J Stingdem Radio Chart.
Millicent’s strap line is ‘Music for the soul’ as her listeners describe her musical performance as ‘moving’, ‘soothing’, ‘refreshing’ and creating ‘goose pimples’.
NOT JUST JAZZ
Millicent has had many false dawns in her pursuit of excellence in musicianship and in 2014 decided to not wait for a Label to take her forward but to apply her acumen and put on her own show which she named ‘Not Just Jazz’, in the Bar of the Crescent Theatre. To her amazement the Show sold out four weeks before the performance date. Each year since then the show has grown and played to larger audience in the Main House of the Crescent Theatre.
‘Not Just Jazz’ showcases Millicent’s original compositions as well as her interpretation of iconic Jazz, Blues, Reggae, Soul and Gospel numbers with her live Band, backing singers and dancers. Her fans described the night as ‘captivating’, ‘uplifting’ and ‘entertaining’.Millicent featured the National Caribbean Monument Charity in Not Just Jazz III and Not Just Jazz IV. The charity is campaigning for the erection of a memorial in the Staffordshire National Memorial Arboretum in remembrance of Caribbean Military heroes.
Millicent’s professionalism and artistry has led her to being featured in various newspapers, magazines and media internationally. Features include BBC1 Songs of Praise; A-Spire magazine (Dallas); The Voice Newspaper and Gordon West Worldwide Radio Show. For a full list of features with links to articles and recordings please click here
Millicent does session work for Studio recordings and Bands. Her experience started in her twenties when she joined the Highgate Brass Band and the later Monday Session whose lead vocal Treyc Cohen went on to become a live show finalist on X-Factor.
Millicent performs around the UK at Festivals, Concerts, Dinners, Galas, Weddings, Funerals, Corporate events and Church Services. Millicent is regularly booked for prestigious occasions and previous events include:
- Birmingham City Council luncheon for the Governor General of Jamaica: His Excellency, the most honourable Sir Patrick Allen
- Commonwealth Games, The Queen’s Baton Relay, Birmingham
- Birmingham New Street Station
- Cultural Extravaganza in celebration of HRH The Queen’s 90th Birthday
- Birmingham Gems Charity Calendar launch.
- Frankfurt Christmas Market
- Jamaica In The Square II
- ‘Gone But Not Forgotten’, Bikers Ride of Remembrance
- ‘The Story of Jamaican Independence — and why it matters today’ with The Black and Asian Police Association West Midlands Police Headquarters, Lloyd House, Birmingham.
- London Business School, Africa Business Summit
- An evening with June Sarpong MBE (TV Presenter and Broadcaster)
- Annual Private Equity Africa Awards Gala, London.
- Music Video & Screen Awards, Birmingham (MVISA)
- The Rotary Club of Birmingham
- Jamaican Olympic team concert in Symphony Hall where she starred with Jaki Graham, Beverly Knight and Benjamin Zephaniah
- Birmingham Artsfest
- BBC Kidney Kids Appeal, ‘An evening of Inspiration’
- Funeral service of Dr Joanna Skelt (University of Birmingham & City of Birmingham Poet Laureate)
- Birmingham Lord Mayor’s Charity Concert
AWARDS AND QUALIFICATIONS
Millicent is a perpetual student who has not let any hurdle stand in the way of her progress. She attends business courses put on by FEU and Musicians Union as well as making time for private music training to study saxophone, to grade 8 and improve her piano playing and singing. Her application of these skills have helped her to transition her music hobby, prior to 2008, to a successful full-time professional music business in 2012 with a growing fan-base.
Millicent’s list of Awards :
- ‘Just The Way You Are’ Number 1 Listeners Choice, Stevie J Stingdem Radio Chart. 2020.
- ‘Take Me To The King’ Number 1 BIWST Chart, January 2019.
- The Peoples Award, A-spire magazine (Dallas USA) Millicent Stephenson | A-Spire (a-spire.me), 2019
- Role Model of The Year 2018′ finalist for Midlands Business and Community Charity Awards.
- Association of Jamaica Nationals Chairman’s Special Recognition Award 2017, for her contributions to the development of the Jamaican community and other Nationals in the UK and Overseas
- WISE Women and Keep The Faith Magazine Music Award
- Post Graduate Diploma in Counselling, University of Birmingham,
- Certificate in Education, Wolverhampton University.
- BSc Hons in Applied Computing, Manchester Metropolitan University.
- Certificate in Professional Development in Business Planning from Coventry University – Distinction
- ABRSM Grade 8 Saxophone, Grade 5 Piano and Grade 5 Music Theory
- NTCG National Teen Talent Winner, Music Category.
- Advanced Awards, Euphonious School of Music
- Featured in ‘Gender Disparity in UK Jazz’, by Sammy Stein 2020
- Featured in ‘In Their Own Words’ by Sammy Stein with Debbie Burke 2020
- Keynote Speaker ‘Get Business ready’ Music Conference, Sound Connections 2020
- Executive Committee member of the Musicians Union, 2020
- iTunes & SoundCloud Podcaster ‘Success Beyond The Score’ 2019
- Author of ’Revealed – 25 Secrets of the Successful Gigging Musician, Singer, Rapper & Spoken Word Artiste’ Booklet, 2019
- Endorser of Harry Hartmann’s Fiberreed 2019
- ‘Take Me To The King’ single on general rotation on KickFM Radio an international syndicated Radio Station with 6 million listeners
- Speaker at WhiiseCon 2018 (http://www.whiisecon.com))
- Finalist for ‘Role Model of the Year’ Award, Midlands Business & Community Awards 2018
- Musicians Union (Midlands) Regional Committee Member from 2018
- AJN Chairman’s Special Recognition Award 2017
- Featured on BBC1 Songs Of Praise (Sun 5th March 2017 ‘Zebrugge Anniversary’ programme)
- Featured Artist BBC Radio WM ‘Chatback Show’ and ‘Sunday Night With Joe and Nikki’
- Creator, Producer & Artistic Director – ‘Not Just Jazz’ shows
- Executive Producer ‘This Is Life’ and ‘Reflective Notes’
- Journal features in The Voice Newspaper, The Phoenix Newspaper, FEU (Federation Of Entertainment Unions), Keep The Faith Magazine, MOBO Online.
- HM The Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebration, Birmingham Town Hall (2016)
- Creative Director and Founder of Cafemnee (Sept 2014)
- Featured on BBC Introducing (Feb 2014)
- Invited to perform at the Jamaica’s 50th Independence Cultural Extravaganza and Salute to the Jamaica Olympic Athletes Show, Symphony Hall, Birmingham (2012)
- Reception for the Governor General of Jamaica, His Excellency The Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, ON, GCMG, CD of Jamaica (2013)
- Wise Women & Keep the Faith Magazine Music Award 2011
WHERE CAN I FIND MILLICENT?