Patrick Stefan (formerly Paj) announces a brand-new single ‘Anna’, due for release across all major platforms from Friday, 17th September 2021.
Stefan was tipped by the likes of Hot Press, Nialler9, District and BBC’s hugely popular Across The Line programme, who all praised him for his ability to blend international music stylings into one unique, globetrotting sound.
The first single Stefan is releasing under his real name was written about his fateful meeting with the Airbnb host, and the track (which heralds the announcement of his forthcoming album, slated for 2022 release) soars with Stefan’s ethereal vocal—simultaneously grounded by deeply pooled percussion.
Despite its polished production, ‘Anna’ achieves a stunning simplicity. Stefan never steps across the line into over-production. A marimba incorporates the global sound Stefan has become known for on the breathless cut, which embraces vulnerability, prioritises emotion, and is capable of clearing out mental cobwebs.
It took an Ayahuasca retreat for the multi-instrumentalist to truly understand what had been missing in his music. Just before the Coronavirus pandemic swept Ireland, Stefan and his wife took a trip to North Brazil, staying at the home of an artist named Anna. Stefan’s takeaway from the enlightening vacation was that he had been trying too hard to cram his music into outdated and unnecessary labels, and was attempting to tap into an of-the-moment sound that—simply put—wasn’t him anymore.
“We were Anna’s first guests in the Airbnb”, Stefan explains of the track. “And she was undergoing a renaissance in her own life. She was splitting from her husband, seemingly now living to the fullest. Her wisdom and fearlessness were inspiring. Anna treated us like family, and I wrote the marimba part and drumbeat while in her house.”
It was only fitting to name his first track in this newfound headspace after the woman who helped him to realise his potential and accept himself for who he is.
Irish-born, half Dutch singer-songwriter Patrick Stefan would describe himself as a bit of a musical polyglot, having lived and performed in America, Brazil and West Africa, and played with some of Ireland’s leading musicians (including Loah, Fehdah, Uly, and rising R&B star Aby Coulibaly). He even has performance credits alongside Eurovision winner Luisa Sobral, and Irish fiddler Martin Hayes, as part of the award winning band Ensemble Ériu.
After completing his Masters in Global Music & Pedagogy at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, the Berklee College of Music graduate began releasing the bulk of his solo material under his former moniker, Paj. Stefan’s folk/jazz group, Leafzang, also released their eponymous album in 2011.
Collaborating across jazz, R&B, and world music genres in a sideman role, 2018 marked the debut solo release, where he stepped into centre stage as a singer-songwriter under Paj. But Stefan—the son of a “hippie folk singer from Holland”—always resisted the idea of his music being written off as man-with-guitar folk, incorporating elements from as many cultures as possible.