From his home studio in Edinburg, Joe Steven composed an instrumental soundtrack he hopes will take listeners on an intergalactic expedition.
Steven’s inspiration for the 10-song album, “Starman: Mission to Mars” sparked on the day he visited the SpaceX Launch Facility in Boca Chica for the first time on an October day in 2019. He’s always had an affinity for space saying he spent a lot of time as a child stargazing, so seeing the Starship MK1 was a special moment for him.
Being in the presence of a spacecraft which would one day leave the Earth’s orbit and peruse the cosmos, pass by several stars and touch ground on a different planet left Steven stunned. During the hour-and-a-half drive home from SpaceX, he realized there was no other way he could process his experience than to compose music.
“Seeing the actual spaceship itself really pushed me to want to create something timeless and extraordinary, something that could match the experience I felt that day,” said Steven. “And seeing it in person was not the only inspiring part, but also looking forward to the next five to 10 years, knowing that what I am seeing in front of me is going to be very well advancing human spaceflight and sending people to the Moon and Mars.”
The album is set to be released on January 1, 2021 through JoeSteven.com.
An alumnus of Edinburgn’s J. Economedes High School, Steven played as a trumpet player for both the school’s band and symphony orchestra. The 29-year-old also plays several other instruments, including the guitar, piano, bass guitar and French horn.
The soundtrack’s songs range from dreamy and playful strings and bells, to robust and extravagant trumpets and horns — all of which detail a stage of a an astronaut’s journey to Mars.
Steven said the album’s third track “Mission Control” is about the morning of the space launch at Boca Chica, which leads up to lift off in the fourth song, “Starship Launch.” The album’s journey concludes when the astronauts land on Mars in the ninth track, “Star Man,” and they plant an American flag on the planet on the tenth song, “A New Home.”
“It’s like you are traveling on this journey as you are listening through this entire album,” said Steven, who graduated from the University of Texas Pan American, now UTRGV, with a degree in marketing. “My goal is to tell a compelling story through my composition that evokes powerful emotions in people.”
The recording artist and composer who founded Sunset Records, an independent record label, said he not only wanted the album to be something listeners could hum to, but he wanted to create something completely instrumental so that anyone anywhere could join the space expedition.
“I just want people to feel a sense of solace and adventure when they listen to the album,” he said. “And it’s also about creating high-quality music that people can listen to and enjoy no matter where they are in the world. I wanted this album to have the characteristic qualities that emulate that wonder in people’s lives, and especially give them inspiration during the difficult times we are facing right now.”
Steven is referring to the COVID-19 pandemic which has had a grip on the community for nearly a year now. Not only has it barred him from performing to live audiences, but it changed the way he collaborated with other musicians to compose the soundtrack.
Most of the album was produced by Steven, but some songs feature world-class artists, including French violinist Esther Abrami in “Starlight,” French classical guitarist Alexandra Whittingham in “Boca Chica,” and Hollywood cellist Michelle Pacman in “Moon Waltz.”
“I am incredibly proud to be from the Valley, and I know there’s a lot of amazingly talented artists and musicians who are just as creative in nature here,” he said. “I can’t be more happier to be doing what I’m doing… I’m really excited for what the future holds for us and I know these are difficult times but we can take this as a challenge to inspire others.”