Singer-songwriter Stew spins improvisatory songs drawn from his seemingly endless stable of stories and ideas. His musical Passing Strange won a Tony for Best Book in 2008.
Singer/raconteur Stew combines elements of cabaret, soul and subversive pop to create a unique style he's dubbed "Afro-baroque." Frequently likened to Cole Porter and Burt Bacharach, Stew spins songs with hook-filled melodies and taut poetic narratives: "Sophisticated songs that are not likely to be heard on the radio," writes the New Yorker.
He may be underplayed, but he's far from undiscovered. Entertainment Weekly twice awarded him "Album of the Year," and he and his collaborator Heidi Rodewald have been artists-in-residence two years running at the Sundance Theater Lab, developing their musical, Passing Strange, commissioned by New York's Public Theater; the show had an award-winning preview at the Berkeley Repertory Theater in 2006 and played at the Public in 2007 before beginning its current Tony Award-winning Broadway run.
"It's a given that an African-American who fronts a group called the Negro Problem has a well-developed sense of mischief. But it's Stew's lush sense of melody and witty, journalistically detailed lyrics that make his second album ... a true treat for those who care about innovative, thought-provoking lyrics."Entertainment Weekly
“Black men go to Aspen / and rent colorful chalets, / giggle at the questions / their mere presence seems to raise.”
“Some kids I’ll describe as friends / say I am race-obsessed. / The luxury of your opinion / shows that you are blessed.”