To be honest, in general, I don’t expect to like bands. As a former music executive, I have heard enough bands to know what a good one sounds like, and unfortunately (sometimes painfully), I know what a bad one sounds like. So, when I happened to be at Ruby Lee Restaurant one night as Stee and the Ear Candy Band were setting up, internally, I defaulted to my “grin and bear it” mode, quietly calculating how quickly I could finish eating and leave. To my surprise, this young band of three family members— Stee Colvin, lead vocalist; Malcolm Horne, producer and lead guitar; and Brooke Horne, vocalist, songwriter and booking agent — quickly changed my mind.
It’s difficult to describe Stee and the Ear Candy Band, because they are not easily typecast. Certainly, they play R&B, but they are so much more. “I don’t do the ‘box’ thing,” Colvin said. “I don’t like to stick in one lane of a genre. There is genre-bending to my music.”
And Colvin’s voice is up to the challenge. His “rich, smooth and silky tones,” combined with his strong falsetto and vocal range, give him a unique ability to take well-known songs and reshape them and make them his own. His sounds generate an emotional response in his listeners that makes them eager to take a journey with him.
Being a professional performer is not just what he does, it’s who he is; it’s what motivates and drives him. Consistently performing professionally since 2014, Colvin has been singing for 11 years. He also writes music, and has produced two albums. The unexpected blend of R&B, pop, hip-hop, dubstep and European chillstep give him a sound that is uniquely his own.
“My music is an expression of how I am feeling. And my albums are a mesh of sounds,” he said.
For Colvin, the family business is music. Period. On any given night on Hilton Head Island, members of the Colvin family are performing, either separately or together. Colvin’s parents, Sterlin and Shuvette, have performed locally and around the country, and are well-known for their Motown sounds, Shuvette sultry renditions of old favorites, and Sterlin’s virtuoso piano performances. The family supports each other, and it is not unusual to see Stee Colvin in the audience enjoying his parents’ performance. Often, he joins them onstage to deliver a song or two.
One such impromptu performance occurred at The Jazz Corner. Stee Colvin was in the middle of his meal, not expecting to be called up to the stage to sing, but he responded to his parents’ request and delivered a rousing song to an appreciative audience. However, a surprising thing happened at the end of the song: Sterlin suddenly let his son know that he was not pleased with how Stee ended the song, and said “Come on, I know that I didn’t teach you to sing like that.” Always the son and the student, Stee returned to the mic, corrected his tone and delivered a more passionate and heartfelt conclusion to the song.
Colvin’s sister, Brooke, also has an impressive talent. In addition to providing vocal support for the group, she is also a songwriter, and she inspired him to start singing.
“I sing because Brooke sang when we were young,” he said.
Colvin also has been a professional actor since he was 7, with a list of credits that include the TV shows “Banshee” and “Creative Clubhouse.” But he plans to continue to focus on his craft and expand his vocal range — and adding his personal touch to his music.
“I like the show aspect of performing, even if it’s to a small room,” he said. “When I perform, I make sure that I deliver ‘me’ every time. I want people to walk away like they know me or to feel even better than when they came.”