That Rogue Romeo

Dancer And Choreographer Turns To Singing And Songwriting

"Hush, now that our beds are made, no lyrics left to sing ... is it time to stop and take a bow? Hush hush now, slowly pull the pin ... Will we notice when it's all gone?" -- That Rogue Romeo, "Last Dance"

Romeo, Romeo, where for art thou "That Rogue Romeo"? Well, his name is Kevin Stea and he's right here and now.

Kevin is quite ubiquitous and gets around. You may remember him from Madonna's "Blonde Ambition Tour," where he was not only a back-up dancer, but co-choreographer and dance captain for it as well. He also had a featured role as one of the dancers in the Las Vegas show "Goddess," featuring Cristal Connors, in the camp classic "Showgirls".

Mr. Stea is currently conquring another frontier, one he has always wanted to tackle. At the age of fourty-two, he is pursuing a singing career that combines his love of dance, his visual flair and knowledge of the business, having worked with so many greats in it. It's time for "The Rogue Romeo" Kevin Stea!

MS: I was amazed you put your actual birth year in your bio; most people hide that.

KS: Well, I think I have earned every year of my age. (laughs) Honestly, if people do the math and they start counting back to when I did "Vogue"... I mean, I wasn't ten when I did that. (laughs) It's time people give some credit to older entertainers.

MS: You were raised all over the world, are you an army brat by chance?

KS: People ask me that all the time. My family was more scholastic, actually. My Dad was a professor and he kept changing residences. Also, I constantly wanted better schools so that also lead to my travels as well.

MS: Dancing is what lead to your life's path. How did that come about?

KS: I actually fell into dancing. I was forced to do shows in Singapore as part of my school. They had these arts weeks that you had to participate in. So I did them as fun. Then, when I got to Los Angeles, I started taking dance in college for fun. I eventually ran out of money and heard there was an audition for an agent. I got the agent and got a job the next day. It's not like I always wanted to dance, or tried to dance; it came easy to me, so it was a no brainer.

MS: Obviously it was meant as you ended up getting the postion of co-choreographer and dance captain on Madonna's "Blonde Ambition Tour" a year later.

KS: Totally! (laughs)

MS: You've also worked with David Bowie. I've met him before, is he the coolest guy or what?

KS: He's so sweet. There's a calmness about him that I did not expect.

MS: Being involved in music as a dancer, what made you decided to pursue it as a voclist/performer?

KS: Music started for me when I went on "Star Search" as a dancer. I pursued a singing career with Capitol Records and that didn't pan out, but it started this little spark in the back of my head.

When I went to Italy, however, I did get offered a recording contract. I was singing on live TV and it was going over really well, so they offered me a contract. They gave me the melodies and I wrote the songs because they wanted the lyrics written in English. That was the most satisfying part of the process, writing the songs. I gave up music for a long time after a series of shady deals, the truamatic experiences that happened in Italy.

Recently, when I got injured dancing on tour, I try to look at my injury as a postive thing, not "I'm an old hag" (laughs). So, I thought, "what is that one thing that really made me so happy and joyful"? That was writing my music. I knew I needed to pursue it and follow through with it the way I wanted to twelve years ago, or I would regret it for the rest of my life. I'm going to give it my all for as long as I can.

MS: You are doing it at a time when the music industry has so changed, it's much more difficult.

KS: It is much more difficult, but there is much more opportunity to be myself.

MS: Good point.

KS: Back in the day that was part of my frustration. They had me write lyrics about getting the girl and having this grand old time. (laughs) That's not what I want to sing about, that's not who I am. Now with social media and various outlets I have more power than ever to be myself in the music industry. I want to be myself as an artist, not some random production of a label.

MS: My favorite song by you, which I quoted at the top of the interview, is "Last Dance".

KS: Oh, thank you, that's my favorite, too.

MS: Lyrically and melodically it's great! It also sounds like there is a story behind it.

KS: That's the only song I have wrote the lyrics first for, usually I write the music beforehand. "Last Dance" was actually about my break-up with my ex of ten years. It was really hard playing it for him.

MS: Another favorite of mine is "Machine & Magic". It has a great dance beat.

KS: Cool. I actually did a video to a re-mix of that, Brian Friedman directed it.

MS: Awesome! What's exciting things are coming up that we should know about?

KS: There's a re-mix of my song "Domino" and, hopefully, I will be shooting the video for "Wonderland " in a couple of weeks.

MS: "Machine & Magic" is the name of your album, correct?

KS: Yes, it is.

MS: By the way, do you play any insturments? I'm curious.

KS: Well, I play a little bit of piano and a little bit of drums, but I'm not going to say I will ever play either of them live. (laughs) I work with producers to create the sounds I want, and I usually have to act it out visually for them to get what I am going for. Musicians, being artists themselves, understand what I am saying to them with body language.

MS: There are a few other artists I know who do that, too.

KS: Sometimes you have to, there are things you can't always say with words that you can say with your body and vice versa.

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Michael Shinafelt

Michael Shinafelt has covered pop & dance music since he first burst on to the writing scene, interviewing everyone from pop icon Olivia Newton-John to pop artist E.G. Daily. Not to mention the many dance divas (male and female) who he has crossed paths with. Other interviews of note are Pamela Anderson, Heidi Fleiss, as well as cover stories on Margaret Cho and Kathy Griffin. Peace.