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Stephen Salewon is on 'Cloud Nine' in time for Valentine's Day and more Oklahoma music notes with Kyle Reid, Casii Stephan and Parker Millsap

Stephen Salewon [Photo provided]
Stephen Salewon [Photo provided]

Stephen Salewon is on 'Cloud Nine' in time for Valentine's Day

Oklahoma City-based indie pop and blues musician Stephen Salewon has released a romantic new ballad," Cloud Nine," just in time for Valentine's Day. Listen to "Cloud Nine" here.

Salewon was born in Nigeria and lived there until age 13, when he moved to the United States. Living in Oklahoma, Salewon told me in a 2020 interview that he has absorbed an array of musical influences, including red dirt, jazz, pop, red dirt, soul and folk.

He said the radio sounds of Jack Johnson, John Mayer and Coldplay in particular captured his ears once he moved to America.

"I decided the best thing to do was to blend both worlds, with African influences such as Fela Kuti," he said.

Salewon told me he considers himself a romantic, and he has a voice and vibe made for ballads.

"I feel the nature of romance should be a way whereby one has to speak his or her truth, and that truth is coming from the sincerity of past experiences ... and optimism," he said.

"I am a romantic by simply opening my heart."

Learn more about Salewon's music at

Salewon will open a new outdoor live music series Feb. 23 on the patio of The Jones Assembly, 901 W Sheridan. The Film Row hot spot will have local musicians performing from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays through March. Look for details coming soon at

Kyle Reid [Photo provided]
Kyle Reid [Photo provided]

Kyle Reid drops ambient music collection

Norman-based singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Kyle Reid dropped Friday a new ambient music album titled "Sleeping Adrift."

Described by Reid as a "soundscape collection," the five-song album ranges from the sweeping 10-minute title track to the haunting two-minute "Fever Dream."

"Sleeping Adrift" is available on several digital platforms. To listen to samples and find it online, go to

For more information on Kyle Reid, go to

Casii Stephan [Photo provided]
Casii Stephan [Photo provided]

Casii Stephan unveils bright new single 'Here Comes the Light'

Tulsa-based singer-songwriter Casii Stephan showcases her prettily soulful voice on the bright new ballad, “Here Comes The Light." The song is nearly four minutes of instant uplift with Americana-style guitars, '90s pop-rock vibes and unabashedly bold strings and vocal arrangements. Listen to "Here Comes the Light" here.

Originally hailing from Minnesota, Stephan grew up shy and afraid of her voice until she started writing songs on the family piano in South St. Paul when she was 16. In music, she discovered something extraordinary that allowed her to transcend everyday life and find a deeper sense of self. Stephan moved to Tulsa in 2014 intending to give up her pursuit of a music career, but with a little encouragement from a friend, she continued her journey, started releasing music and started garnering fans and critical attention.

She said hope is the theme that underpins her music.

“Its such a cliched word and yet there are so many layers to it. Hope keeps us alive. It keeps us moving. But it also feels flighty some days like a pixie that does what it wants. But it's not a pixie. It's more like the air we breathe. Some days it's presence is stronger than we realize and some days we forget in our day-to-day lives that it's there ... keeping us moving forward," she said in a statement.

Stephan has been performing a weekly live stream web series titled “Coffee with Casii," and three episodes were included as a part of Circle Cinema's "Beyond Film" Sundance Film Festival programming.

Billboard last year premiered Stephan's thought-provoking single "Trapeze Artist," and you can watch the music video, which features fellow Tulsa musicians.

Learn more about Stephan's music at

Parker Millsap gets 'Vulnerable' with new song and video

Acclaimed singer-songwriter and Oklahoma native Parker Millsap has shared his new song and the accompanying video, "Vulnerable."

A funky, psychedelic soul tune that shows off the range of Millsap's voice and songwriting, it's the second song released from his upcoming album "Be Here Instead," due out April 9 via his own Okrahoma Records and Thirty Tigers. "Be Here Instead" is available for pre-order now, and you can check out the first single, "The Real Thing," here.

"The original title of this song was 'Note to Self," Millsap said in a statement. "Over the past few years, I have become more aware of how important it is to be vulnerable. When I let my guard down and let people in, the distinctions between 'I' and 'They' begin to disintegrate. Denying yourself (or others!) the freedom to feel and express your emotions is the root of so much harm."

The music video was directed by Casey Pierce.

"Stylistically, I thought of Jean Luc Godard and his work with 'Anna Karina,'" Pierce said in a statement. "I thought of her connection to the camera as if it were a person and the constant jumping from realism to artificiality. We wanted a razor-thin narrative on which we could hang beautiful images, evoking a film that doesn't exist yet."

The Purcell native's fifth studio LP and first new album in close to three years, "Be Here Instead" is the follow-up to 2018's eclectic and (mostly) electric “Other Arrangements."

"Be Here Instead" is billed as a stylistic shift from the gritty and high-energy folk of the Nashville, Tennessee-based artist’s previous output. Mainly recorded live with Millsap’s full band, the album is called a departure from the guitar-and-notebook-based approach to songwriting that shaped his earlier work. For his new project, he experimented with a variety of musical stylings, from piano to effects pedals to old school drum machines. The latter is a fascination partly inspired by the early-1970s innovations of Sly Stone and fellow Oklahoma native J.J. Cale.

"Be Here Instead" also reportedly finds Millsap shifting away from the character-driven storytelling of his past and toward more introspective songwriting.
“Because the lyrics were appearing seemingly out of nowhere and with no prior intent, some of them started to feel like transmissions from my subconscious, rather than the preconceived linear stories or waking thoughts of my earlier songs,” Millsap said in a statement. “They feel like words I needed to hear from myself and not just things I wanted to say to someone else.

Inspired by Texas singer-songwriters like Townes Van Zandt, Millsap started writing songs on acoustic guitar in his early teens before making his official debut at the age of 19 with 2012’s "Palisade." His self-titled sophomore effort arrived in 2014, followed in 2016 by "The Very Last Day," which reached No. 1 on Billboard’s “Americana/Folk Albums” chart en route to an Americana Music Awards nomination for Album of the Year. All of his albums have resulted in both a growing fan following and widespread critical acclaim, and he has earned a reputation for his stellar live show. 

Millsap has shared stages with the likes of Jason Isbell, Patty Griffin and Lucinda Williams and performed such major festivals as Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits and Newport Folk Fest. One of his 2016 shows in Atlanta alongside fellow singer-songwriter Sarah Jarosz drew raves from Sir Elton John, who declared the performance to be “one of the best concerts I have ever seen … it restored my faith in music.”

For more on Millsap's music, go to

Features Writer Brandy "BAM" McDonnell covers Oklahoma's arts, entertainment and cultural sectors for The Oklahoman and Reach her at, and Please support work by her and her colleagues by subscribing at 


Related Photos
Stephen Salewon [Photo provided]

Stephen Salewon [Photo provided]

<figure><img src="//" alt="Photo - Stephen Salewon [Photo provided]" title="Stephen Salewon [Photo provided]"><figcaption>Stephen Salewon [Photo provided]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//" alt="Photo - Kyle Reid [Photo provided]" title="Kyle Reid [Photo provided]"><figcaption>Kyle Reid [Photo provided]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//" alt="Photo - Casii Stephan [Photo provided]" title="Casii Stephan [Photo provided]"><figcaption>Casii Stephan [Photo provided]</figcaption></figure>
Brandy McDonnell

Brandy McDonnell, also known by her initials BAM, writes stories and reviews on movies, music, the arts and other aspects of entertainment. She is NewsOK’s top blogger: Her 4-year-old entertainment news blog, BAM’s Blog, has notched more than 1... Read more ›