A natural at crafting comforting, acoustic-based folk songs, indie songwriter Shannon Stephens started her career in the '90s while she attended Hope College in Michigan. After getting her feet wet as the leader of Marzuki -- a folky group whose members included Matt Haseltine, Jamie Kempkers, and a young Sufjan Stevens -- she began pursuing a solo career in 1999, with her former bandmates all launching their own projects as well. While Stevens made his solo debut with 2000's Sun Came -- the first album in his long, illustrious discography of chamber pop records -- Stephens finished Shannon Stephens, her self-titled debut. The album was largely ignored upon its release, however.
As Sufjan Stevens became a household name in the indie community, Shannon Stephens became a wife and a mother in Seattle, and she left music far behind for the majority of the decade. Her music wasn't forgotten, though; Paste Magazine championed her solo debut in a blog post entitled Five Amazing Albums in My iTunes You've Never Heard Of, and Bonnie "Prince" Billy covered one of her songs on his 2008 album Lie Down in the Light. The following year, Stephens re-emerged from the Seattle underground to release her second album, The Breadwinner, on Stevens' own label, Asthmatic Kitty. One year after that, Asthmatic Kitty reissued her long-lost debut album, this time to a more appreciative audience. Stephens' third studio outing, Pull It Together, arrived in 2012 and featured a duet with Bonnie "Prince" Billy. ~ Jason Lymangrover, Rovi