Past the Press Release: An Interview with Stephen Srein

Stephen SreinPast the Press Release is an interview series featuring a new member of a professional Southern Gospel group. It’s a chance to look past the standard “excited to be here” press release comment and learn a little more about them. In this case, the column title is somewhat of a misnomer, because the Inspirations’ official announcement that Stephen Srein is their new lead singer is coming a little later today on Facebook. So watch for that, but meanwhile, let’s get to know Stephen a little better!

Daniel: Which artists were your first exposure to Southern Gospel and sparked a desire to sing it yourself?

Stephen: My very first exposure was the Gaither Vocal Band album I Do Believe. It was given to me by a great friend and helped encourage me through some rough times as a teenager. I then began to be introduced to groups such as The Kingdom Heirs. At a Kingdom Heirs concert, Arthur Rice took about twenty-five minutes to talk to me about singing. It was that conversation that sparked the desire to sing in quartets. (especially the lead part)

Daniel: Have you sung in any groups prior to joining the Inspirations?

Stephen: I sang in some regional groups while I was in college: Sacred Heritage Quartet (with Jon Epley and current Promise tenor T.J. Evans) and also a group called Committed Quartet.

Daniel: Is this solo project yours?

Stephen: Yes, that is my solo album. I am still working with cdbaby on some issues with this link though as far as purchasing Etc…

Daniel: What was your first exposure to the Inspirations?

Stephen: My first exposure was two years ago when I first learned that Jon was with the group. I knew of the Inspirations but had never really listened to any of their music before then.

Daniel: Looking back through their history, what are some of your all-time favorite Inspirations songs and albums/CDs?

Stephen: The I Know record is very strong. Also, the Southern Gospel Treasury Series is one of my favorites.

Daniel: From when I first met you earlier this week, your name sounded quite familiar, and I’ve been trying to place it since. Are you the same Stephen S. we see around here on occasion? 🙂

I have been known to interact occasionally on sgblog. 🙂 I thoroughly enjoy the site and also enjoy interacting with fans of Southern Gospel music.

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34 Letters to the Editor

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  1. Did he mean ‘I Do Believe?’

  2. Welcome, and God bless, Stephen!

  3. I know Steve personally. He’s a great singer and a good man. I first met him in Bible college, and have gotten to sing with him a bit here and there. He’ll be a great addition to the Inspirations.

  4. Sounds like a good fit for the group!

    This may seem a bit strange, but how do you pronounce his last name? I want to make sure it’s correct when I explain to friends who also listen to the Inspirations.

    • Good question! For fun, I’m gonna guess “shrane”

      • Oh, boy…I was told earlier this week, and, in fact, I was trying to recall that earlier this morning. I’m thinking it rhymes with “dine,” but I’ll check.

      • I just checked in with him, and he says: “Srein pronounced Sr-eye-n”

  5. Haha yeah pronouncing my name has been a challenge for most people my whole life! Martin has had a blast with it as you can imagine!
    You were close though Brian!

    • He’s been lovingly called “Shriner” by those close to him. But don’t worry. He’s a Baptist, and not part of any ancient order. At least, not to my knowledge.

      • Baptists don’t count as ancient? Locusts and honeycomb count as recent history? 😛

      • Dave, you promised to never reveal that about me. Lol

  6. I don’t like to think of us as being ancient, but rather current. 😉

    Also, I never thought of Baptist as being an “order.” The word “ancient” was describing an order, which was referencing the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine.

    • Sorry. That was my very super advanced learning child, David Michael Mann V. He sometimes jumps online without permission.

    • Oh, I did know exactly what you meant – I was just giving you a hard time! Sorry for the confusion!

  7. I would really like to understand something about the Inspirations. They’re a great group with a great sound, and have produced some of the most wonderful singers in the industry, but if the following is true, I’m a bit disturbed by it.

    It is my understanding that they have a standing order that no member of their group can wear facial hair. As in, they have to sign a contract stating that they’ll always be freshly shaven when performing or for any photo shoots.

    I just plain don’t get that. If it’s true, it seems awfully random. Like me saying that if anyone wants to join my group and they wear glasses, they must wear contacts for the duration of our shows/photo shoots. I really hope it’s just a presentation thing, and not a perceived moral thing.

    I wear a goatee and have been told by numerous people, including both my children, my wife and my mother (btw, my father is a pastor who has worn a full beard for over twenty years now), that I should never under any circumstances shave it off. The reason is that without it, I look 15 years old (I’m in my mid-thirties). It strikes me as odd that there’s any business that demands no one wear facial hair.

    If I’m out of line, let me know.

    • Josh,
      I don’t think you were out of line. Curiosity should never be condemned.

      I can tell you only my personal experience, and that is that I have not been required to sign a “facial hair contract” but I have been asked not to have any facial hair on stage or in any group photos. (Not a big problem for me since I can’t pull off at look. Haha)

      I can’t speak with 100% accuracy but I am fairly certain it is merely a presentation thing. You might liken it to a company requiring you to where a uniform. Similar to the military which does not allow most forms of facial hair. Just the way we choose to present ourselves.

      I am glad you can grow a goatee though. I am a little jealous. Lol

      • Here’s a vote for no facial hair, matching suits and live music. I applaud the Inspirations for their trademark look and presentation. Best wishes on the new hire!

      • Good to know it’s just a presentation thing. The first time I heard about this was within a discussion on facial hair within gospel groups, and some seemed to have Ed’s attitude below. Many, in fact, most of them, even suggested that just having a beard, of any sort, AT ALL, was un-Christian. Didn’t even matter if you were a performer. Needless to say, I disagreed.

      • I believe it largely dates from a culturally conservative reaction to the hippie culture of the 1960s and 1970s.

        On the other hand, if you ever want a smile, Google what early church father Clement of Alexandria (~150-~215) thought about beards. 🙂 I won’t be controversial and post it here!

  8. Somehow, one of my comments was never posted, making my last one, concerning David Michael Mann V, both irrelevant and confusing.

    • Sorry – because you had typed a different name, WordPress thought it was someone different and held it for moderation! It’s up now.

  9. Wait, I thought Guy Penrod was going to be the new lead singer?!

    • Good one. That definitely made me laugh! 🙂

  10. I’d never thought about it being a reaction to hippie culture, but it makes sense. I do think it’s a bit of an over-reaction; sort of like suggesting that SG performers should only travel in mini-vans, not buses, because modern pop-singers use buses.

    I did look up Clement of Alexandria’s rant. Funny stuff! You and me are covered, though.

    • :clears throat: Actually, at least as we tell the story in SG, we were the first to use buses, and modern pop singers followed. 🙂

  11. Congratulations to Steve Srein. We love to hear the Inspirations sing and have been fans for a few years. Now, without a question, they will be our FAVORITE southern gospel group!!! Steve is a such a talented guy with a Christian attitude to match. The Inspirations scored big when they added Steve and Sharon to their family. Can’t wait until we can hear them for the first time. Inspiration Park…here we come!!

  12. I’m excited to see what Stephen will be bringing to the Inspirations. I had never heard of him until now, but I will be meeting him June 6th at one of their concerts. I’m going to get to interview the group then for my radio show, and I hope to get to know Stephen a bit better.

    • JoshT
      Man I wish I could be there to meet you June 6. I will not be with the group that week. I have some job obligations to fulfill that week. My first official night with the group is June 19 (Memphis Quartet Show)

      Hate that I will miss you! Let me know if there is anything I can do. Look forward to seeing you down the road.

      • Well, it can’t be helped…I’m sure I’ll be seeing you soon though! I try to see the Inspirations as much as possible. They are my favorite group to see live!

      • Will it be Chris Smith filling in that night?

      • Yes I think that is who will be filling in tonight. Have fun!

  13. I am sooooo proud of Steve and very excited about this opportunity that God has given him to use the talent He has blessed him with!! Can’t wait for the opportunity to see him in person with the group. Love you, Son! :>

  14. Here’s a video of Steve doing an awesome job at the Memphis Quartet Show!