Casii Stephan Records “A Song For You” at The Church Studio


Casii Stephan, a soul pop/rock artist originally from Minnesota and now based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is known for her emotive vocals and intricate melodies. Casii’s music, often compared to artists like Florence Welch and Fiona Apple, is characterized by its theme of hope. Her success includes multiple awards and recognition in the music industry, and she has been featured in prominent publications. Notably, she recorded her rendition of “A Song For You” by Leon Russell at Leon’s iconic recording studio, “The Church Studio,” and she shared with the team more about the project and her experience at the studio:


1. What was it like to sing Leon Russell’s “A Song For You” in his studio? Did you feel any pressure or inspiration from the Studio’s history and legacy? 

The song itself carries weight, both due to Leon’s arrangement and the fact that covering his song in the studio he established demands a high level of excellence. Fortunately, I’m thankful that we left with a take that everyone recognized as the one.

2. How would you describe your overall recording experience at The Church Studio?

The recording experience at The Church Studio was truly pleasant. Gary, who served as our host and engineer, was not only a seasoned professional but also incredibly calm and kind. His presence made the entire session more relaxed, allowing us to fully focus on the music and the moment.

3. The lyrics of “A Song for You” are quite powerful and emotional. Why did you choose to record that song, and what makes the lyrics of the song meaningful to you?

The choice to record “A Song for You” was driven by its profound emotional depth and powerful lyrics. This song has to be one of the greatest love songs ever written. Its emotional resonance is similar to Elton John’s “Your Song,” which was released in close proximity. What I find moving about Leon’s song is its raw vulnerability and unapologetic honesty, portraying the idea of someone seeing your best qualities and believing in you despite your imperfections. It celebrates the simple act of being with that special person, a testament to the purity of love that, in my opinion, is unparalleled.

4. You had a film crew document your performance of the song. Can you tell us more about the video and the concept behind it? What was the creative process like for the video?

I’ve worked with Bobby Ross more than a few times now, so we have a good rapport with each other. In my mind, I envisioned a serene setting with neutral colors, depicting the song’s essence as it’s sung on a peaceful Sunday morning while sipping coffee, emphasizing the stillness of deep, unwavering love. I communicated to Bobby that I wanted an intimate and neutral atmosphere, minimizing visual distractions to let the song shine.

Casii Playing The Church Studio’s Yamaha C7

5. When and how did you first discover Leon Russell’s music? What is it about his work that inspires you as an artist?

I discovered his music through “A Song For You.” I was learning the song for a wedding and was struck by the unique chromatic third intro he used, which was quite unexpected. Leon has a way of thinking outside the box, and he also arranged Tina Turner’s “River Deep, Mountain High” with an amazing yet unconventional hook. His ability to challenge expectations resonates with me as an artist.

6. What message or feeling do you hope to convey to your listeners through your rendition of this classic song?

I hope to convey the importance of cherishing the love you currently possess, as we can never predict how many more moments are left. This song has a bittersweet quality, emphasizing living in the moment while acknowledging that things change.

7. Are there any other songs that inspire you that you would like to record in the future?

I’ve been toying with a rootsy rendition of “War Pigs,” which I find quite intriguing. However, at the moment, I’m feeling quite content with where I am at.

8. What advice would you give to someone new to studio recording, and what, in your opinion, leads to a successful studio session?

For those new to studio recording, my advice is to focus on practice and preparation. Know the song and your parts, but also stay open to the moment’s flow and let your emotions come through. It’s common to get stuck in your head initially, but with familiarity comes the ability to infuse emotion. And when you’re working with the right team, the studio sessions can be a fun and collaborative experience.

Casii’s rendition of “A Song For You” will be out on November 14th. To be among the first to enjoy it, you can pre-save the track on Spotify using this link:

The Church Studio

The Church Studio

The historic church was turned into a recording studio and home office to Shelter Records in 1972. Under Leon Russell's leadership, the stone structure served as a creative workshop for songwriters, musicians, engineers, and singers to collaborate, learn, and inspire.

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