We had the good fortune of connecting with Stephen Keown and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Stephen, why did you pursue a creative career?
I was drawn to both video and music production at an early age. My parents were both amazing at providing my brother and I access to gear that allowed us to experiment and understand how it all worked. So when it came time to choosing a career I knew that I had to at least try and find something that filled my “creative” cup before I ended up in a cubicle. Luckily I ended up with an internship with an Atlanta-based video & event production company and I’ve been with them for the past 26 years. I also knew that music needed to be a primary component of my life as well. So once I had my video career path in order, I started playing in several bands in Atlanta and Athens and have kept music as a central part of my life. To have a career that facilitates my desire to grow creatively has been truly rewarding and one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
As I said, for the past 26 years I’ve been a part of the Omega Media Group in Atlanta – which is a firm that focuses on corporate communications via both video and event productions. I’ve produced video & event projects for a wide array of clients – from quick service restaurants to sporting goods to the pulp and paper industry. And for those clients I’ve had to grow my technical knowledge and skill set all these years. I’ve had the ability to travel the U.S. and world for different projects and events – going where my clients need to tell their story or to “wow!” their employees with a large-scale AV event. My career has seen a lot of changes through the years so it has been essential that I continue to grow with the times. When I first started video editing, I was doing it tape to tape. I remember when the first non-linear editing systems hit the market. When DVD’s became the new “hot” service to offer. Now my productions are shared via the cloud and we’re producing live global webcasts for companies. So I’m constantly trying to learn and offer new services to our clients – so that I stay relevant in the world. In doing so, my creative cup continues to be filled. The same is true for music. I’m always trying to grow my arsenal of knowledge – both in recording, production and performing. Over the past year my daughter and I have been producing her music in our home studio (released as Stargurl) which has been amazing to produce music with your child. I’m also working with the Soulhound guys to work on a new release for 2021 and performing twice a month in my neck of the woods with the local Suwanee band the Upside. And in the past month I’ve begun working on original scores for productions – which has been amazing joining my two passions – video & music. In essence, I like looking back on my career in both video and music production and being able to say “I’m glad I learned how to do this new thing because it helps me both offer more to others but also increases my ability to get closer to my true creative spirit.” That’s my advice to offer….keep learning and growing.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
To answer this I’m going to ask Covid to go sit in the corner for a much-needed “timeout.” And although I’m a suburbanite in Sugar Hill, I would definitely spend the weekend downtown. First I’d find a concert in the ATL to go to (God I miss those!). I love the ambience & history of the Tabernacle and the sound at the new Roxy @ the Battery. I would go play some vintage video games at Joystick Gamebar on Edgewood, share some great sushi at 8 Sushi Lounge on Howell Mill, drive around Cabbagetown and the Krog Street Tunnel to check out the amazing graffiti, take in the view @ Ponce City Market roof and go see a great cult classic at the Plaza Theater on Ponce.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My shoutout first goes to my immediate and extended family for instilling in me a love for the arts – my dad banging out Ray Charles’ “What I’d Say” on the piano, my mother’s solo of “O Holy Night” at church, my grandparents desire for my brother and I to play piano and sing for them on Sunday afternoons and my cousins, brother and I making music videos and short films – my family always encouraged my creative spirit. Fast forward to my own children and I’m still inspired by my family – my daughter has an innate gift for songwriting and singing (she records and releases music as Stargurl). And my son has a great love of storytelling and is constantly working on his adventure stories. Both of them have a strong desire in learning how to express themselves creatively and it inspires me to keep doing the same. I’m also forever indebted to Cefus McRae & Heather Durden @ Omega Media Group who are my creative partners and have always challenged me to present my best. Also a shoutout to all the musicians I’ve played with through the years in Atlanta and Athens – all who have taught me the joy of creating music with others. Particularly my mates in Soulhound – who gave me a great opportunity to play and learn from others who share that joy of music.