Family & Youth History
The youngest son of four children, Stephens grew up with his parents in a close-knit household learning music at an early age from his self-educated father. Licensed in naprapathy but unable to practice in the unequal south of the 50’s, Leon Stephens Sr. passed down the values of learning, hard work, and the love of playing a good melody. It didn’t hurt that Stephens also inherited his talent as a musician whose piano playing helped financially support their family. The older Stephens supported 50’s national acts he grew up with in Ft. Worth like Ornette Coleman, King Curtis, & Cornell (CL) Dupree. It’s no surprise then that by his early teens Stephens was an expert saxophonist who never forgot to follow to his father’s advice - “know every instrument that supports an ensemble”. Anthony was the lead in his high school band, but also juggled playing in nightclubs across town alongside his brother and childhood friends. He also rose eventually to Music Director for the Dallas based group the “Masqueraders”, most recently seen on America’s Got Talent. Following an untimely loss of his mother when barely past his teens, Stephens found resolve from pain by searching for a new home to continue working towards his dreams.
National Tours and Light in the Dark
Going into his early 20’s Anthony’s artist resume included years of experience touring alongside Johnny Taylor, Tyrone Davis and a bevy of well-known 70’s & 80’s soul acts. As a writer, he’d earned his chops creating for popular groups like The Dells. In 1983 “Tony” as he was known by those close to him was experiencing a collision of emotions. The birth of his son coupled with losing his father and the temporary disbandment of his group, The Source, was inspiration for his first hit song, “You’ve Got the Love”. Looking to capitalize on its momentum, but with three children now, Stephens passed over relocation to LA to avoid upheaval of family life in the 90’s – instead starting over in the Windy City of Chicago. While success from the hit should have surely catapulted Tony’s career, a string of bad luck with dishonest dealings forced him to leave the active industry for a store manager job to support his by then family of five.
Even in hell there’s heaven and Anthony continued to work hard on his music at night while managing the department of a retail health food giant in the day.
Rebuilding With The Machine
Originally recorded with Candi Station & The Source, many popular artists including Joss Stone have remixed versions of the original soul track. In 2009 a new European act hit the world airwaves with sweeping success that rejuvenated Stephens’ life in the industry. Florence + The machine won British Song of the year for their rendition of Stephen’s 80’s hit, You’ve Got the Love. Stephens is currently working to deliver new projects and pair new tales from the heart with voices to sing the story.
You’ve Got the Love can be heard on network shows like “America’s Got Talent”, “X-Factor” and cable's “Sex and The City” as well as popular movie scores like “Layer Cake” and “Youth”. It has generated over 22 million units in sales. Stephens has raised a successful group of now adult children, putting three of them through college with profit from the one song with a journey that began over 30 years ago. The bouncing baby boy behind the original writing is now his drummer/percussionist. In his mid-60’s, any time not spent running his music business is dedicated to being a proud grandfather to 5 grandchildren. Anthony has always embraced a clean and wholistic lifestyle. A stickler for maintaining good health, he keeps a strict dietary regiment, has always said no to alcohol, and gets out daily for a bike trip through the neighborhood