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Stephen Balcos and SkyLimit to Endow Whiskey’s with Electronic Music
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Stephen Balcos’ dream is to produce and perform music around the globe.
 
 
Thursday, December 17, 2020
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

Stephen Balcos was 11 when he heard electronic music on the radio. Fascinated by the mix of digital instruments and circuitry-based music, he began to delve into it.

He began picking out musical tunes he heard in his head on the family piano. Then he began strumming out tunes by trial and error on a guitar.

“He was picking out amazing tunes without having had a music lesson,” said his mother Margie Balcos. “He taught himself music, just as he taught himself computers when he was 12. And he is absolutely passionate about the music he makes.”

Balcos, a former running back for Wood River High School, has made good with his music. He’s signed multiple songs to multiple record labels, the first one in 2016. His songs are played on radio in foreign countries, earning him good feedback from Grammy-winning producer DJ Swivel. He’s been a featured vocalist on other people’s songs, working with producers all over the world.

And “Come Home,” his first music video, came out this week—an exuberant young Stephen singing and dancing on the Bow Bridge in Hailey.

Now, on Friday, he will stage a live Skylimit Live performance at 10 p.m. at Whiskey Jacques in Ketchum. Admission is free; doors open at 9. He’ll perform his own music the first half of the program and some of his favorites composed by others the second half, all set to a visual backdrop on a screen.

“I’m looking forward to it. It’s the first concert I’ve done since COVID started,” said Stephen, who counts Owl City, the French musician Madeon and American DJ Porter Robinson among his influences. “It’ll be an hour-long show to show off what I can do.”

Stephen Balcos would seem to be an electronic music prodigy with a good ear for selecting every note and every instrument, then laying it down.

When his sister was living in England, she shared the music Stephen—then 13— created with some music producers. Not only did they give him a song to remake, but they invited him to England.

“The kind of music he does is very popular there—they absolutely love his music,” said Margie Balcos. “He puts things on SoundCloud (a German music sharing website), and the world gets a whole lot smaller.  But 13 years old and living in England? No way!”

Stephen Balcos, who works as a sound mixer for Dark to Light Productions, starts his compositions by writing chords. He plunks out a tune on an electronic keyboard, lays electronic guitar and drums over it and employs the computer for the final touches to his compositions. More recently he began adding vocals.

“I fell in love with music because I thought it was so cool that it was something new,” he said. “It’s tough to write, though, because of the creative energy it demands.”

Balcos performed at the WRHS senior bash when he was 17, surprising his fellow students with a spectacular performance. And he had just started performing live earlier this year, opening for SkiiTour out of Whistler, B.C., in early March 2020 when the pandemic shut everything down, darkening stages across the country.

 “It was hard to have to pull back just as things were starting to take off,” he said. “But it gave me plenty of time to address the creative side. Now, I’m really looking forward to performing again.”

To hear Stephen Balcos’ new music video, go to https://soundcloud.com/skylimit-official. See a teaser at

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9-q9RF66MM

 

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