Country singer Stefani Rose started to sing even before she started to talk. Her first audience were her dolls, and later they got replaced by people from her dad’s diving club, people in the Serbian church in Arizona, children in a theater, beauty pageants and commercials.
Stefani Rose was born in Las Vegas. She moved to Palm Springs in California, but later to New York so that she could attend the Yale University. At the same time she was writing her own music, singing, performing and learning from country legends – Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson.
Her passion towards songwriting and music has helped her when she felt the most helpless in her life – when she learned that her one-year old son has epilepsy. During those hard days she found, with the help of music, people who had similar experiences and started to talk about that which other people were afraid to talk about. She started raising awareness and teaching people about this disease, and her first album ‘Reaching Out’ was accepted as the anthem for the fight against epilepsy. All the revenue from that song went to the Epilepsy Foundation which raises awareness about this disease.
- Few years ago I was depressed. I felt that the burden of life was too heavy for me to bear. My one-year old son was diagnosed with epilepsy, my two year old daughter was allergic to everything, my husband had lost his job, and I was thinking that I’m losing my mind. Before that I had left my job so that I could stay home and take care of my family, and now I felt that I had let them down.
That terrible feeling of powerlessness had reminded her of a time when an unknown robber assaulted her so that he could rape and kill her as the police had explained to her. The trauma was severe, and Stephanie fought against it by ‘locking the event in a dark box’ somewhere deep in herself and losing the ‘key’. She didn’t want to talk about it, and she asked her friends and family not to mention the event. On the surface everything looked normal, but Stephanie was still helpless deep down. She escaped the memories by taking sleeping pills and antidepressants. And then in 2006. she got married. She stopped taking the pills and started to live healthy, especially when she got pregnant. And everything was perfect until the 27 minute long epileptic attack that her son had in 2011. The doctors had no explanation why that was happening and were asking her if someone in her family had epilepsy. At the same time Stefani’s trauma had returned, and the robber from her past started to haunt her in her dreams. Everything seemed lost until the moment that her mom had called her and told her that she had gotten the documents which show that her brother, Stephanie’s uncle, also had epilepsy.
- That was the message that I was longing for so long. It inspired me to talk about the things I’ve been going through. I started to write songs again, to run, to go to a therapist, read books about health and nutrition, to lost weight and to finally get a grip on my life. I found new strength in myself: I could finally talk free about the robber from my past and the disease of my son. I also started to sing songs that I had written for my friends, but haven’t had the courage to record them. I want inspire other people.
Two years after that, Stefani recorded an album in Nashville, th
e capital of country music in America. Her new song ‘Crazy in my blood’ came out in 2012.
- I realized that the power to change our lives is in ourselves. Maybe we will do it on our own, but if we try to reach out to the world, someone will answer. Maybe it will take some time, maybe we will hear our own echo, but we will hear an answer.
Stefani says that it’s incredible to see the reactions and the letters that she had gotten from people when they heard her song ‘Reaching out’ or when they read about her experiences.
- I replied to every letter very seriously, because everyone deserves my answer. We find similarities in our experiences – whether they are about epilepsy or about our life experience or about our happiness.
Many people are grateful that she stepped out to talk about a disease that many people usually don’t want to talk about.
- I had gotten letters from fans that had lost their loved ones to epilepsy and who had found new strength by listening to my song. No one has to be alone or to have a lack of information. I found the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Los Angeles and have finally started to control my son’s disease and my own life. At the same time I started to write about my newfound strength that had changed my life. I’m grateful for that and I try to give back as much as I can.