It might be surprising that the Oscar and Grammy nominated gentleman behind
massive inescapable hits for Miley Cyrus, The Weeknd, and Celine Dion is a classically
trained impresario. However, for producer, songwriter, composer and musician STEPHAN MOCCIO, bringing a timeless aesthetic into the modern musical landscape comes
“I love to show people that great melodies and lush harmonies can exist on the radio
and in film,” he says. “I’ve lived on both sides of the medium. I’ve been studying
classical music my whole life, and I try to inject that into pop. It comes out of my fingers
when I sit at the piano.”
Stephan’s musical journey started while growing up in Niagara Falls, Canada. Born to a
long line of pianists, he picked up the instrument at just three-years-old. Fascinated by
Tchaikovsky, Mozart, and Chopin as well as the tunes he’d hear on American radio
stations buzzing past the border, his diverse perspective took shape early on. During his
senior year at University of Western Ontario, Stephan sent a demo to one of his idols,
David Foster, on a whim.
“He called me back from L.A.,” recalls Stephan. “He said, ‘Man, there’s nothing I could
tell you, other than from what I hear you’ve got the goods to go all the way!’ That was
one of the most definitive phone calls of my life. To hear that from a guy I admired so
much on a musical level was really humbling and inspiring all at once.”
Shortly after, another demo landed at Sony Music Canada who would go on to sign
Stephan to his first publishing deal in 1995. As a staff producer, he began working with
a myriad of the country’s leading artists. In 2002, he co-wrote one of Celine Dion’s
biggest singles “A New Day Has Come,” which served as her record-breaking
comeback following a three-year sabbatical from music. In between working with
everybody from Seal and Josh Groban to Ne-Yo and Sarah Brightman, he released
three instrumental piano albums, 2006’s Exposure, 2010’s Color and 2012’s Elements.
2010 saw him achieve another major milestone co-writing the Canadian theme song for
the Vancouver Olympic Games, “I Believe,” which would eventually reach quintupleplatinum
status in Canada.
“That became such an iconic piece of music that the entire nation knew it,” he smiles.
“What do you do after that? You go to Hollywood!”
Los Angeles proved to be the perfect new home for him. In 2013, Stephan co-penned
the quintuple-platinum “Wrecking Ball” for Miley Cyrus. Following the song’s success,
He quickly became one of the industry’s most sought-after and in-demand producers
and songwriters, being tapped for two songs on the Fifty Shades of Grey Original
Motion Picture Soundtrack. In addition to penning “I Know You” for Skylar Grey, he
teamed up with The Weeknd for the movie’s theme song, “Earned It (Fifty Shades of
With its simmering waltz, entrancing orchestral strings, and elegant piano played by
Stephan, “Earned It” became a #3 Hot 100 hit song, earning a quintuple-platinum
plaque, an Oscar nomination and Grammy awards. It firmly established his style too
with The Weeknd personally requesting “that Stephan Moccio classical thing” for his
third full-length album. In the meantime, he penned music for everyone from Jon Bellion
to Jordan Smith, Skylar Grey to Gladys Knight, while further expanding his imprint in the
film and television worlds.
Ultimately, the world is only beginning to embrace Stephan’s sound. “I love the arc of a
song—how it starts, builds, and fades out,” he leaves off. “I have so much reverence for
that. It’s the way I complete melodies on the piano. There’s something about a sound all
centered around live musicians. People need that human touch and something real.
When anybody hears my music, I want them to feel emotions number one. That drives
everything. No matter what I do, there’s a lot of love I put into it. I’ve learned if you do
things that move you, you can move others.”