Actor, singer and screenwriter Darryl Stephens releases a new music track today. Stephens, former star of the cable TV drama series Noah’s Arc, has collaborated on a jam with Los Angeles-based songwriter-producer Ellis Miah.
The track, simply entitled Head, can be streamed via Spotify.
Stephens, who grew up in Los Angeles, rose to prominence playing lead character Noah Nicholson on Noah’s Arc. The groundbreaking TV series followed the lives and loves of a group of African American gay men. The show ran for two seasons on Logo between 2004-2006. It was followed by a movie in 2008.
Ellis Miah grew up in Florida, before relocating to New York and then Los Angeles. He has worked with the likes of RuPaul, among others.
How did the two of them get together?
‘I’ve known Ellis for years,’ Stephens tells Gay Star News. ‘Through my writing partner Kyle Puccia. Kyle and I and another friend Kurtis Simmons have been working on a movie musical called Hipster Sweatshop.
Puccia co-wrote recent Kygo track, Kids in Love, among many other credits.
‘At one of the staged readings, Ellis mentioned that he wanted to work with Kyle and me on a track.
‘One night, Ellis had some free time and called us into the studio. It just so happened I had been toying around with the song lyric, “What happened to your head” regarding the strange idea that one might find true intimacy on a dating app where most people were presenting themselves as headless torsos.
‘They both liked the concept. We banged the song out in a few hours.’
Life since Noah’s Arc
Since Noah’s Arc, Stephens has been involved with a myriad of projects. This included one season of the Logo show DTLA (‘we’ve just started talking about the possibility of another’), and numerous cameos.
He has a role in forthcoming feature, I May Regret, and is currently in New York, ‘to work with Golden Globe nominated and Tony winner Billy Porter on a new play he’s doing in the fall.
Besides his songwriting side project, he says he and Puccia are also working on a feature film script, ‘about queer athletes in high school.’
When not in New York, the 44-year-old continues to call Los Angeles home, where he lives with his partner.
‘My man is a sweetheart and a cutie pie. I have to say, life is good.’
He continues to be grateful for the recognition Noah’s Arc gave him.
‘I’m constantly humbled by the fans of that show. The idea that our little soapy sitcom that only ran for two seasons could resonate so deeply and have such an effect on the way people were able to view themselves and their friends and their capacity to find love will always be something I am incredibly proud of.’
Miah tells GSN that working with Stephens was a pleasure.
‘We met at Kyle’s studio a few years back. He’s been making me think , laugh and smile ever since.’
Like Stephens, Miah – who is gay – identified with the subject matter of Head.
‘It’s asking someone who claims to be ready for a relationship how they expect someone to accept all of them when they are only displaying body parts. How can love find us when we are uncomfortable being seen?’
Forging a Hollywood career as an out gay actor
Nowadays, diversity is Hollywood’s favorite buzzword, and roles for both people of color and gay actors are increasing. When Noah’s Arc arrived in 2004, the landscape was very much different.
‘I think I came up at a time when it was definitely not as cool to be out,’ he says when asked if he believes being openly gay ever held his career back.
‘Add to that my most recognizable character is probably Noah, who let’s face it, was more fabulous than most people knew what to do with. I think being open to gay work and subject matter actually made my career.
‘But I would say that being out probably made it a bit harder for me to get work in other genres. People can still be a little squeamish about working with people who are too outspoken. And I never shut up!’
Head by Darryl Stephens and Ellis Miah is out now.