No matter where Stephanie LeQuieu goes, the companionship of music travels along with her.  

LeQuieu began learning the language of music before learning how to speak. 

"Sheet music was my first language," LeQuieu said. "I learned how to read music before I learned how to read English, and I'm a native English speaker."

LeQuieu started piano lessons at 3 and has spent a lifetime composing and writing music with the same hands and voice she uses to play instruments and perform.  

In middle school she learned several new instruments such as the clarinet, saxophone, drums and she also started singing in choir. 

"My singing journey began there, and it was by freak accident, but I fell in love with singing, and I ended up going to college as a music performance major in vocal performance," LeQuieu said. 

In college she signed a recording contract and moved to Los Angeles for about three years where she wrote an abundant amount of music. One thing she discovered about the music industry is that it was difficult in the "dog eat dog" environment. 

She realized she wanted to continue the music portion of her career but not with the hardships tied with the music industry. 

"I wanted to just do music and enjoy it so I left the music industry in that capacity, and I started teaching," LeQuieu said.

She taught in the public and private school systems. She also taught her kids and continues to offer piano lessons at Painted Sky Center for the Arts in John Day. 

"Now I'm just a music person that shares it if it's needed or wanted," LeQuieu said.  

LeQuieu continues to write and compose music and is currently in the middle of a project. While each composer has their own way of creating music, LeQuieu said she starts with a tune or a lyric and begins building from there.

"I have songs written on the back of napkins, receipts, paper bags and I have them in a Rubbermaid, and I just throw them in there," LeQuieu. "I've done work for people where I scored their music for them." 

Keanu Reeves had a band named Dogstar, and they came to LeQuieu for help. The guitar player needed to teach the song to the band so they played it for LeQuieu and she wrote the music out and gave it to them.

"Writing is an interesting process," LeQuieu said, "and anything can inspire it or spur it on."


Rudy Diaz is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. Contact him at or 541-575-0710.

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