Praveen Dutt Stephen, fondly known as Stephen Prayog, is an Indian music composer working primarily in the Kannada Film Industry. Stephen was born on 18 March 1967 to Philip Stephen and S. Pramila, in Bangalore. He inherits his musical talent from his family, once based in Mysore, a city filled with the exuberance of art, music, and culture. His grandfather was a violinist, while his great grandfather was an organist. Thus, music flowed throughthe veins of the Stephen family since generations. His uncles (Mother's brothers) Prasad and Gurumurthy, were trained, Hindustani musicians.
Stephen completed his formal musical training at the Trinity College of Music, London, acquiring an associate diploma in music from the college. He obtained a Master's certificate in "Arranging and Orchestration" from the Berkley College of Music, Boston, U.S.A. He undertook the various other informal training, for instance, learning Western notation from his father, Western Music theory from S.K. Joshi, Piano from Rajagopalan Iyer and
, Hindustani vocals from Pandit Hegde and Carnatic vocals from Vidwan M Harmonium Venkattapa. Stephen started his musical journey in 1986 as a Rhythm guitarist in the Blue Boys Orchestra.
In 1988, just two years later, he joined Jimpet's Orchestra as a keyboard player. He continued with the same orchestra for some time, and soon got featured in Sadhu Kokila's devotional song as a keyboard player. The next year, in 1989, Prayog joined Melody Creators Orchestra, and met eminent personalities from the music industry, while being a part of the same. He considers this to be the turning point in his career. In 1990, his career began when he worked as an assistant music director with Mr. Damodar and
. 8 years later, he worked on his first independent album, Premothsava. Prayog's career in music is legendary. He has worked with many great music directors to compose evergreen melodies.
Working with the renowned musical genius C. Ashwath, he has directed tracks like Kotreshia Kanasugalu and Chinnari Mutha. He has also teamed up with V. Manohar for the song Janumada Jodi, and with Mano Murthy, bringing forth hit songs like America America, Nanna Preethiya Hudugi, and much more. Prayog has independently composed various songs as well, for instance, Premothsava (1998), Kadale En Kadali, Breaking News, etc.
For his independent compositions, Stephen has won many awards, like the Karnataka State award for the Best Music Director for his 2002 album Paris Pranaya. He received the Kannadasan award for best debut as a music director in the Tamil film, Karka Kasadar, in 2005. Stephen's work is not limited to Kannada and Tamil films. He has also worked with Jack Jacob Shemech to compose music for an Israeli album, thus marking his presence in the international music industry. He has conducted music for the song Oh Meri Ma, for the Kargil war and the casualties associated with it. Stephen has composed music for television serials like Shubha Lagna, Chakra, etc. as well.