stella

Tyra Harris

Urban Artist Stella On Growing Up In Birmingham, Her Experiences Surrounding Mental Health, and the New Single ‘I Love You So’

Combining hippie realness with an urban upbringing is what defines the sound of Birmingham Born artist Stella. Having performed around various different venues in Birmingham, as well as events that categorises some of the local cities most popular and ever growing artists such as the Birmingham Music Awards, Stella is set to drop her new single ‘I Love You So’ on the 2nd of April 2021. Mental health has always been an incredibly open and apparent part of her music, in which she opens up about her own struggles and how music pulled her out of the ground in such pressing times. Stella dropped her previous single ‘Warm and High’ in 2020, and she continues to embark on developing her sound with the help of her musical mentors with BIMM, as well as utilising the diversity and inspiration that Birmingham continues to offer to artists. Stella talks to us about her new single, as well as her aspiring plans for the future as things begin to slowly go back to normal with an ever growing fan base, in an effort to bring everyone together with a loving and positive energy.

How has it been for you developing your style on the Birmingham music scene? What elements of Birmingham have shaped you as an artist?

I was born and bred in Birmingham and honestly, I couldn’t have asked to have been raised in a better place. Brum is quite possibly one of the most culturally diverse places in the UK and to have been brought up with an awareness and respect for that has definitely played a part in my artistry. The Birmingham music scene mirrors the city itself in the way that its people are accepting, supportive and encouraging. Birmingham artists and bands love to see each other doing well and we all have a similar goal in mind- to rid of Birmingham’s false reputation amongst the other cities in the UK. Brum is the best and if you don’t agree then 0121 do one.

I love the way you mix urban elements with hippie flavors within your aesthetic, can you tell me a little bit about your influences and how they contributed to your musical style?

My music, aesthetic and personality all go hand in hand. I have really tried throughout my life to be true to myself. I like to express myself through songwriting and fashion which has organically helped me with artistic identity and branding.

Who else do you work alongside in the music making process; do you have a band?

The songwriting process often begins in my home with my guitar. Songwriting works as journaling and I pour my heart out into writing lyrics and melodies. I tend to have a vision of where I want the song to go but the magic really happens when I get into a rehearsal space with my lovely band. I’ll share the song and we kind of just jam and experiment until we’re happy with it.

Do you produce your own music? Can you tell us a little bit about your team and your musical process?

 

Again, a similar kind of process happens with production. Once we have a sound going with the band, we’ll record the stems and hand it over to my wonderful colleague and friend, Ned. He has worked wonders on my music and his producing skills are ever-growing. This guy lives and breathes songwriting and production. I live with him and my rooms above his, and I can tell you confidently that within the first half an hour of him being awake, he works on his music and he only stops to wash, eat and eventually sleep, ready to wake up and do it all over again. (Obviously he has other interests and does do other stuff, but I just need to make sure y’all know how hard this man works). We then listen to the song together and ultimately, I make any final decisions about how I want the end product to sound, but more often than not, we’re on the same page and have similar creative processes.

The new track I Love You So; when will this be released? And can you tell me a little bit about the sound, where the inspiration came from, and the message behind it?

It’s coming out on the 2nd of April and I am so excited. New music from me has been long anticipated, especially for my supporters who have been to many gigs, hearing all their favourite songs of mine but never being able to listen again! It’s a love song but not your average one. It’ll pull at your heart strings and warm your soul as you listen to it, (hopefully).

How would you compare your new track to previous music?

Warm and High came out last summer and Ned has really tried to recreate a similar vibe with the production, despite the songs being recorded in different sessions. But his efforts have definitely paid off and the Stella sound shines through it, hopefully making it recognizable and memorable.

How have you found ways to adapt your music during the pandemic, for eg, with not being able to do live shows etc?

I managed to squeeze in a live performance when pubs/ bars reopened for that short period. It was so much fun! But other than that, I’ve been doing bits of live streaming and other social media stuff. Also, my university (BIMM) has been open intermittently during the pandemic, so I was fortunately able to record the song with their facilities. Also, I live with four other musicians so as you can imagine, the music life hasn’t really stopped for us. It’s really inspiring to have that energy around me all the time and it’s great because we are all constantly trying to support each other.

Mental health, life struggles and a sense of freedom seem to be some very integral parts of your music, how have your own struggles and successes influenced your music thus far?

As mentioned, music for me is a huge form of self-expression and I honestly need it to be okay. There aren’t many songs of mine that don’t have some form of personal relevance to my life, experiences or things I’ve witnessed and interpreted in my own way. Songwriting is like keeping a not-so-secret-because-its-all-over-the-internet diary, and it’s a great way for me to channel my emotions whilst making an end product for others to enjoy.

Where are you hoping to be able to perform once the pandemic is over?

I’m hoping that I’ll be able to perform at The Dark Horse soon because it’s not somewhere I’ve played before, but I love the venue.

I know you have performed at BMAs before, how do you think events like this help aspiring artists such as yourself?

It is a great way for musicians and other industry members to get together and enjoy some of the city’s best talent. I’m all about finding new artists to listen to and it’s a wonderful feeling when they’re from Birmingham. Also, I’ve had the chance to play some really unique venues/ spaces!

And lastly, what are your next steps for the future with your music?

 

Well, the first big step that I’m making is finishing my songwriting degree! As of May 2021, I will officially no longer be a student! I’ve spent near enough my entire life in education and I’m really looking forward to starting the next chapter of my life, (although I will miss many things about this one!). The thought of turning 21 and not having the safety blanket of being a student really does scare me, but it equally excites me. Hopefully, I’ll have more time to be creative and allow my artistic development to flourish, and there’ll be heaps of Stella content for you all to indulge in.

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