Exclusive: Lennon Stella talks debut album, industry pressure and more

In an industry flooded with newcomers, an abundance of fresh faces and instant hits it can be challenging to stand out whilst being true to yourself, However, Lennon Stella has crafted an angelic uniqueness through her distinctive sound, charming personality and astonishing talent which has deservedly distinguished her from the crowd providing her with a platform to shine.

At just 19 years of age, global singing sensation, Lennon Stella has already made her mark on the industry as she’s showcased her talent in viral videos, hit sitcom ‘Nashville’ and most recently stunned with her debut material and on collaborations with megastars such as Jonas Blue and Liam Payne.

Following on from her incredible ‘Love, Me’ EP, released at the end last year, and most recent single ‘BITCH’ we caught up with Lennon Stella whilst she was on tour supporting Anne Marie in the UK.

Here she speaks exclusively to CelebMix discussing her leap to going solo, the making of her debut album and dealing with pressures of the industry:

Lennon, I want to take it back to around 6 years ago when ‘Call Your Girlfriend’ was uploaded to YouTube with your sister Maisy. It now has over 30 million views, what do you remember it being like seeing that video go viral?

That was such a weird time in my life because we hadn’t done anything before that, it was just so crazy like we literally put that video up on YouTube, my mom put it on her Facebook page and then we woke up and had messages from people like Ellen. The next day we went to good morning America and we were just like what is happening. We were just 12 and 8 years old so we were so confused with the world we had been thrown into and it was so shocking, very strange but amazing.

And was it at that moment you thought music could be a career or did you always had plans to be in the industry?

I kind of always had that, I knew that was where I felt my life was going to go. My parents are musicians and we were very much a musical family and I just had always known that’s always what I was going to do with my life but I didn’t imagine that It was going to start that soon for sure.

And from your YouTube success you went onto being an Actress starring in Nashville alongside your sister Maisy, how was that leap going from being an actress to full-time recording artist?

Well to be honest, it was quite a smooth jump because the show was quite a musical show and by the end, like the last two seasons, they kind of wrote me in as a pop singer so in a way I feel like they almost set me up so it wasn’t as jarring just going from acting to singing. It was a very gradual thing and because I was always making music on the show it did feel very gradual and it happened pretty naturally which made it feel really organic.

You made the transition from actress to recording artist pretty smoothly but how was it stepping into the industry solo without your sister?

I think it was definitely weird, it was weird all of sudden having all that freedom and I think being on the show obviously I was reading a script so I was always being told what to do. Being finished and doing my own stuff I was very confused with the power and control I guess that I had. I just realised I can make whatever music I want, I can put it out however I want and there was just so much freedom in realising that you’re the one driving but it definitely was scary because I went from being so controlled to very free in a lot of ways.

In terms of taking creative control is there a go-to method for songwriting or making music for you?

I love co-writing, that’s the way I always do it. I kind of just go in a room with a producer and a writer and I will get a feeling that I’m feeling that day kind of locked in and then I go in and explain what I’m feeling or whatever it is I want to talk about then we usually get a concept from there. Also, typically starting from a melody is what I prefer but yeah it varies. I usually get the songs I love most when I’m with another writer and producer where I set the vibe first.

As we’ve seen with your ‘Love, Me’ EP you aren’t afraid to be honest and write from personal experiences, but how does it feel writing about such personal situations knowing that the world will hear them?

It’s daunting in a lot of ways like when I think about the fact that everyone knows, or everyone in my life knows specifically who it’s about, you know there’s a line for sure like now I’m letting the whole world know. For example, with ‘Breakaway’ it’s about my family and my parents getting divorced and I think it was weird because I was ready to tell the world and be honest about it and I want to be open but I couldn’t do that on behalf of my family; it’s a discussion and we all had to decide about me putting this into the world because everyone would know. There are definitely things to consider for sure like it’s not just my life and Its very private things which I’m making very public so it’s definitely scary in a lot of ways but I think I’m more so scared of making other people’s lives more public than they need to be but In terms of my life I’m a very open book so honestly I’m cool to tell the world however I’m feeling.

You mentioned about breakaway being a discussion because it involved your family, do you use that same approach with the songs about relationships?

No, yeah no, I feel like to be honest it was such a messy situation that I didn’t owe them that and I can now sing that as loud as I want.

More on music, obviously, we had the ‘Love, Me’ EP at the end of last year and you’ve followed up with BITCH just recently…… is that a one-off single or Is it part of a bigger project you’re working on?

That one actually is a one-off! I’m working on an album now but I don’t think that song will be on the album but that was just kind of to put something out in the meantime as something to enter the world to have and perform on tour but the album will be coming early next year, that’s the plan as of now.

Can you tell us anything more about the album and how it’s coming together?

I mean I’ve been writing for a while now kind of collecting songs to make the album but there hasn’t been a chunk of time where I’ve actually been able to go and fully produce it and record vocals. I’m currently on tour right now but once this has finished I have a couple of months to go and really work on it until I leave for tour again in September. At the moment there’s only one song which is completely finished, as of now there’s just a bunch of songs that we love that need to be finished and worked on so that’s the plan to work for a couple of months and then go out and do the tour and then have it come out when tour is over.

In terms of the sound can we expect something similar to the ‘Love, Me’ EP for the album or do you think it’ll be more experimental?

I feel like it’s going to be pretty similar sonically to the ‘Love, Me’ EP just like again I don’t feel like I’ve changed that much since then but I do feel a little bit more experimental knowing that it was received so well. Before that, I hadn’t put anything into the world so I didn’t know how people would feel about it, not that it really mattered but obviously, you do want that reception to be good and I think because of that it inspired me a little bit more. I was sitting on those songs for so long so now I feel re-inspired to experiment a little bit more but for the most part, it will be pretty similar, it definitely won’t be a huge change from the ‘Love, Me’ EP.

You mentioned about putting out the music you like but having had successful songs, do you ever feel pressure to make a hit?

I definitely erase that out of my memory and just pretend that it isn’t even a thing because I just feel like at this point in music and the way music is received It’s not as formulated as it used to be so I feel like in my head no one knows what a hit is, it’s just about what people feel and if I believe in it then people will believe in it making it quote on quote a ‘hit’. Ultimately I feel like I just want to make music that I genuinely can get behind every aspect of it and that will make it successful for me.

You’re super successful but still super young, do you ever feel pressure from social media or feel like you have to be or act a certain way?

I mean I naturally do for sure, I think being 19, in general, I do feel that but also on top of it being magnified with me I do feel that pressure but I think it’s kind of the same underlying pressure of having a hit. There’s the same underlying pressure to look a certain way so I do my best to block that out which I think makes me a better artist and role model because I feel like it’s so easy to get sucked into that so I genuinely try to avoid that and try and be myself and be like whoever likes it likes it and whoever doesn’t, doesn’t. it sounds so cheesy but its honestly how I feel about it.

Part of being super successful is having a busy schedule so between recording, touring and just being around the world what do you do in order to relax?

I like being outside, that’s usually my biggest thing that makes me feel really grounded so being on the beach or laying in the park on the grass somewhere I just like being outside and I think that’s the biggest thing on tour because everything is like in a venue or on a tour bus so you don’t get to really be outside. Also just being at my house in Nashville because I’m such a homebody so I really appreciate being home but yeah they’re the biggest things for me.

And you’ve had so many amazing achievements so far but are there any that particularly stand out to you?

I think for me, the biggest one which stands out to me is releasing the EP because it was a chunk of work which was a long time coming for me. That, and then the acoustic version of ‘Like Everybody Else’ because putting those out there was like the biggest thing. Oh also, the tour with the Chainsmokers is pretty crazy to me because I was obsessed with the Chainsmokers and I went and saw their concert last year and the fact that I’m going to be playing with them is so crazy for me, it’s up there for me for sure.

One huge career moment for you was the ‘Polaroid’ collaboration, what was it like working with Jonas Blue and Liam Payne and how did it all come about?

It was so awesome, truly so great. That actually came about because I wrote with Roman, who co-wrote the song, separately in London like a couple of months before that and I think he kind of threw my name into the hat of choosing features for this song and that’s kind of how it happened and it all just felt really right. I went to London and recorded it with Liam and Jonas and it ended up feeling really great and it was so fun.

You’re currently on tour with Anne Marie, how has it been and how is touring for you in general?

To be honest, opening is definitely scarier for sure because it’s not your crowd and they’re not really there for you and there’s like an underlying thing of having to prove yourself so there’s definitely a pressure you feel for sure but I think ultimately I do really like touring and I just feel so good. I really love it.

Talking of touring you’ve just announced your debut London show taking place at Shepherds Bush Empire in March next year, what does that mean to you?

I’m so excited about that! That literally being announced was so exciting to me. To have me and the full band it’s just so crazy for me that I’ve just been headlining shows in the states and now I’m going to be doing it in the U.K is really exciting.

Lastly, if you could give any piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

I would say the biggest thing that I kind of wish I knew sooner is that you’re the one driving, it’s your life. As broad as that sounds it’s very easy to get caught into things that you think other people want for you or maybe the way other people present things to you can seem more appealing but I think just following your gut and not swaying in any way people want you to, that’s the only way that you’re going to truly feel happy and I think that’s how you get true success. I think staying true to who you are and what you want to be is the biggest thing.

 

Tickets to see Lennon Stella at her debut London show are on sale now, available for purchase via her website.

Check out her angelic debut EP, ‘Love, Me’, and recently released pop smash ‘BITCH’ below:

 

Let us know what you thought of the chat and your favourite Lennon Stella track over on Twitter @CelebMix

Written by Arun Mohammed

Journalist and music enthusiast who cares for everything showbiz. @arun_Mohammed on twitter or contact me via Email: [email protected]
Personal Blog: arunmohammed.com