As seen in Guitar Girl Magazine’s Summer 2019 – Special Pop Edition
Pop music’s newest addition taking the world by storm, Lennon Stella, has recently debuted her EP, Feelings. She is currently on a worldwide tour supporting fellow pop musician, Anne-Marie, and later this year will support The Chainsmokers and 5 Seconds of Summer through the end of the year, closing out on December 6.
For six seasons, she played Maddie Conrad on the hit television series, Nashville, and from her time on that show, she has grown as a musician and songwriter, which is evident with the five songs featured on Feelings. For our special pop edition, Lennon Stella is one of our cover stars, and rightly so, as her music and lyrics epitomize the pop music mold.
Stella grew up in Canada surrounded by parents who are musicians themselves, so it’s only natural that she has a kindred liking to performing and creating her own music. She has taken that familial experience and has grabbed hold of dream with full force, and the doors keep opening for her. Discover more about our this pop star and what she has to say about her massive tour, playing acoustic with the inclusive pop sound, and her lighter side with our fun questions about music.
I know you’re heading out on a massive tour with Anne-Marie and the Chainsmokers throughout this year, so you’ve got a huge schedule ahead of you, and this is your first major tour. What are you looking forward to the most, and are you nervous about sharing the stage?
Yes. I am the most excited for my tour; I feel pure excitement. There’s not really much nerves when it comes to mine. I think my nerves kind of come to play when it’s the opening. I don’t know; it’s a totally different feeling. It’s like a bit more pressure in a way. I don’t know why I feel that way, but I do. But with my shows, I’m so, so excited. I’m excited for it all, but I’m a little bit more nervous for the Chainsmokers, but with mine, I just feel so excited. And right now just working on the set, and rehearsals start next week, and I feel like it’s just going to feel so, so right.
Although your music is mostly pop-oriented, which I love, you also have acoustic versions of your songs. What creative satisfaction do you get from the acoustic and the pop sound?
Well, I feel like my root; what truly inspires me is just singer-songwriter stuff, to be honest. Where I feel the most myself is when I’m at a piano or with my guitar, and I’m just singing. But at the end of the day, I love that, but it’s not necessarily what I want my entire album to be. I want to be able to play at festivals, where people can dance, and it makes people feel good, and it’s so much fun to perform. So I think that having the acoustic versions, you can still see that aspect and you still feel the honesty of it when it’s just with a guitar. But I like the idea of also having the actual version a little bit more sonically pop.
You share a vulnerable side of yourself alongside the pop. You also show that you love guitar and piano. What are your earliest memories of when you started picking up the guitar, and what do you like most about it when you play the guitar?
Well, my parents are musicians, and my dad was always playing guitar. My mom plays it as well, but she plays it more enough to write. And so all growing up, since I was born, truly, my parents were a duo, and there was always so much music.
I remember I was so obsessed and I literally still have the guitar. It’s so cute. It’s so tiny. I asked for my first guitar when I was 5, and I got it for Christmas. So I was very, very into the idea of a guitar at a super young age and that was when I actually asked for it, but I was admiring my dad’s [guitar] literally for as long as I can possibly remember. And then, I got my guitar, and my parents both taught me through the years. Then I was on the show Nashville and learning from it. I never have actually taken lessons.
My parents just taught me and then with being on the show, the songs that I would learn on the show, they would have someone teach me, like Colin Linden, who is amazing. He would come in and teach me the guitar part. So I would learn so much from that because the songs that I play, I would learn new chords and stuff and I would take them with me, but I didn’t actually take lessons, so that was another way for me to learn more.
I love, love, love the guitar, and I think it’s a really cool way to be able to just create freely. And at the end of the day, I can just sit with my guitar, and there are no boundaries. There are no parameters. I can just create. I’m always going to be a guitar player.
Your recent and debut EP, Love Me, is emotive and personable, but yet relates to the lighter and fun side of life. What mindset did you have writing and working with producers for it?
I was just honestly in the mindset of remaining really honest throughout it all and just writing about how I feel because that’s kind of all I really know how to do at this point. So, I was just trying to unlock different parts of me and feelings that I could make into a song, and it was mostly just me, one other writer, and then a producer for each session and each song. I think the underlying thing was just to keep it honest and true the whole way through and then kind of see how that resonated with people.
I love the fact that you’re a strong female, especially for your generation and people like my generation as well. Even though women have come a long way in music, we still have a lot to do. Do you feel and see that pop music for women has progressed, or are there some issues with progression?
I think there are issues in everything really. We could poke holes through it all. But I think ultimately there’s totally been strides in the right direction. It feels like there’s a lot more openness, and I think people are able to be a little bit more creative in expressing themselves in different ways and people are more open-minded and accepting.
A few lighter questions…
Do you recall your first album that you purchased on CD and/or vinyl?
Lennon: I think the first CD I purchased was at my first concert, which was Avril Lavigne.
I know vinyl has made a big comeback. Do you have anything on vinyl?
Lennon: My parents were like, “That’s all we listened to growing up.” I have everything. I’m literally staring at my vinyls right now. I have everything on vinyl. My favorite right now is Bread.
Who’s your current overall favorite right now, of the concerts that you’ve been to?
Lennon: I recently saw Jacob Collier. I can hands down say it was the best concert I’ve ever been to in my life. He’s so amazing. I obviously love everything he’s put out, but his actual live show is so next level.
Which artists would you not want to live without?
Lennon: Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks, for sure, Beach House, and Andy Shaw
Are there any other female artists that you’d really like to collaborate with?
Lennon: I love Brandi Carlile. There are so many that I love. I love Dua Lipa. She’s amazing. I also love Julia Michaels right now. She’s a fave. And Patty Griffin.
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