RGM Introducing, we Interview American artist Stella Mar
Hiya Stella thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
Thank you for having me!
What made you decide to become an artist?
Well, I’ve always loved singing and I was a creative kid. My grandma was a poet, my mother is a designer, my brother is a guitarist so the desire to create has always been there for me. I feel like I didn’t really decide, I just practiced singing and writing enough until one day I had the confidence to collaborate with people I respected.
Introduce us all to you and your musical history?
My name is Stella and I’m from San Diego California but I’ve been living in Washington state for about 6 years now. I’ve been singing since I was a little kid (poorly In the beginning I might add). When I was about 15 my parents put me in vocal lessons and I started training my voice. In high school, I played a lot of classic/alt rock covers with my friends (led Zeppelin, The Allman Brothers Band, The Black Keys). I went to a tiny high school that had a lot of cool opportunities for music kids to perform and it helped me feel comfortable on stage. I didn’t start writing music until 2019 though because in college it took me a while to find my musical niche. Freshman and sophomore year of college I auditioned for three of my school’s acapella groups and got rejected from those. The only time I got to sing in college was with my friend (and current producer) Nic. We would sit on the bed of his dorm room freshman year and sing covers of lake street dive and Anderson Paak. Songs. Eventually, that transitioned into us writing our own music. I’d write a melody and the lyrics and come to him and he’d come up with a chord progression and that’s how the whole thing started really.
What’s your favourite song right now from another band currently on your local circuit?
It’s hard for me to choose but I’d have to say, “Oxytocin” by Nicky Buell, or “Ugly” by Thavoron. I am a little biased though since I just played a show with both of them recently. They’re both incredibly talented dudes.
What support is out there for new artists in Seattle?
The pop scene in Seattle is pretty niche but overall I would say the community, in general, is incredibly supportive. There are tons of kind and creative people in Seattle that want to help build each other up. It’s an exciting place to be a new artist for sure. I’ve felt a lot of love and support.
What would you like to see more of in Seattle?
Sunshine… and coffee shops. We don’t have enough coffee shops here.
We have just started RGM USA , sharing USA artists in the UK, what are your thoughts on UK music?
I honestly don’t know a ton about the UK music scene but when I do think of UK music I think of some of the most iconic acts in the world. Not only that but Iconic pop music acts as well. Y’all turn out iconic pop music to be sure.
What was the most fun you have had on stage?
I don’t know about the most fun but I’ll never forget the first time I ever played live in a bar. I was on a high school trip to New Orleans and my music teacher at the time took us music kids to a bar that had an open mic night. My friend and I signed up and I sang “Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay” by Otis Redding and I remember so clearly, the second I started singing, everyone In the bar stopped what they were doing and looked at me. The entire audience was engaged and enjoying themselves and from that moment on I knew that was going to be my favorite feeling in the world. And it still is. Something about holding the attention of everyone in a room is such a powerful and wonderful feeling. It’s addicting really.
What was the worst experience on stage?
The instance that comes to mind is a time in high school when I was doing a David Bowie tribute song and I forgot all the lyrics. I don’t even remember what song It was (probably because I’ve tried to block as much of the memory from my mind as possible) I just know it was one of his most iconic songs and I didn’t remember any of the lyrics. I just stood there mumbling while my backup singers did their jobs perfectly. So embarrassing.
Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about?
I used to be really shy as a kid. Like… really shy. I would open up quickly once I got to know someone but upon first meeting someone I was super scared to talk to people. Now I’ll talk your ear off.
Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories?
I don’t know how the music I actually believe this one but my favorite conspiracy theory by FAR is the “Avril Levine is dead” conspiracy theory. The evidence is palpable and it’s just such an insane theory. So wild. Look it up if you haven’t heard of it.
What advice would you give someone going into the music industry?
put out work you’re genuinely proud of because if you’re proud of it then other people will connect to it. Don’t pay attention to numbers and try not to compare yourself to others in the industry. Pay attention to the parts of making music that make you happy and be grateful for the people who genuinely support you. Take every opportunity you can get even if you’re scared to fail (or succeed). Don’t be afraid to have fun with it. Music has no rules.
What’s your biggest achievement as an artist?
I can’t think of any quantifiable achievement but I am incredibly proud and I get really excited when strangers reach out to me and tell me they’ve heard my music and they like it. I still can’t really believe I have fans that found me through my music and didn’t know me before I started releasing things. Don’t get me wrong, I’m incredibly grateful for my friends and family who genuinely like my music. But it still baffles me that there are strangers who like my music. It validates me as an artist.
What makes you stand out as an artist?
I stand out because of my vocal tone and my writing. I don’t really think I have anything inherently special about me but all my writing comes from a real place. My producer Nic and I have fun when we make music but at the same time my lyrics are vulnerable and raw. I think the contrast of that fun and that emotional vulnerability is something people can relate to.
Right now, what’s pissing you off the most in the industry?
The fact that artists make next to nothing off of streaming yet Spotify numbers are basically the only quantifiable way to see if someone is popular or not. We rely on Spotify so much and they pay us next to nothing.
What’s your favourite song to play live and why?
Either “How Little I Loved You” or “Mean to You” because I always get really into those songs. How Little I Loved You is a really angry song and I think the energy of it comes across much more when you see me sing it live.
I hear you have a new single brewing, what can you tell us about it?
Yeah! I just released a new single called “The Way / Mean To You” and they are two of my favorite songs I’ve ever written. They’re both fun danceable songs but with my personal brand of vulnerability and spite. The Way is “an ode to the fuckboy” it’s my cheeky little way of writing a song about all the shitty men from my past. I’ve done a lot of chasing in my life to no avail so this is what that song is about. Mean to You is about wishing you could be mean to someone who has hurt you. It’s about wishing you could be a bitch. I’m not a vindictive person and I tend to forgive easily but it’s hard for me to forget. There’s a lot of people I wish I could be mean to.
Talk me through the thought process of the single?
Most of my songs come from very real and raw emotions. These two songs specifically came from anger and frustration. Usually I’ll write lyrics and a melody and Nic will construct the song around those lyrics or Nic will send me a beat and I’ll write around his beat. With both of these songs Nic sent me the beat first and I wrote the songs after. It’s a very collaborative process.
What was the recording process like?
The recording is really fun! Nic and I usually record at my house. Both of these songs were recorded in two separate three hour sessions in my office at my house. A recording is like a marathon honestly. If we need to re-revisit songs and track more vocals, we do but lately, we have been good at recording in one go. Once we have tracked all the vocals Nic mixes the vocals and the rest of the song. If he needs to make revisions he makes them.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the single?
When writing music I kinda go into a trance and just write. Sometimes I’ll have to step away from a song for a few weeks or even months before I finish it but once I sit down to write, it usually just flows for me
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
Nope! I love the songs and I think my producer Nic did a fantastic job. I’m mostly just really excited for people to hear what we have made.
What are your plans for the year ahead?
I’d love to play more shows, a collab with more local artists, and put out a perch line at some point. I’m just trying to establish myself as an industry professional honestly.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
If you want to follow my music you can follow me on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok @stellamarrr and on Facebook and YouTube at Stella Mar music (I’m most active on Instagram and TikTok). I have a few music videos and live performances on my YouTube that you can check out if you want! Thanks for having me.