Interviewed by: Kevin Rolfe
Lennon Stella has been a singer and a performer pretty much her entire life. She gained notoriety with her sister Maisy when they posted a video of them covering Robyn’s “Call Your Girlfriend” on YouTube. She then gained even more fame as a star on the hit TV show Nashville. Lennon has now stepped out on her own with a new and exciting career as a solo artist. She released her EP Love, me about a year ago and is currently recording her debut full length album. Lennon Stella is on tour with The Chainsmokers and 5 Seconds of Summer on the World War Joy tour which hits Vivint Smart Home Arena tonight! I had the opportunity to chat with Lennon last week leading up to her Utah tour stop. Here’s our conversation. Enjoy!
Utah Concert Review: Hi Lennon! Where am I catching you at the moment?
Lennon Stella: I’m in Oklahoma. (Checks with someone else in the room.) Yep, Oklahoma City. I’m so clueless about where I am. It’s so bad.
UCR: I’m sure when you’re on tour and you wake up in a new city every day, it’s hard to keep track of where you are.
LS: I’m the worst! I literally never know where I am until I’m about to go on stage and I get the name of the city. (Laughing) I go the whole day not even thinking about where I am. It’s so bad. I’m very clueless.
UCR: So how is this tour going so far?
LS: It’s been so fun! It’s really been such a cool experience. It’s so different than anything I’ve done before. Everyone who’s a part of the tour has been so welcoming and inclusive. It’s literally been so much fun.
UCR: You’ve had such an interesting career so far. I’d assume at this stage most people know you from being on the TV show Nashville and performing with your sister. But you also grew up with parents who were in a band. So you’ve been performing since you were very young, and music has always been a part of your life. But when did you decide that you were going to do music? When did it become your passion and something you couldn’t not do?
LS: Truly just growing up in that musical family that was all I ever knew. There wasn’t really a moment where I thought “ I want to do this as a career”. I think because it happened when I was so young. My sister and I made this video that went viral and it kind of created a career that wasn’t ever planned. It was never a decision or a thing to do. If it was something we planned on we wouldn’t have done it at 12 and 8 years old. We were so young. Because of that I never thought “Oh I’m going to pursue this or this is what I want”. I just kind of always knew that it was going to happen. I really think just being raised in it, it was kind of the normal. However, when Nashville ended I and was going off to sign my own record deal and start in solo stuff is definitely a decision where I thought okay cool I’m going to see what happens with my full energy.
UCR: Speaking to that time when the show ended, since you’ve begun your solo career the music you’ve released is pretty different than music you did on Nashville or music you did with your sister Maisy. Was that a conscious decision? Or is this simply the music you’ve wanted to make all along?
LS: The stuff I did with Maisy was all covers. We never put out any original music. We just did our take on covers and making it sound unique. And then this stuff from the show that was very much my character. I didn’t really have any say on anything that came out. I was just singing as a character. But I was very fortunate to love at all. I really love the music we made on the show. But that was not an artist thing. There was no Freedom or anything like that. So when that ended I was given a ton of freedom to make whatever kind of music I wanted to make I’m seeing about whatever I wanted to sing about. It took us a second to lock into a sound but now with the album I’m currently recording, I feel like I have found a balance between what I’ve put out recently and what I have released before.
UCR: So you’re opening for The Chainsmokers and Five Seconds of Summer on the World War Joy tour. What can people expect from your part of the show?
LS: It’s been really cool. I’m playing the EP (Love,me). So now it’s songs that I’ve been sitting on for about a year now. So people who know me will know those songs. It’s just me and three guys on stage. It’s a really fun set. It’s thirty minutes so it’s pretty in and out. There’s not much room for a lot of dynamics so it just stays high energy the whole time. The crowd and everyone who comes to a Chainsmokers show just want to have a good time. So there are really good vibes and a fun audience who just wants to party so I think the energy is the crowd. It makes everything light hearted which is really nice. It’s like a festival vibe.
UCR: I’ve always been so curious about this. What is it like performing in an arena? It seems like it would be so intimidating! You’re a natural performer, but is there a different dynamic when you’re performing in such a huge space?
LS: Oh yeah. It’s definitely different. Really it’s different in every aspect. The sound is different, it’s visually different, and Performing with so much more room and stage space to have to stretch out over and run around on it’s just a totally different thing. I’m very used to playing in more intimate places with people who are there for me which you know is more welcoming. I’m used to clubs. So going into an arena where I’m opening for people who probably don’t know me or my music it’s so different. But it’s been a really cool learning process for me and it’s kind of like just getting thrown into it in a good way. I just feel like I’ve been tossed into it all it’s been such a good way for me to learn and grow how to figure out how to navigate this type of space.
UCR: It’s performing you for your own arena tour.
UCR: So how much do you notice all the things going on? How far out can you see? I always wonder, can they see that one person in the tunnel? Or the people walking out to get a beer? Or maybe the person up in the cheap seats getting crazy for your set?
LS: Oh yeah, you can see it all. I can totally see it all. I mean it depends on the lighting. Especially since I’m opening, because obviously it’s not all filled out yet. So you kind of want that vibey lighting so it’s not completely put on blast where you can see everyone and everything just walking in or getting a beer. And really each song is different. So sometimes the lighting will just be on me I can really only see the first few rows. Then there are other songs where the entire room is lit I can see everything. So it really depends on the lighting but in general, I can pretty much see everything. No question!
UCR: Last question! Who is a band or artist that you always make a point of seeing live?
LS: I would say Tame Impala is one of my favorite live shows to see. It just takes you to a whole other world. It doesn’t feel as much like a show, it’s more of an experience. It’s all about the visuals with the sounds. You feel like you’re in a movie. You’re taken away to a parallel universe. You have to go see them!
Lennon will be taking the stage at Vivint Smart Home Arena tonight at 7 PM. Get there to see her set. I think it’s going to set the tone for the whole night! If tickets are still available, you’ll find them here!
To find out more about Lennon Stella please go to lennonstella.com