Spotlight returns with a bang and a familiar face to readers! A year after Edward Burnett’s last chat with Irish-Canadian singer 0Stella and two years since the first interview, the two catch-up and reflect on a another year gone by. Talking everything from new songs, year plans and New Year’s drinks.
RNRR: Hi 0Stella! How are you doing? Another year’s gone by since our last chat! I make this the third New Year’s interview we’ve done? Lovely to have you back!
0Stella: Hi Ed! Happy new year! Thanks for having me back. So glad I'm still standing after the years we've had!
RNRR: So first of all, how was your Christmas? Did you do anything special and more importantly, how sober did you keep it?
0Stella: [Laughs] I kept it mostly sober! It was lovely and quiet, gathering-wise, but in my intimate wisdom, I had decided to release my first new song in almost a year on New Years' Eve, so I've been flat out throughout the holidays!
RNRR: Of course you did and it is brilliant to have you back releasing music! Why don’t you talk us through the process of making ‘Glitter On The Dancefloor’ and on why you left it a year before releasing?
0Stella: I wrote ‘Glitter On The Dancefloor’ with my producer from 'Little Yes, Little Know', Juno nominated Brad Simons. I was experimenting with a new sound on 'Glitter on The Dancefloor’ as well as two others, 'Weightless' and 'Spark'.
RNRR: What pushed you to try a new sound and experiment? As an artist, do you find it more fulfilling with trying different sounds and genres?
0Stella: I wanted to write something fun like ‘Heads Will Roll’ by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. So many of my formative years were spent going to see concerts in The Point theatre (now 02 Arena) in Dublin and Carling Academy in Brixton as well as lots of dancing in my favourite gay clubs. This song is a tribute to those sweaty nights where your only concern was how long your feet could keep holding you up. I can't wait for those days to come back.
RNRR: I love that song so much personally. So the song reflects a lot of personal memories for you then. Is this something you think should always be present in an artist’s music or do you think it’s also important to write about topic which you as the songwriter don’t have personal connections to?
0Stella: I find it really difficult to write about anything I don't have a personal connection to. If I write something that touches on social commentary it's always coming from a personal experience pertaining to that issue. There's a fine line of writing what you know, trying to do some good through that and soap boxing. Last thing the world needs is another Irish singer doing that!
RNRR: So let’s talk New Year, we’ve just entered 2022, how did you celebrate the New Year coming in? More booze than Christmas I’d imagine! Plenty of streams for the new song already?
0Stella: Yes a little more booze than Christmas! I actually spent it with some friends on a zero waste acreage in the middle of the Albertan countryside. Yes! The new song has blown all my other songs out of the water for streams in it's first few days. My fans were amazing. I'd played the full album for members of the 0Stella fanclub just a few weeks before so they were stoked to jump on it when it came out. This album definitely took longer than the 3 months I'd anticipated so it's brilliant to see the songs finally see the light of day!
RNRR: So what’s the plan from here on in? What does 2022 hold for you and your music? I ask you each this year and you always deliver on your promises and aims where possible so what’s the mantra for this new year?
0Stella: Well the new mantra is 'There Is No Other'. That's the name of my tour. As you know, I'm a big believer in leaving as small a carbon footprint on the planet as possible. So I'm embarking on a Canada-wide solo cycling album tour, starting in March. I'll cycle from the west coast to the east. Me and a guitar and a bike. So there will be no other (person) to get me up and over the Canadian Rocky Mountains and across the plains that me and my two legs. I'm playing almost exclusively house concerts and so so excited to hit the road. I just finished recording a concept album. 16 songs that break into 2 mini albums, the first of which is coming out this November. ‘Glitter On The Dancefloor’ was the first single to drop from that album. It's going to be a busy year!
RNRR: That sounds amazing, I never new you were that keen of a cyclist! I take it you’ll be releasing a few more singles then before that November album release date. Can you reveal roughly when the next one is dropping?
0Stella: Yeah I come from a family of cyclists. I never owned a car until I moved to Canada. Despite about a 15 year break from cycling in a serious way, I got some great mileage on my legs this summer despite the limitations of forest fire smoke for much of the season. I do have lots more music coming this year, but you'll have to wait and see. I can tell you it won't be long so until then, make sure ‘Glitter On The Dancefloor’ gets a good spin!
RNRR: Talking of music which is coming out this month, has anything else already caught your ear in 2022? I’ve been listening to The Wombats’ new album a lot this week, how about yourself?
0Stella: Oh yeah! Skye Wallace just dropped ‘Truth Be Told’ and it's been lodged in my head ever since. Megan Nash has been bringing out some killer tracks the last couple of months like ‘Chew Quietly / Clean Slate’. One new artist that has been on constant rotation for me is Sleepy Jean and her album, 'Idle Hands'. It's a stunningly romantic and melancholic album that's perfect for Sunday breakfast.
RNRR: Some brilliant new music evidently already being produced this year! Before I let you go, you know as a seasoned guest on the page that I have to ask you the big question at the end of the interview. Now the first time I asked you our famous desert island disc question, you chose Jeff Buckley with picking ‘Grace’ as your solitary album. Last year you added Megan Nash’s ‘Seeker’ and the self titled album by Sky Wallace. I’m going to push you today to pick something other than these three to mix it up and of course, tell us why you’ve gone for it! So 0Stella, what album are you going for this time?
0Stella: I would bring St. Vincent's self titled album. If I could find a bonus 7" vinyl of 'Paris Is Burning' too it would be perfect. To complement that, I'd bring ‘Blackstar’ by David Bowie. St. Vincent's self titled is all the nervous energy of a genius that I love. Tracks like 'Birth In Reverse' and 'Bring Me Your Loves' are so jagged and distorted. I love her perspective in her lyrics, everything is so visual. It's served as a big inspiration for my own record.
RNRR: Why the David Bowie album?
0Stella: Bowie's 'Blackstar' is just the darkest walk through an existential musing. My Dad shared the video for 'Blackstar' with me along with the news of his passing, so this record always makes me think of the glitter dusted fresh snow I walked through to music college the morning after. It was a surreal, silent 45-min walk. It felt like something had shifted in the universe. I was genuinely spooked and deeply saddened. At the same time could feel his energy had fragmented and spanned out across the world. I think St. Vincent surely absorbed a little of it.
RNRR: Great choices and great reasoning. It’s been a pleasure having you back on Spotlight for a third year running. We at Rock N Roll Reports can only wish you the best of luck for the rest of the professional year, until next time!
(Photo: Glen Freeman)
If you would like to find out more about 0Stella and her upcoming music, you can find the links to all her socials below via the icons: