Musical Spotlight: Lennon Stella
Courtesy of Regina Vahey
By Regina Vahey
The belief that someone only gets one chance to make a first impression doesn’t seem to apply to singer-songwriter Lennon Stella. The Ontario-born singer’s career began when a YouTube video of Stella and her younger sister Maisy’s cover of Robyn’s “Call Your Girlfriend” went viral in 2009. Since her initial rise to stardom, Stella has developed her own sound and released solo tracks which have accumulated over 150 million streams on Spotify.
The Stella sisters’ YouTube channel has amassed over 100 million views to date. In 2012, the Stella sister duo landed roles on ABC drama Nashville where they starred as Maddie and Daphne Conrad, respectively, for six years. As the Nashville chapter of Stella’s career was closing, she was able to focus on developing her music career. Stella signed with RECORDS, a partner of Columbia Records in November 2017.
In August 2018, Stella released her first solo track, “Like Everybody Else.” She chose to release an acoustic, stripped-down version of the song which gave the impression that she was not looking to follow the traditional “pop star” trend. One month later, Stella dropped her first official single, “Bad.” Despite the sad undertone of the lyrics, this single has an overlying “pop” feel but stays true to the singer’s authentic style with various layered harmonies and synths.
The release of “Bad” was just a preview for what was to come with her debut EP, Love, me, which came out in November 2018. Besides Stella’s first single, the five-song tracklist features “Breakaway,” “Feelings,” “La Di Da,” and “Fortress.” This collection of songs gives a glimpse into what Stella was going through emotionally in her relationships with lovers, her family, and herself. Like “Bad,” the other songs on Love, me feature harrowing lyrics juxtaposed with energetic drum beats and catchy hooks.
Around the same time, Stella was featured on English DJ and producer Jonas Blue’s song “Polaroid” with Liam Payne. This song opened a door of opportunities for Stella to be introduced to a broader audience as the song reached chart-topping numbers all around the world.
After the release of her EP, Stella headlined her first tour that spanned 13 cities across the U.S. and Canada in early 2019. The appropriately titled Love, me tour was the first chance for Stella’s fans to hear her new sound in an intimate way as she played relatively small venues and gave fans the opportunity to meet her after the show. I saw her at U Street Music Hall and was fortunate enough to be first-row in the standing-room venue. Finally experiencing the songs I had played on repeat since their release and witnessing someone who I had admired for years doing what she loved was a moving experience.
Following her headline tour, Stella opened for British singer-songwriter, Anne-Marie, in the UK. More recently, Stella opened for 5 Seconds of Summer and The Chainsmokers on their North American 42-date “World War Joy” tour where she performed “Takeaway,” a track she is featured on with The Chainsmokers. Stella has also been featured on Meghan Trainor’s single “Workin’ On It.” These opportunities have helped Stella launch her career, as her debut album is anticipated later this year. Unlike some, Lennon Stella has successfully rebranded herself from the 12-year-old version of herself who went viral singing in her kitchen to the remarkable, up-and-coming artist she is today.