BY LESLEY HASTINGS
Photo credit: Lily Prince
It was great to get the opportunity to chat with Nashville-based singer/songwriter Stella Prince recently ahead of her upcoming UK tour (dates below).
Born and raised in Woodstock, NY, to creative parents, Stella may still be in her late teens but is already an accomplished artist having taken voice lessons since the age of four, piano lessons since the age of six and guitar lessons at the age of nine, writing her first song a year later! She earned her two-year associate degree, with a focus on music, at 16 years old. Her musical influences are varied thanks to her parent’s extensive all-genre CD collection, with her own music straddling the Americana/Folk genres.
Having released several singles in recent years, Stella’s most recent is the emotionally moving “Two-Faced“ which saw her working with Steve Fishell, a Nashville- based pedal steel guitarist and Grammy-winning producer.
Since her move to music city, Stella has set up a monthly all–female Americana/Folk showcase, “Stella Prince and Friends” , the only one of its kind for the genres in Nashville. Sponsored by the legendary organisation “Change the Conversation“ her aim was to create a space for women in music to perform and meet other performers. It’s something we spoke about during our zoom chat, alongside her own music and of course her upcoming UK visit, I hope you enjoy our conversation!
SP Thank you so much for doing this, for your time!
LH It’s a pleasure… thanks for your time, you seem so busy! Are you in Nashville right now?
SP I am, I’ve been living here for about 8 months. I started going back and forth between New York and Nashville when I was 14, and I always found the city to be incredibly open to young “up and comers” . It’s really warm and welcoming.
LH I love how your passion for music spans so many different genres, so what it came to making your own music was it tough for you to decide which direction to go in?
SP Actually no, it’s funny ….I love all music so much and have listened extensively to every genre but for my music I’ve always just gone with this specific style and never questioned which genre to do…it’s just authentic to what I’m feeling.
LH Listening to your back catalogue you come across as a really deep thinker, someone who internalises a lot and uses music as an outpouring to express your feelings….is that the case?
SP Oh absolutely. I definitely think I’m too sensitive at times!
LH So are most of your songs written from personal experiences, or maybe observing what others are going through …or a bit of a mixture?
SP It’s definitely a huge mixture. I’d say most of the time it’s usually my experiences, but I really just want to make my music as relatable as possible because that’s the most powerful music to me. My goal is to make music that connects with different age groups.
LH Of course Nashville is renown for its co-writing community, is that something you’ve done much of in the past or is that a new experience for you?
SP I started co-writing during Covid, from back home in New York, but I do feel I get my best songs when I writing completely solo. I don’t have to talk to anyone, ask that their thoughts …. it’s like a letter that I’m writing. But co-writing is a way to develop your song writing, and it’s been a huge help in that respect.
LH Is there anyone though that you’d really love to co-write with?
SP Actually John Bettis is my dream co-writer, I don’t know if you know his work?
LH No, his name isn’t familiar..
SP He was pretty much the songwriter behind every Carpenters song … Karen Carpenter is pretty much my favourite singer of all time ….. John wrote alongside Richard Carpenter, he lives in Nashville but I’ve yet to meet him .
LH Oh wow I should have known that as I absolutely adore The Carpenters music and Karen’s voice in particular. Let’s put this out into the universe … you never know!
I’d also read that Erin Enderlin was on your bucket list too..
SP I actually got to do that so yeah, maybe this is a good omen, I should just keep saying these things and they’ll come true! I got to write with her twice actually last year, and she’s been really supportive.
LH So let’s talk a bit about your most recent single “ Two Faced”, what’s the reaction been to it?
SP It’s been pretty much my most successful single to date including it being played in the UK by the BBC multiple times. That’s always been a dream of mine …. I noticed that the BBC always loved The Carpenters, along with a lot of other gentle, emotional singers, and I always knew England would be a great place for me. I just never knew when I would be able to get there but I’m so excited to be coming back there in October.
LH Yes I’m excited for your upcoming tour…which I want to ask you about of course… but can I just ask a bit more about that single which you recorded with a full band I gather, a first for you. How was that experience and do you hope to do it again in an ideal world?
SP It was amazing! I technically produced it but Steve Fishell brought in all the musicians, he played steel guitar on it as well. He’s Emmylou Harris’ bandleader and an original member of her band , such a prominent figure in Nashville. I’d wanted to meet him for ever and that opportunity came up right after I moved here and he invited me to record with him. It really took my music to the next level. We recorded another song together a couple of months ago, “Dear Future Me“ which I’m about to release. Then I’m going back into the studio with him in November, so I hope that this will be a long-time thing because I love working with him.
LH As we mentioned earlier, you’re over in the UK soon for a string of dates, not your first visit to our shores, so what was it about your previous visit that made you eager to return?
SP I was only in London for a few days, Ireland for a couple, a very quick trip! But I loved it. It was more like pubs and bars, that type of thing which was great, but this time around it’s more sit down listening rooms, ticketed shows, my first real UK tour and a level up for me in a way. I’m so excited to places outside London.
LH And you’re doing one of the “Stella Prince and Friends” showcases here I gather?
SP Yes, in London at The Spice of Life in Soho, me and two other up and coming female artists. It’s a monthly showcase I started in Nashville in May, the last one was part of AmericanaFest. There’s a lot of country showcases for females there but no folk showcases, and there’s a lot of alternative female artists that need that platform. It’s something that came about very randomly but one of my favourite things I’ve ever gotten to do. I get to meet so many amazing people. I did one in New York just a few days ago, and one in Boston last month, and now it’s coming to London which is cool.
LH. So what’s on the cards for you next year when it comes to releasing music? More singles or are you looking at an EP or album?
SP I definitely think I’ll be releasing a lot more singles. I do want to release an album project eventually but I don’t think I’ll be doing that til I have more of a team together, it’s something that’s just too much to do on your own. But it’s something I have my eye on for sure!
LH I’ll look forward very much to seeing you here in a few weeks time, safe travels and thanks again for chatting to me today. It’s been a total pleasure.
SP Thank you, I look forwards to meeting you in person.
Stella will tour the UK in October and November, with dates as follows:
Saturday 21st October The Drawing Room Chesham
Sunday 22nd October Spice of Life, Soho London
Monday 23rd October Temperance Leamington Spa
Tuesday 24th October The Gladstone Arms, Southwark London
Free entry. Reserve seating:https://www.facebook.com/thegladpub
Wednesday 25th October The Bedford, Balham London
Free entry: https://thebedford.com/
Thursday 26th October Betsy Trotwood, Clerkenwell London
Thursday 2nd November The Greystones Sheffield
Friday 3rd November Forty-Five Vinyl Café York
Saturday 4th November Town Hall Kirton in Lindsay*
https://www.wegottickets.com/event/586010#tickets *Support to Lauren Housley
Monday 6th November Thirty Cafe & Eatery Filey
More artist information at https://www.stellaprincemusic.com/