Stella Cole: “My debut album is about to come out!”

Publié le

Wednesday, July 3rd 2024

On August the 30, Stella Katherine Cole will release her debut album. The young American Jazz Singer is well-known from TikTok where she has over 800 000 followers. S-quive have asked Stella to tell us more on the journey that the creation of this album have been!

 Stella Cole ©Timofey Kabanov

Can you introduce yourself?

I am Stella Cole, a singer of the great American songbook. I live in New York City now, but I grew up in a pretty small town in the Midwest of America. I am a tour musician and recording artist, and my debut album is about to come out!

In a few words, how would you describe your album?

It’s my debut album, that’s an important way to describe it. You will find some of my favorite songs of all time, some that I’ve known since I was like three years old, and some that I just discovered in the last few years. All the songs feel very personally connected to me, as many of these songs were written in the forties and fifties, and I connect to the period and the words used so much that it feels like they were written about me! In the end, I tried to make an album that felt both very classic and timeless, like it could have been from the fifties but also from 2024.

Where does this passion for Jazz and your retro style come from?

I grew up on old movie musicals such as The Wizard of Oz, The Sound of Music, Singing in the Rain, and Mary Poppins! I watched those all the time when I was younger, so I think I fell in love with this kind of music from a very young.  

You include music standards in your album. How did the selection of songs go?

I love so many songs, and there are so many to choose from. My producer, Matt Pierson, was very helpful in that process while I was going back and forth. I even had this whole notebook full of lists of different options for the track list and different ways to bring it in because I had so many ideas for the theme of the album. It wasn't an easy process, but in the end, it just ended up being like, I am going to pick a song that means the most to me right now, and I feel I can tell stories about my life right now. I was sad that I had to leave some songs out, but then I thought that there would be many more albums and many more songs to come!

"I don’t want anyone to own my music. I want it to be my music!"

You have 700,000 followers on Instagram and 800,000 on TikTok. Did you expect such success on social networks when you started?

I don’t think that it’s something that I could have ever imagined! Like I said, I grew up in a pretty small town, so I didn’t really know singers, actors or people that entertained when I was growing up. I didn’t understand that what I am doing now could be a job. I am still surprised that I had the kind of success I have. I started posting videos on social media during covid while I was at home living with my parents as I couldn’t go to college, hence the lockdown. I was just bored, and I missed singing, so I simply decided to start recording videos for fun! Then, when people started seeing my videos, I was just sort of thinking that maybe I could get some followers on here and spread this music around. My first goal was like 10000 followers, but I’ve never imagined it could be over a million!

 Stella Cole ©Shervin Lainez

Who is the person who inspires you in this profession?

I am always saying they are Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand! They were jazz singers, really! They both were such amazing storytellers with their music, and that’s what I really admire about them. I’ve loved them forever, but I also grew up with people like Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald and their classics. For today, I would've said Michael Bublé and Samara Joy. There are a lot of people who, in the last couple of decades, have been bringing this music to the forefront again, so they all have also truly inspired me a lot.

Where did the idea of creating a fund to be able to produce your album come from?

It’s so confusing to me how record labels work now. You know, back in the fifties, people were making music, and record labels were just paying for everything. Then the problem is that when you find a record label to pay for your album, they sort of own your music, and they can control, when it comes out, your creative decisions. I actually read the Barbra Streisand memoir recently, and she had written into her contract with Colombia in the very beginning that she agreed to make less money in exchange for having creative control over everything. She always talks about how important that is, so I sort of have it in mind: I don’t want anyone to own my music. I want it to be my music! And in the last year, I have heard about so many things happening to so many artists like Taylor Swift, so I thought, well, I have this following on social media, and I don’t really need a major label to get it out, so Matt told me that the best thing to do was to fund-raise! I was so nervous to ask people for money on the internet, and I was afraid I wouldn’t make any money, but people were so generous! It was amazing! It made me cry of happiness the first day when I saw we made like 15 000 dollars, and that was just unbelievable to me and still is!

We know you for your musical covers. Would you like to write your own songs in the future?

I have been writing my own songs for some time, and I’ve worked with some different producers and different songs writers. You will definitely hear it someday, but I am not sure when! I think the problem for me is that it is intimidating to try and compare it with the most perfect songs of the great American song, but I am working on it and I really enjoy writing, so we will see!

I also think that the jazz world can be a lot of men, and there are not enough women.

Are there things to avoid when singing jazz?

I would've said I think there could be a culture in jazz of people thinking only the kind of music they like to play is the right kind of music and no other kind is good! We should be accepting of all kinds of music and everyone's passion. I also think that the jazz world can be a lot of men, and there are not enough women, especially musicians. And whenever I see a woman musician, I think that’s so awesome, and I love you! And there are so many great artists in jazz, and it’s such a long history it can be very easy to imitate other artist especially at first, but I think it’s important to get inspiration but also have your own voice!  When I started my album I was like I will just do all the songs like Judy Garland did, but now I feel like I am not imitating anymore, and I am just, sort of, finding my own voice.  

 Stella Cole ©Shervin Lainez

Are you planning to tour following this album? Maybe some dates in France?

I am definitely going to go to France for this tour. I will be at the Nice Jazz Festival on Wednesday the 21 August 2024. And after that there will be the concert of release of my album at the Jazz à l’Athénée the 2 of December 2024.

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