Stella West's new album "Little Black Book With My Poems In" is more than a great album; it is a unique musical experience!
With her latest release, Stella West explores the universe of Spaghetti Western, with an album rich in suggestive soundscapes and brilliant sound research. “Little Black Book With My Poems In” is an outstanding record with a unique sound that will captivate the fans of music legends such as Ennio Morricone, Lana Del Rey, Leonard Cohen, and Nancy Sinatra.
Today, at Planet Singer, we have the great pleasure of discovering more about this talented artist with an exclusive interview!
Hi Stella, thanks a lot for being here with us today at Planet Singer! Your latest release, “Little Black Book With My Poems In,” is an excellent release, intense and intriguing, that goes far beyond spaghetti western music, so we are thrilled to know more about this project and how it all began. So starting from the very beginning, how did you discover your passion for music?
Hello! First of all, thanks so much for taking the time to listen to the album. It means a lot. Your website is also amazing; sharing music from unsigned and unknown artists is truly admirable.
When I was around 9 or 10, I didn’t have many friends. I stayed home a lot and didn’t really attend school. While I stayed home, I listened to the radio. Bob Harris’ Country hour mostly, and from there, I discovered a lot of my present influences. Nanci Griffith, Janis Joplin, and Dolly Parton, to name but a few. I’ve always loved all kinds of music, but it was Bob Harris that matured my tastes and set them in stone. Since those times in my room with my radio, country music especially is sort of a home to me. And a place I go when I need to escape. The true “passion” for music came around this time. It wasn’t just something to listen to anymore; it became one of my only friends.
“Little Black Book With My Poems In” is a brilliant album. From Morricone to Lana Del Rey, from Leonard Cohen to Nancy Sinatra. In your album, we can feel the strong vibes of the Spaghetti Western soundtracks, but also the soulful and bluesy vibes of many other legends of music like Nina Simone, etc. Can you tell us more about this project?
This album has been in the works for years and years. The songs on there are songs I’ve written over the last decade. They weren’t originally planned to go on an album, but because a lot of the tracks were about the same thing, I decided to turn it into a concept album. I was trying to find a very particular sound, a kind of Nancy Sinatra dark pop sound along with Americana. I took inspiration from a lot of Quentin Tarantino movies, old westerns, and it kind of shaped the whole album. It’s a story about a woman’s journey through revenge. The reason for her fury remains a mystery, but I was so inspired by revenge films and what it takes in a human being to become so sad and angry that the only way they can continue living is if they make wrongs right. It fascinated me.
Cinematic and suggestive, each track flows smoothly, catapulting the listeners towards a different and exciting soundscape, one song after the other. The incredible sound research turned this whole album into a true gem. How did you manage to match the perfect sounds to the lyrics?
I suppose it just came naturally. When I decided to make it a spaghetti western album, it wasn’t really a conscious choice until the very end, and we were thinking about how to promote it. Obviously, in some later tracks, we played on that and added a lot of western vibes. I’ve always been a writer, not just a songwriter but a writer of stories and poems, and I wanted that haunting, western sound. I guess it just happened.
The songs of “Little Black Book With My Poems In” follow one another like the chapters of a novel. How did you decide the order of the tracks? Did the whole album come up naturally during the songwriting process?
Honestly, I wrote the songs so far apart from each other that we had to decide where to put what in order for it to make sense. The songs were written way before I knew it would be a concept album; at least most of them were anyway. So it was quite fun deciding which song should go where.
Can you reveal your creative process? How do your songs come to life?
It’s very random. I could go months without writing a song, and then suddenly I’ll pick up my guitar, and a thousand ideas spring to mind. Sometimes I have written a poem, and I put music to it like I did with Oh Sky, Oh Moon, Oh Stars, and Pictures in The Sky. Other times I’ll pick up my guitar to sing songs, and a new one will just kind of happen. The track “The Sun Will Rise,” the first song on the album, wasn’t even recorded with a mic. I just started strumming and humming into Logic, and we ended up keeping it. Thank god I have an amazing producer because it sounded terrible in terms of quality before he worked his magic on it.
Your songwriting style is truly unique. Among the fantastic tracks of your “Little Black Book With My Poems In,” songs like “The Beating of Our Hearts,” “Good Morning, Sleep Head,” and “Oh Sky, Oh Moon, Oh Stars” show how versatile and dynamic your music is. Can you tell us more about these songs?
The Beating Of Our Hearts was written while I was traveling in America. The melody on that song is something I’m so proud of, and I still feel the recording on the album doesn’t do it much justice. It’s about having a partner that is ambitious and free and wild but not to the point of letting themselves go. I believe to be wild and free, you also need to be disorganized and a bit crazy. And the song is about somebody who was so free and so ambitious and wanted to do everything but would never touch a cigarette. Just a contradictory part of their personality, I guess. Good Morning, Sleepy head is about a woman so broken over the fact that she cheated on her lover that she must kill him before he finds out. It’s mostly a song about regret and how our actions affect other people. Oh Sky, Oh Moon Oh Stars really speaks for itself. Originally a poem, it’s about a person that harbours a lot of pain and anger towards her enemies; she wants them to pay. And she asks the gods, the stars, the sky, to look over her while she attempts to avenge them.
“Ode to the Devil (Mother Mary)” is another excellent track that, strong of the intimate arrangement, arrives as massive as a true masterpiece can be. Can you tell us more about the lyrics of this song? What’s the story behind this fantastic track?
Ode To The Devil is a track that I really don’t know how to explain. It kind of just came to me one day. The chorus especially. It’s about a person begging god and mother Mary to release her of her sins and realising that her sins are so abhorrent that even angels won’t forgive her. I mean, it can be about anything, really. It’s also about the sins of enemies, which brings the whole revenge theme back into it.
If you could collaborate with a movie director that could turn your music into a movie, who do you think would be the perfect fit for “Little Black Book With My Poems In?”
Definitely Quentin Tarantino or David Lynch. They are both my heroes.
What are your plans for the future?
I plan to do a mini-tour of the new album. Around London, East Sussex, and the north. And then I guess I plan to make more music.
Stella, it was such a pleasure having you with us today. Your album “Little Black Book With My Poems In” is truly fantastic, and we can’t wait for your next release! Is there anything you would like to say to our readers?
Yes – if you’re an artist and you’re not sharing your art, you are committing a crime against humanity! You were given your talent to share it; it’s your responsibility to do that. Make your art, and share it. Artists don’t hear that enough. Also, thanks so much for this interview! Some really great questions and I can tell you’ve taken the time to explore the new album. Greatly appreciated.
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