It’s been a massive 2017 for Stella Donnelly. After the release of her debut EP Thrush Metal, she took home the hefty first incarnation of the Levi’s Music Prize at BIGSOUND, and it’s been from strength to strength ever since.
Before her name starts popping up on literally every Australian festival through till 2019, we caught up for a quick chat.
Keeping the video content alive, lovely surprises and the Quidditch World Cup: Stella Donnelly runs us through her very snazzy 2017.
HAPPY: Hey, how are you going? What are you up to at the moment?
STELLA: Hello! I am great thank you, I am currently drinking a chamomile tea and about to go out for dinner with my old housemates!
HAPPY: So congrats on all the awards and noms. Is it sinking in yet? Seems like a dream come true.
STELLA: It’s definitely a huge shock, I’m pinching myself every day and immersing myself in my writing and the things that I’ve worked pretty hard to do for the last few years.
STELLA: I likened BIGSOUND to the Quidditch World Cup from Harry Potter and Goblet of Fire. I’m such a nerd but it seriously reminded me of when I was reading that part of the book and it felt like all these people coming together from around the world with the same interest, Quidditch! Or in our case, MUSIC! It was really intense and exciting and I loved every second of it.
HAPPY: Were you still quite new to performing solo at the time? How is that transition coming along now?
STELLA: I’ve been playing solo for a long long time, it’s just the first time that I’ve put my solo stuff out there, I’d been too scared or not ready to do it, but I’m so glad I finally took the leap.
HAPPY: Your EP Thrush Metal has been out for a good few months now. How are you feeling about it? A lot of artists I talk to mention the eternal curse of not being able to fix something that’s out there.
STELLA: The primary intention behind the EP was for it to be as raw as possible and authentic to how I would sound live. So for me it was always going to be a bit ‘rough and ready’ and it’s a really liberating feeling to just put something out there the way that I did. My expectation was to sell 30 or so cassette tapes and then just see how I went, so anything above that is an incredible bonus!
HAPPY: Though the songs seem very personal, I think they cover some really universal experiences. Have you had any fans come forward to share their own stories with you as a result?
STELLA: Boys Will Be Boys in particular is a song that I get a lot of feedback about on my Instagram or Facebook page. A few people have shared their stories with me and all I can do is listen and be there for them as a kind of anonymous person that they know will never share what they have written to me. A lot of people hadn’t told their family or friends about their experiences and that the song gave them the confidence to do so. All I could ever ask for is that it sparks conversation, not just between victims but also between humans in general, especially boys.
HAPPY: Your Facebook videos are something special. Any hot hot tips for all the aspiring DIY content creators of the world?
STELLA: Hahaha, I swear most of my insta-stories are of me annoying the shit out of my boyfriend and housemates. They hate me.
HAPPY: This one’s a personal fave. We know Perth has been strong for a long time but seeing the acts lined up like this is insane. For us Sydneysiders, who are some newer Perth acts you’ve stumbled on lately?
STELLA: Yes! Terrible Signal just put out some singles on their Soundcloud. Body Boys just put out an EP which is amazing and finally Telete has a new single coming out really soon which is lyrically incredible.
HAPPY: You have a ton of shows lined up, one in London! How did that come about?
STELLA: Omg I know! I’m so excited! I got accepted into The Great Escape Festival which is held in Brighton, UK every May and as part of the first 50 acts to be announced I was asked to go up and do a mini showcase before the real showcase! I’m very pumped and lucky.
HAPPY: Us in Sydney are very excited for The Plot. Are there any artists you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing on that lineup who you’re looking forward to?
HAPPY: Well thanks for the chat!
Catch Stella Donnelly around town:
Fri 27 Oct – St. John’s Church, Fremantle
Thurs 2 Nov – WAMAwards – Gate One, Subiaco
Fri 3 Nov – Code Red Festival, Perth
Sat 4 Nov – WAMFest Live Lot Party, Perth
Fri 17 Nov – Mullum Music Festival, Mullumbimby
Sat 18 Nov – The Plot, Parramatta Park – Tickets
Tues 21 Nov – The Great Escape Festival, London
Fri 24 Nov – Queenscliff Music Festival, Queenscliff
Tues 5 Dec – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne – supporting Mama Kin Spender
Fri 8 Dec – Fairgrounds Festival, Berry
Sat 16 Dec – Rosemount Hotel, Perth – supporting Polish Club
Sat 20 Jan – Sugar Mountain Festival