From becoming a viral star with her sister at age 12, after being an actor for six years on the US drama series Nashville, to now being a touring solo artist; Lennon Stella has lived a different life than most 19-year olds. Tonight, she plays her first Dublin show, supporting Anne-Marie on the 'Speak Your Mind' tour in 3Arena.
Although it is Stella’s first show, it is not her first time in Ireland’s capital city: “Me and a friend were travelling through Europe and we chose to come to Dublin. I loved it so much.” Playing the first concert in a sold-out arena may seem like jumping right into the deep end, but the Nashville star is calm, collected and anticipates good things: “It’s going to be awesome. It’s different opening [compared to headlining]. It’s been interesting to see how different cities have different energies. But I feel like everyone is always so warm here, it’s going to be a good vibe.”
Growing up on a farm in rural Ontario, herself and her sister were homeschooled, with no internet or cable TV. Very different from her humble childhood, Lennon Stella’s routine now is that of a modern pop star: heavy touring and staying active on social media. “It’s still super new to me,” she confesses. “Prior to this tour I did my headline tour, which was the only other experience I’ve had with this world. I’m definitely getting used to it. But I feel as long as I stay the same and go about it as if it’s just something else to do with my day, I’ll be fine… But it’s been so fun.”
While taking the whole experience very much in her stride, the young pop star still longs for the secluded life. “We were, well, ‘hillbillies’… but like we weren’t that hillbilly,” she laughs, speaking of her family home. “We lived on a lot of land. So that’s where I feel most comfortable: on a lot of land in the middle of nowhere. I would definitely go back to that when I have a family of my own.”
Being away from home, hanging out in a dressing room and travelling in a tour bus are each a far cry from where the singer is most at peace, but she comes equipped with some remedies for homesickness: “There are so many sterile senses that happen when you’re in different dressing rooms or venues. Nothing is homely. It can be so synthetic. I have a couple of apps like Headspace that I just sit with and that does help me when I’m homesick. But I’m a big candle person! Literally the first thing I do when I get home is light all my candles. I need to deck out my dressing room with a lot of those.”
It might seem unusual to hear that this grounded and affable young adult is currently promoting her latest single called BITCH. A song consisting of the chorus line: “It takes a bitch to know a bitch.” However, the song is not an autobiographical theme song, merely a dialogue in a relationship back-and-fort, which may have gotten a bit too heated. “It’s more of a concept,” she states. “But, I am a Leo, so we can get sassy. Loyalty and fairness is a big thing for me. If something’s not fair I can definitely get bitchy.”
Something rather contrary to the sharp jab of BITCH is her single Like Everybody Else: a ballad about the doubt and isolation accompanying a celebrity life. Finding a way to balance your self-assurance, while drinking the social media cocktail of praise and trolling, can be a tricky one.
But Stella has found a way to silence the voice of uncertainty: “I’m going to sound like I’m really up in the clouds, but when I’m really in tune with myself and the universe, that’s when I feel the least doubtful. I think social media, with everything shoved down your throat at all times, can be not a great thing. But if it’s used for good it makes you feel like there’s a whole community of people around you that can literally boost you up.”
As an artist that is very involved with her fans on social media, she does admit that there can be an unavoidable disconnect that comes with the relationship: “It’s such a weird concept, honestly,” she says, before sharing her tactic to break the barrier between artist and fan: “On my headline tour we did meet and greets after every show. There can be an instant pedestal that someone puts you on. But I try from the second I meet someone to knock that down. When I feel like someone is looking at me like ‘oh it's that girl from TV,’ or ‘I’ve seen you on social media,’ that literally makes me feel like I’m on the centre of a frigging iceberg in the middle of the ocean! I feel so isolated and so awkward. So, I immediately try and knock that down, because we’re literally all the same.”
After a few more writing retreats later this year, the plan is to release her debut album in January 2020, as well as a big collaboration coming soon: “There’s a collaboration coming up that is not on my album, but I don’t know if I can announce that yet,” she says, before looking over to her manager and seeing a sincere nod from left to right. Turning back, she laughs: “Ok not yet.”
It’s shaping up to be a busy year for the Canadian native, with another support tour with The Chainsmokers coming in September and a few festival appearances in between. But it feels like this is only the start of big things for Lennon Stella.