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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 20 years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, and B-movies. Part time ninja. Kicked cancer’s ass. My memoir, ChemBro, is out now!
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Vid Pick: Stela Cole – Lucky Day
Friday, December 07, 2018

If you’ve been searching for a big, bold new voice in pop music, today is your “Lucky Day.” Meet, Stela Cole – a Nashville, by way of Georgia, artist whose latest single, “Lucky Day,” showcases her unique combination of influences, which include doo wop, ‘60s pop, and modern mainstream hip-hop.

With a sound and vibe that are as decidedly her own as her bright outfits and old school hairstyle, Cole’s video for “Lucky Day” is a playful romp through a retirement community where love blossoms for two frisky old folks.

Wanting to know more about Cole, and “Lucky Day,” I caught up with her to ask her about the video, as well as where she picked up her musical influences. Cole also discussed the difficulties she had embracing her true self growing up, and how a soccer injury as a teenager turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

Let’s talk about the video for your latest single, “Lucky Day.” How’d you come to land on “frisky old folks in a retirement community” as the theme for the clip?
So for my “Lucky Day” music video I wanted something super cheeky/funny to grab people’s attention, and to get the song’s message across, but I also wanted something sweet, to not make my fans or audience uncomfortable.

I love bold colors and anything remotely vintage, so that was also a BIG thing I was looking for.

I saw lots of treatments for my video and eventually came across (director) Kristyna Archer. She created such a smart plot that perfectly captured every aspect I wanted my video to have. I’d say it definitely got the message across, and is just a friendly lil reminder that your grandparents still get it on. {laughs}

Also, fun fact – we shot this video in an actual retirement home. If you look in the background of the bingo scene, you can see some of the residents in the video.

How much fun did the old folks have filming it?

I’d say they had a good time filming it. There were lots of laughs throughout the day. It was a funny video to make.

I think the two of them truly made the video come to life, all the way from the butt grabbing to the hilarious facial expressions. Definitely a 10/10 experience, and an 11/10 couple.

Do you consider that couple “old folks life goals”?

Oh I for sure consider the couple “old folks life goals.” In my opinion it’s never too late to find love, so I’m glad I got to have some sweet playful moments captured in my video.

From your voice, to your fashion sense, to your hair, everything about you is big and bold. Can you ever remember a time when this wasn’t the case? Was this how you were as a kid?
I’m extremely into fashion – I always have been, and I always will be – but I grew up in a relatively small town on the outskirts of Atlanta, and not a lot of people dressed up there, or (they didn’t) dress up “extravagantly” at least. {laughs}

I always felt like I could never fully express myself the way I wanted to without getting “looks” from people around town, so when I moved away from home and chose music as my full-time career, I finally started to dress creatively and carry myself 100% authentically.

Looking back, I should have just been myself and not cared about what other people thought, because now I definitely don’t care if people don’t like the way I present myself.

Were you always interested in performing? When you were a kid did you do all the school plays, and talent shows? If so, do you have a favorite talent show moment?
It’s funny, I always liked the spotlight growing up, but I never took music or performing seriously until I was about 17 years old. I grew up playing soccer and didn’t discover music as my purpose in life until I had to give soccer up (due to a back injury), but honestly, thank goodness that happened, because I love being an artist more than anything.

Before I became an artist, though, I always did the talent shows in middle school and high school, and I participated in musicals my junior and senior year of high school, as well. I actually think musical theatre influenced my music, and the way I present myself as an artist. I love anything flamboyant, colorful, and orchestral.

I’d say my favorite moment performing back in school was when I sang at my middle school talent show in the 6th grade. This was the very first time I realized I could sing, and marked the beginning of my love for performing.

You mentioned that you used to play soccer. Do you still have an interest in sports? Are there teams that you root for? Can you be found in the stands at a game?
I was definitely more into sports when I played, but I’d still consider myself a sports person. I still go to the soccer fields with my friends from time to time, and I love watching soccer anytime it’s on.

I’d have to say I’m rooting for Atlanta United. I’m dying to go to one of their games.

Atlanta United, if you’re reading this, hook Stela up! Moving back to your music, your inspirations range from doo wop and ‘60s pop, to modern mainstream hip-hop. What initially sparked your interest in these very different forms of music, and what were some of your first experiences with them; be it listening, or performing?

My dad had me listening to all kinds of music growing up. I mean anything, you name it. It was great because I was exposed to so many different genres and I was able to discover which ones I loved at such a young age.

My dad and I used to dance around the house to the song “At the Hop” by Danny and the Juniors, which was one of my first memories of listening to doo-wop.

I fell in love with doo-wop because everything centered around it is so charming, and easy to remember. (It’s) sometimes almost nursery-rhymey, which is something I like to start with in my music a lot.

On the complete other side of the spectrum, I got my hip-hop influence from being an athlete. I would listen to it nearly every day to get warmed up for practice, or for games. The honesty and transparency in rap is something I’ve always respected so much.

When I started writing, it was pretty natural that hip-hop and doo-wop came together. I will say I’m slowly starting to use more organic sounding drums in the songs I’ve been writing recently, but I think hip-hop will always have some kind of mark in my music.

What was the first concert you went to? How old were you, and what do you remember from it?
My first concert was Taylor Swift from her Fearless tour back in 2009, so I guess I must have been 12. {laughs}

I LOVED Taylor Swift growing up. Her songwriting is amazing, and I think so highly of her.

I remember being completely blown away at how massive the production (for the concert) was. I felt like it was an entire experience, way more than just a concert. That’s how I want my concerts to feel. I want my fans walking away from my shows feeling like they were a part of something.

Judging by your Instagram you’ve done a bit of traveling. Tell me about a place you’ve been that you’d love to return to and get lost in – as in wander the streets and really take it all in.
I LOVE to travel, Learning about different cultures, and exploring new places, might just be the coolest thing ever.

I went on a vacation to London with my family earlier this year and I’ve wanted to go back ever since. We did a lot of touristy things since it was our first trip over there, but I wanna get in on all the local hangouts, and work on my music there. It’s such a beautiful, inspiring city.

Finally, if you could have dinner with any three artists, living or deceased, who would they be, and why?
This is a really difficult question, but my first pick would have to be Freddie Mercury. My other two would probably be Lizzo, and Bruno Mars.

Freddie Mercury is my biggest musical inspiration, and Queen is my all-time favorite band. When it comes to having the courage to be 100% myself, and making music completely authentic to me, I get all that inspiration from them. Their music is so spontaneous and colorful, which has inspired me to be creative in the same way.

I just feel like Freddie Mercury is such an exotic, complex person, and I wish I could talk to him, and learn everything about him and how he works.

I’d have dinner with Lizzo because she’s another prime example of being unapologetically unique, and she’s hilarious. She doesn’t care about other people’s opinions of her, and I admire that so much.

Lastly I’d have dinner with Bruno Mars because he’s just fucking cool. His music is insane, and he’s one of the most talented performers ever. I love his confidence and presence as an artist, and having dinner with him would definitely be an experience.

For more Stela Cole, check out stelacole.com, and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Photos: Kacie Tomita


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:00 AM  
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