Written by Sophie Wyatt
After being born in a small town next to Milan to two Italian parents, growing up in Singapore before then moving to the UK and following her love of music, Stella Talpo has gained a lot of interesting life experience. The soulful musician has been releasing music for the past seven years, and since starting to create her own tunes has grown a loyal fan base. Her emotional and truthful lyrics lift listeners up and take them on a journey, to not only the inner workings of her mind but also her thoughts on what is going on around her in the world.
Haste first met Stella over Zoom in 2020 – in the midst of Covid lockdowns. Since then, Stella has thrown herself into creative development and further music creation. “The last 3 years have felt like 6!” she says. “Feels like three lifetimes ago since we were chatting ‘first burn’ in the throes of covid lockdown. Some of the highlights have been getting back to, albeit slowly, doing live shows and being able to gig some of those songs that came out when we were inside and finishing my debut album. I quit my full time job at the end of 2021 and that was definitely a huge milestone that undoubtedly contributed to me being able to focus on writing and moving closer towards the artist that I wanted to be. If you’d told me then that in 2023 I’d finish writing an entire album that I was really proud of and uncompromising on, I would have laughed in your face.”
And it is this album that Stella is in the process of releasing to her fans. So far the singer has released three tracks; ‘GOOD GIRLS‘, ‘QUICKSAND‘ and ‘DUST‘. While each of them represent different messages Stella has crafted for herself, she explained to us that each one is complex in its own way. She went on to give us a brief summary of each;
“‘GOOD GIRLS’ focused on the female-identifying experience in the world and the music industry, being pitted against other women for that “one seat at the table”, inculcated into believing that we have to be something else in order to be worthy and forgetting that our greatest strength is our wildish nature and each other. I think after its release I realised the greater message was human-identifying in that somewhere along the way we’ve been disconnected from our inner power.
‘QUICKSAND’ I wrote whilst I was experiencing an uncharacteristic low. I’ve ebbed and flowed in my life but this time felt particularly dark and heavy, like there were forces pulling my feet down as I tried to take steps forward, like Quicksand. I think it was both articulating that feeling of dark helplessness and accepting that it as an aspect of myself that I can’t control, like time passing which I also allude to, and trying to control either only perpetuates the problem / it escaping you.
‘DUST’ is my bad b**** anthem. I wrote it as an inspiring antidote to the feeling I outlined in QUICKSAND. It’s that moment of reckoning where you’re like, cool I’ve let this be for a while, now I’m going to take back over. I wanted it to serve as that kick up my ass, a reminder of what I am (we are!) really made of and that all that darkness, when you don’t let it take the wheel by suppressing it, can actually become a strength.”
When describing her music, many turn to the label of R&B, but Stella finds it hard to pin it down herself. Pulling from different vocal styles and intertwining conflicting sounds, she says that she feels it leans more into “Cinematic Pop”.“It’s funny, so many people refer to my music as R&B and I really struggle to see it as that,” she laughed. “I don’t have the vocal chops or style to call myself an R&B vocalist and I definitely think that genre is so smooth and characteristic that I always wonder if I hear my music differently to everyone else. In that same breath, I actually don’t know how I would sum it up myself. I went in to the studio with these songs I’d written and literally said to Lewis, let’s make this as chaotic as possible. I drew a lot of inspiration from Labrynth’s Euphoria soundtracks, I loved the epic trailer vibes, the drama, the unpredictability of it all. So maybe I’d sum it up as chaotic alt-something.” And the singer went on to explain that rather than the soulful feels people get from an R&B style song, she wants people to “really want them to feel their bodies reawaken, to feel inspired and driven and empowered and ready to fuck shit up,” when they hear her new tracks.
As the tracks continue to roll out ahead of the album release, fans are on the edge of their seats to hear what Stella has in store for us. When describing some of the themes we can expect to hear, Stella said; “our wildish natures, embracing our shadow selves, letting go of societal conditioning and the way in which we’re expected to be. Very primal themes and visceral imagery to explore different aspects of womanhood, humanhood, feminism, the messiness of existence and being conditioned to believe something’s wrong with that due to the sterility and disconnection we experience in ‘civilized’ society.”
With the album out on the 13th October (“just for extra superstitious juju,” she explained) we are counting down the days until we get to hear the project as a whole. As the interview came to a close, Stella teased us with the news of a launch party for the album release in early November, as well as some more unconfirmed show dates around the time; “And then… we shall see!“.
Head over to Stella’s Spotify to hear the first three tracks of her forthcoming debut album.