Sydney native Stella Rhymes sings, raps and writes to the beat of her home town. With a musical journey resembling a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ book, she started out writing poetry then singing in a gospel choir then skipping ahead to Lil’ Kim style rapping before moving on to a string of live soul acoustic gigs and having a corporate career somewhere in between. Now Stella has read ahead and found a story that fits as an EDM/Hip Hop artist and songwriter for up and coming DJs and producers from all over Europe, USA, Australasia and Africa.
How did your singing journey begin?
When I was 7 years old The Australian Youth Choir came to my school to recruit singers. They asked the whole class to sing in unison and one of the recruiters tapped me on the shoulder for a call back audition. I had already dreamt of being a singer by that point but didn’t have the confidence to ask for lessons because I had a major case of stage fright. I even threw up backstage before my first big choir performance! So joining the choir was just the right push my 7 year old self needed to overcome my fear.
What do you want to achieve as a singer and songwriter?
As an active singer, songwriter and rapper I would love for success in each of these domains particularly on an international mainstream level and ideally to a point where I have industry recognition and well developed skills so I can pay it forward and mentor the next generation of artists. But I try not to get too caught up on the finer details of what I want my bigger picture to look like so I can stay focused on enjoying every step of my journey.
Is there a particular warm up process you have before recording vocals?
I use recordings of some fantastic warm up exercises from my singing lessons with Veronica Monro from Sydney Voice Studio including some pentatonic scales and other vocal strengthening exercises. Sometimes I just like revisiting old tracks and using them as a warm up!
Tell us about your songwriting process – is there a particular way you tackle the topline?
Most days I close my eyes and imagine a video clip whilst listening to a new beat. whether singing or writing, visualizing helps me connect and differentiate the emotions and feelings in the beat. Then I will start humming notes or singing words or a sentence/s to match that feeling. At that point the song theme/story is pretty clear and I use the verses to tell the story and the pre chorus and chorus as an emotion driven summary of the story. Then there are also those occasional days where writer’s block hits and I’ll stare at a wall for a while! Or I’ll go for a walk or watch some motivational artist videos or even write down how I’m feeling about having writer’s block to shake me out of it.
What’s your biggest success to date?
I was awarded a Vocalizr gig to work with Czech Republic’s popular radio host & DJ ONdray and producer Simor Stano and together we made a dance track “Escalate”. In May 2017 “Escalate” was featured in the Emmy Award nominated Netflix TV Show Sense8 (S2EP6) after it was personally selected by the show’s producers (makers of The Matrix films). It’s a huge achievement and exposure opportunity for us and pretty amazing that it all started with a Vocalizr gig!
What’s your favourite record that you have performed on?
I truly love every track I’ve performed on and every producer that I’ve worked with. I am my biggest critic and will always strive for that perfect vocal but I’m also starting to see that there is beauty in imperfection and setting something you love free so every track has been a valuable learning experience and a favourite in it’s own unique way.
Who would you most like to work with, and why?
It’s been a dream of mine to work with DJ/Producers from all over the world so I am genuinely loving working with all the up and coming DJs/Producers on Vocalizr – the high level of expertise, enthusiasm and general love of music and collaborating is just amazing! I would also love to work with any big name DJ/Producer in the dance world just for a different experience and to gain insight into how they make their hits.
Which artists do you find inspiring? Why?
I am totally inspired by Sia. The fact that she is a strong Australian woman, a phenomenal singer, songwriter, creative artist and has experienced and overcome so much hardship and somehow turned her life around to be an icon in the industry is mind blowing and inspirational.
Do you have a home studio? If so, tell us about your setup?
I have a home studio with a PC, Neumann TLM 103 Microphone, pop screen, SM Pro Audio Mic Thing, motu 828mk3 sound card, LA-610 Mk II preamp/compressor, Mackie Mixer, KRK Rokit 8 Studio Monitors/Speakers and Bose, Beats and Frends headphones.
Do you have a favourite microphone? If so, why?
Never had a problem with my 7 year old Neumann mic so I highly recommend it!
As a vocalist, have you made new connections through Vocalizr? Has it opened any doors for you as a singer for hire?
I have made so many wonderful connections for life and scored countless awesome opportunities! Vocalizr has truly empowered me to wholeheartedly be the artist I am now and enjoy the ride celebrating every win, even the little ones, and has steered me on a path to becoming the artist I know I can be. I have a number of releases that are actually Vocalizr collaborations with DJ Amely from Malta, DJ Hireckr from India, Adam Lonely from Russia, Moudy Afifi from England, Wesley Joachim from France and many more!