At only 20, rising-star Lennon Stella has already seen a level of success that most wouldn’t even aspire to — a success that’s been marked across multiple platforms, arguably at the same level.
Someone summarized that Lennon Stella’s “songs sound like holographic glitter,” and it’s possibly the most accurate thing that’s ever been written. Her fairy-like tunes fluttered their way back homeward when they caught the ear of fellow Canadian Justin Bieber. At only 20, rising-star Stella has already seen a level of success that most wouldn’t even aspire to — a success that’s been marked across multiple platforms, arguably at the same level.
Another arguable thing is the answer to this question: “Where do I know her from?” It’s hard to say, as Stella’s initial appearances to the world came almost simultaneously.
Remember watching two little girls beat on butter tubs while covering then-Top-40-topper “Call Your Girlfriend?” That was Lennon and Maisy Stella. The resulting viral success of 2012 propelled the sisters into a big(ger) screen endeavor as they began a six-year stint on the musical drama Nashville. A more perfect pairing couldn’t have been made. The young Stella sisters played singer/songwriting siblings Maddie (Lennon) and Daphne (Maisy) Conrad.
The series aired for four seasons on ABC (2012-2016) before a drop in ratings saw its cancellation. Upset, its dedicated fanbase showed digital solidarity when they organized the #BringBackNashville petition. After receiving more than 171,000 signatures, the talking heads of big-box television responded. Nashville was picked (back) up as CMT announced they had negotiated a deal with Hulu.
A hefty, multi-million dollar economic incentive package was also secured from the city of Nashville, which was grateful for its (show) business. As one outlet put it, “Nashville not only brought country music into the homes of millions every week. It brought millions to the home of country music.”
“Of those who watch the show,” they wrote, “an incredible 1 in 5 visitors to Music City said the show was a motivating factor for them actually traveling to Nashville…and when people spend money in Nashville, they’re usually also spending money to support music.”
After running two seasons on its new home network, Nashville took its final bow in July 2018. Stella has since stayed put in the new hometown she found in her starring series’ namesake. The young songstress told POPSUGAR the built-in musical nature served her well.
“I think being on the show really allowed me to just experiment and really create and just discover what music I wanted to make,” she explained. “And I think that the show — it was the biggest reason why I was able to do that.”
“Because I was on the show for so long,” she added, “I was able to just figure out what I don’t like and what I do like. I don’t think I would’ve done that if I wasn’t on a TV show because I would’ve gotten so antsy.”
Detaching from her character, though, posed some challenges.
“The music I was making on the show is so different than the music I’m making now. And the music from the show was a character. It wasn’t me…I tried to gracefully bring everyone along and have them continue being fans of my new solo stuff.”
As if the title “Wild Card” doesn’t speak volumes, a very-underaged Maddie Conrad performed her new rebellion anthem at a seedy nightclub while under the influence of some questionable “friends.” On paper, the rebranding of a clean-cut country girl to that of an electro-chic pop star sounds like an overdone narrative — except Conrad’s “Saved” really saved the whole story. This series-end song isn’t too far off-base from Stella’s real-life solo efforts. Her first single, “Bad,” would drop just two months after Nashville wrapped — and despite being called “Bad,” it’s actually very good.
Stella’s melancholy pop is a lot like that meme of the neighboring houses that are aesthetically opposite; her sad-girl lyrics are disarmed by bubblegum beats. The “Bad” vibe carried over into the November 2018 release of her “Love, me” EP. The fiery five-tracker debuted in the Top 5 of Billboard’s Heatseekers chart before Radio Disney named her their NBT (Next Big Thing) in 2019.
And their forecast was an accurate one.
After appearing taking a “Polaroid” with former One Direction-er Liam Payne and Jonas Blue, Stella added her voice to The Chainsmokers’ summer smash “Takeaway.” Later, she and 5SOS hopped the dance duo’s World War Joy Tour as opening acts.
But the risky move of making a mid-shutdown, career-marking, mega-drop was no longer just an opportunity — weird timing became the whole point while releasing her debut album, “Three. Two. One.”
“That’s exactly it. It’s just a weird time,” Stella said. “But at the same time, there’s something really special about even contributing in the tiniest bit to another thing that people can have to cling to.”
“Just music, in general, I think is such a healing thing. And right now, I’ve even just been taking so much more time to listen to albums, full records, and just really appreciating that and not getting to, honestly, all the time. I think it’s cool to put music out right now in that time where, I think, these songs could be important to people right now. And even more important than it would be before.”
The 42 magical minutes spent inside of Stella’s genius garden will only grow your opinion of her. After all, “an album is when you really get to know somebody.”
Revealing the project was also an act of self-discovery, Stella went a step further: The main purpose of her sometimes-weighty collection is to help people feel understood.
“Hopefully, it just makes people feel good.” We’d have to say she succeeded on that count.
Check out all the ways to listen to Lennon Stella’s debut album “Three. Two. One.” by clicking here.