You have gotten up this morning, determined not to lose another bus. As you close the door behind you in that North London flat that has become your home the past few years, you see this girl going down the road riding an old bike. What is she doing up at this time or has she not returned home since last night? And what is this vanilla flavored voice with a hint of roughness? Yes, you’re late again.
Read our interview with Stella Talpo below!
Describe your sound in 3 words
seductive, self-reflective, evolving / fluid
Tell us a few things about your new single Water. What is the story behind it?
‘Water’ is a playful, tongue-in-cheek track about my inner saboteur. It was born out of a frustration with my tendency to keep going back to things and behaviours I knew weren’t good for me, ‘falling into temptation’ for the instant gratification, avoiding the unavoidable. It references my struggles with mental health in my twenties and this half of me that just wanted to forget everything and just have fun, thinking it would be easier than to facing my issues head on. Guess the best way to put it is if you are a smoker trying to quit and you think, “oh, go on then”… that’s Water. It’s about the cyclical nature of that, 10 steps back for every 2 steps forward – of course, the bridge offers the self-reflection and shame that follows “giving in”, when you think, that’s the last time, no more…
Why are some people addicted to self-sabotage?
Isn’t that the golden question. I mean, it depends on the person and it depends on the context. I don’t think there’s one reason and there’s certainly many nuances and complexities within any one reason that anything I conclude in a short paragraph would be reductive. I think in my experience, it’s just learned behaviour. If we’re used to a certain kind of emotion or experience, a certain result, being conditioned with limiting beliefs in what is possible etc, we tend to unfortunately play those out unconsciously. I think low self-worth, a lack of self-belief and ultimately, fear, are huge factors for why we sabotage ourselves… fear is paralysing and we’d much rather stay in the comfort zone of the toxic cycles we’re familiar with then abandon ship and risk feeling vulnerable, unsafe or God forbid, prove to ourselves that we’re not good enough. “You can’t fail if you don’t try”, as they say. I think the misconception about self-sabotage is that if we can’t take ourselves out of it, there’s something wrong with us. It’s simply not down to willpower or lack of wanting to… we’re up against years of learnt behaviours so really until we can get to the root of why we’re afraid or why we feel a certain type of way, why we keep going back to those things / people, we’re kind of setting ourselves up for failure. Blaming ourselves for not being strong enough is another part of the cycle so it just feeds the self-sabotage to do so.
Which is your most personal and honest lyric?
That’s a tough question. They’ve all been the most personal and honest at the point of writing but I guess if I had to choose one right now… probably the first verse of ‘Water’ or the chorus to my next single, ‘Where Did I Go’, which goes: “Tell me where you want me, where you go I’ll follow. What do you think cos I’m nobody till you tell me so. Afraid of saying the wrong thing I say nothing at all… Wonder who I would have been”.
Your music is characterised by your lovely vocal delivery. Which vocalist do you admire?
Thank you 🙂 I admire so so many vocalists, it’s hard to narrow them down. I guess the vocalists I am totally in awe of are the ones you can tell are just so real and free, so present and yet ethereal that they make you feel some type of way that feels out of body. For me, they include Billie Holiday, Billie Eilish (they’re intimacy is unparalleled), Donny Hathaway, Rosalia, Christina Aguilera, Amy Winehouse, Sam Cooke. I’ve missed out loads but those are some of the vocalists who’ve really affected me.
Born in Milan, raised in Singapore, currently based in London. What do you love/hate for each place?
Oooooo, toughie. I can’t speak to Milan to be honest, because I left Italy when I was 1. If I had to hazard a guess from going back a couple times a year then I’d say, love: food, hate: being worst dressed. For Londonnnnn, love: the people, hate: the price. And Singapore, love: the food, hate: the humidity.
When did you decide to become a musician yourself?
To be honest, I wanted to be a musician / performer since I was very small, about 3. I used to walk around with one of those tape recorders just making up songs all day and learn all my favourite dances and tunes to perform to my parents’ friends when they had dinner parties (bless them for sitting through it every time). I was about 13 when I wrote my first song with a guitar. I had my whole career arc planned out because it was always, since childhood, an unwavering decision. Of course things never go to plan but if you knew how indecisive I am, you’d know how big a deal that was haha!
Your biggest fear?
Sharks and upsetting people.
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