Q&A: Lennon Stella

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At just 20 years of age, Lennon Stella has already achieved massive success. As a teen, she began with a role on the ABC TV series Nashville as Maddie Conrad, alongside her real-life sister Maisy Stella. It was on that show that she first began developing an interest in songwriting, an interest that would eventually blossom into a full-blown career as a pop singer.

Lennon recently embarked on a tour with The Chainsmokers that will bring her to the Chase Center in San Francisco next week. In between tour dates we spoke to this rising star about her switch from TV to the concert stage, what it was like growing up in the public eye, and what’s the most important lesson her musician parents taught her about the music industry.

Can you give a little background on how you came to touring with The Chainsmokers?

We are on the same label, so I think that kind of had to do with how I got picked to be the supporting act. Doing the song together (“Takeaway“) ties it all in, and makes it make sense. So excited to be a part of it all.

Do you have a favorite Chainsmokers song?

“Roses.”

You’ve been successful since an early age with the show Nashville. How did that experience prepare you for your new career as a singer?

It prepared me with the professionalism and the ability to take notes. And be open to constructive criticism and other people’s opinions.

What’s the hardest thing about growing up in the public eye?

Just having pressures of everyone’s opinions coming at you all of the time — what you’re going to look like and what you’re going to be. Overall just the pressure of having everyone watching is the most difficult.

What do you like most about acting? And what do you like most about singing?

I like that you have a bunch of chances with acting and can do as many takes as you want until you’re comfortable. With music, I like that there are no real rules and you can move in your own direction and be your own guide.

You have a background in country music. What inspired you to switch genres and were you nervous that fans would accept the change?

Well since that was a character, I never viewed it as switching genres. When I was starting to do my solo stuff I was hoping everyone would follow along if it’s something I believed in.

You played San Francisco a few months ago. What was that show like and what do you think of San Francisco crowds?

I actually remember San Fran being one of my favorites from the last tour. The energy was so warm and welcoming and I’m really looking forward to being back soon!

Your parents were musicians in their own right. What was it like growing up in a musical family?

It was constant inspiration and creativity floating around. And has every reason to do with why I am the way I am and the music I make now.

What was the most important lesson they taught you about the industry?

To trust yourself and your instincts and follow your gut and heart. And not let other people’s opinions sway yours.

Lennon Stella plays with The Chainsmokers and 5 Seconds of Summer at the Chase Center in San Francisco // Fri Nov. 29, 7:00 p.m.

Photo by CeCe Dawson

An avid drummer whose discography includes albums on Digital Nations (a Steve Vai imprint), music critic Louis Raphael has always kept a pulse on the San Francisco music scene. After many years as the San Francisco Music Examiner for Examiner.com and AXS.com, he decided to start Music in SF® as a way to showcase what the San Francisco music scene really has to offer.

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