Growing up in a family that live and breathes music, R&B singer-songwriter STELLA packs up her bags and set out to find her own voice, learning fluently outside her family’s name as she paves her own way with her own brand of music.
Stella Santana grew up in a household wherein there’s not a lot of quiet moments. If her last name is familiar, it’s because she’s the daughter of Carlos Santana, one of the music prolific and notable guitarists in the industry. Both her grandfathers were also musicians, as well as her brother Salvador, who’s a rapper and keyboardist. But it’s eminent that Stella wants her own spot in the sun, that’s why creating her personal sound is imperative. And just like Beyonce and Madonna, the singer drops her last name and just goes by Stella.
“I am starting to be able to recognize when an artist can walk the line of listening but also staying true to herself.”
Her music is magnetic— it’s R&B, soulful, and her voice warm and seductive. Pushing the limits to self-expression, Stella admits that she loves to write and that she has no problem with translating herself through her music. “If I feel something deeply, I have to write it down. It might not make it into a song but most of time it does,” admits the 32-year old singer. She sites Frank Ocean as an inspiration on how she writes her lyrics, saying that she loves how he goes out of the norm of a song’s arrangement, making it very much his own. Probably just like anyone whose process of writing would be to tap from personal experience, that’s where Stella also gets her penchant to create identifiable stories to sing. When asked about the very first song she wrote, she said that it was about a boy. “I think the first song I wrote was called “Dead Weight,” I needed to get out what I was feeling, but I don’t necessarily want to talk to the person, so I guess I talk to myself,” says Stella. Another song that was triggered due to personal occurrence would be “Repossess,” in which waking up in the middle of the night with a guy that she was with, had her writing up in a frenzy. “I felt like I wanted to get as far away from him as possible. I thought of him as a package I’d received that I wanted to return and never see again. So I jotted down a few lines, went back to bed, then woke up, and went to the studio the next day and wrote the whole thing,” shares Stella.
“If I feel something deeply, I have to write it down. It might not make it into a song but most of the time it does.”
Last year, she released Selfish, an album that she wrote whole-heartedly and with deep honesty as she filled it with songs of sorrow and moving on. The album was produced both in New York and in Los Angeles mixed by sound engineer Daniel Lynas, who’s known for his work with A$AP Rocky’s Long.Live.A$AP record. With a voice that has a likeness with Erykah Badu and a touch of Macy Gray, Stella’s music is perfect for you to put your feet up and relax on. When asked about her biggest influences in music, she said that she looks up to people who aren’t afraid to be who they really are. “It’s hard to listen to yourself in this industry because there’s a lot of people talking to you and giving their opinions. I am starting to be able to recognize when an artist can walk the line of listening but also staying true to herself,” says Stella. While she enjoys making her own kind of music, Stella is not afraid to welcome all the possibilities in-store. She admits that it would be fun to work on a deep house album someday, as well as collaborate with musicians like Robyn, Miley Cyrus, Cardi B, Francis and the Lights, Kendrick Lamar, and even with her father Carlos. She’s busy working on new music and getting ready to release another EP next year, which she’s actually thrilled about, so we’ll be hearing more of Stella and we’re surely looking forward to it.