In Conversation with Stella Miranda
Stella Miranda is a 21-year-old Brazilian artist who has just released her debut single Long Night. The ambient track explores the delicate feeling of going out and being with other people, and the impending loneliness that follows going home. Since lockdown, and the lockdowns after that lockdown, the track resonates perfectly in this totally unique climate of isolation and solitude with New Year’s – a time typically written off for partying – happening as I type.
I met Stella in the College of Performing Arts at the New School in New York. She was an acting major and we collaborated on a show together. We were first introduced as she told the story of meeting Timothee Chalamet and Lily Rose Depp in a café in the East Village.
Both of us have since left New York for our home countries, Brazil and Ireland respectively, but we’ve kept in steady contact. In our latest phone call, we spoke about her new musical project, Taylor Swift, and the loneliness of New York.
This was supposed to be an interview, but ended up looking more like a casual conversation.
Annie: Stella Miranda, my friend, how are you doing today?
Stella: I’m doing great. Christmas was awesome. New Year’s right around the corner.
A: Yeah! And with the release of your new song Long Night I bet you’re having a great time.
S: I am! I really enjoyed the feedback of my friends and from those that don’t know me that well, and it was a really fun ride.
A: When did you write that song?
S: That’s a funny thing…Hold on (she tries to find a good filter on messenger that she can stick to). This one?
A: Ooh, yeah.
S: Okay this one is good. I actually, I had something similar to that song but it was in a different order and I didn’t have the chorus. But, what I started to do was, I started with the piano and we added the beat, and then when we had like a certain like harmony for the chorus and the rest, I started adding lyrics. But I had this one in mind that I liked and I wanted to work with. But when I listened back to the music, I changed the order completely, and I created the new chorus. I think I wrote the song at the same time I was writing the music.
A: And was it your dad who produced it for you?
S: Yeah. He was like, let’s do the first one together and then later on you can just like, fly. Fly, and just work with other people and whatever. And it was really, it was really good actually. It took us a while, I think we were working on that song for like two or three months because my dad had his stuff to do and I had other stuff to do, and then we would go back to it. And it was actually really fun. We were in the same… like I was in the couch and he was like in his chair and he was like ‘what about this beat?’ ‘what about this beat?’ ‘what about this beat?’ and I was like ‘I like this one’ ‘I like this one’ ‘this one is nice’ ‘this one is…’ it just it was a fun process, also because I get along with my dad really well.
A: How long have you been writing songs?
S: So I’ve been writing…I’ve been writing poems and stuff like that for like five or six years. I started writing like proper songs in like a song format this year, cuz it was hard for me to visualize the lyrics without some sort of melody. And now I can….I can do that and it’s been so much easier to write. Like I’ve been writing with some kind of melody in my head. Yeah so I’ve been writing, like proper writing since this year.
A: Wow! Cool. And you took a music composition class when you were in New York, right?
S: I did, I did. But it was more like classical music. So the kind of stuff I created was some soundtracks for some scenes, or a song for a poem. We had to make a song based off this e. e. cummings poem,. Yeah I’ve always been kind of interested in this kind of stuff, and I’m really into soundtracks. I’m one of those people that I’m like, watching the movie, but like I’m paying attention to the soundtrack to see if the action fits. Or if it’s one of those soundtracks where it’s actually making the scene worse. I’ve always loved doing that.
A: What are your favourite soundtracks?
S: I really like The Imitation Game. I really like that soundtrack. And I’ve been listening to The Mandalorian soundtrack, it’s so good. It’s made by this new guy, he made the soundtrack for Black Panther, and it’s really good. His name is like Ludwig Goransson. What else? There’s the ones from musicals and I really like the soundtracks, like Across the Universe, but it’s just like, Beatles’ songs. Love it, I love that one. What else? I’m trying to remember from the back of my head. I really like the Django Unchained soundtrack. I love Tarantino’s taste, what can I say? I think he’s really great with the soundtracks. And I also listen to a lot of John Williams. The guy who used to do Harry Potter. Oh, I love the Lord Of The Rings soundtracks. Like I love them. I love them. I know all of them. Like when I’m watching the movies I’m singing along. It’s weird cuz it’s like (she starts singing the LOTR soundtrack)
A: This is my tuuuune! This is my jam!
S: Yeah I’m like YAAAAS wooooo! Absolutely, yeah.
A: Who would your other inspirations be? In music or elsewhere.
S: Well, you know one of them.
A: Is it me?
S: Yeah, you’re my inspiration. I wouldn’t say, like, musically because I don’t know how music works for you and I’ve never seen any songs that you’ve written, but, I – yeah. I like you. But I mean I always start with like Bowie, cuz he’s just…I love that man. I just love that man. I just think we’re siblings somehow. Um, no we’re not, but I just love him. I love his hair, and I love how he’s bold and free and he’s just so creative. I just love him. I could spend a day just talking about what I love about him. I love his eyes. Anyway. But I do love – Bowie’s just always at the back of my head. Like, what would Bowie do? For this song, I was thinking of Everything I Wanted by Billie Eilish. I like how quiet and how simple it is. How things happen without any drastic changes, and there’s this huge fat bass happening in the back and I love it. So I was thinking about that song, when I was writing this song. But - I like Billie Eilish but she’s not like my ‘she’s my reference’. It’s not like that, but I like her. I don’t know, I’ve been listening to Joni Mitchell a lot too. I love her voice, I love everything she does with her voice. Another reference I’ve been listening a lot to this year was Lana del Rey. I liked her last album.
A: Yeah I loved her last album.
S: So good, right?
A: She was my most listened to artist of 2020, isn’t that mad?
A: Yeah, cuz I just listened to that album over and over again.
S: I think mine was Taylor Swift.
S: Because of her last album. I don’t listen to her other songs, but her last albums, folklore and evermore.
A: Oh yeah.
S: So good.
A: I heard folklore is a lot better than evermore.
S: I agree. But they’re both good. But folklore is out of this world, it’s my favourite album of 2020.
S: And she was working with Bon Iver and the guy from The National was producing it, so there’s a different sound to it. It’s not Taylor Swift in her core. It’s a bunch of stuff. I don’t know how to explain it, I just think it’s so great. And it takes you to nature, it takes you to different places. It was good to listen to something like that going through the pandemic. And to listen to something that’s not about the pandemic is great too.
S: Well, you can say that one of my references is Harry Styles. Cuz… he’s cute. What else? I don’t know, I think I like a bunch of like, artists from Latin America, like Caetano Veloso.
A: Can you send me how to spell that?
S: Yes, and I’ll send you Gustavo Cerati. He’s from one of the most popular rock bands from Latin America, from Argentina. He passed away like five years ago or something. Here’s the crazy thing about this. I was a huge fan, he’s my favourite artist, I love his songs so much, there’s no one else in the world I love more than him, in terms of music. And I feel he just gets me somehow. And I was looking at his, his, what is it? His chart, his astrological chart. You know what I mean? Here’s the thing, I’m a Taurus, rising Scorpio, Cancer moon.
A: Are you a Scorpio rising?
A: Oh, I didn’t know that! That’s so funny!
A: I have a lot of friends who are Scorpio risings.
S: We’re nice. Anyway, he has the same three, just in a different order. So he’s like a cancer with a taurus rising and a scorpio moon. So I was like, oh my god! It makes so much sense to me. I just wanted to say that cuz it’s a fun fact. And, yeah, I think those are – Oh yeah, I love the Beatles. I know it’s a cliché one but it’s always in the back of my head, too. I’ve been surrounded by a lot of Taylor Swift, and pop, and Miley Cyrus, and stuff like that unfortunately.
A: Hey! Whatever you’re into, yno?
A: So your song is about like, going out and partying. Right?
S: Yes. Yeah.
A: How does it feel releasing a song right now when we haven’t been able to experience the ambience that that song creates in like, ten months.
S: Well, it feels like shit. It feels like I’m trapped. And I think that’s one of the reasons that I felt the urgency in releasing something that sounded like that, that had that message. Because that’s literally what I was feeling. I was reliving, living again in those memories of those amazing times, cuz I couldn’t go through it now. So I would just think about it and just remember it. And when I wrote it, and when I heard the song, I was like ‘oh my god!’ I miss this! But also because it’s New York, there’s a little bit of… it’s not sadness, but it’s a little bit depressing. Because it’s, when you’re in New York and you’re leaving a party, or even going to a party, there’s a lot of…At least to me there was a lot of lonely times. Because when I had to go back home, I was alone. When I was going to the party I was alone. It took me a little bit of time when I’d get there to just get used to the people and sharing stuff because I was always in that state of introspection or something. Yno? So It’s about going out but it’s also about what I would like. A little bit of what my experience was, in being kind of lonely, and also how I would like to be, with people. It was a little bit of like full experience of not liking it, liking it, and missing it so much, even though it was a little bit lonely. That was a great question, Anna (she says this jokingly)
A: Thank you! It was a great answer, too. Like you can feel, the song is so haunting but it’s also so warm which is a really difficult combination, but you do it so well. I think it’s an excellent, excellent track.
S: Thank you. I’m so glad that you say that, cuz, as I said to you before, like I trust your opinion, because I know we have similar perspectives on stuff. More than a lot of people. They’re just saying it, for the sake of it. ‘It was great’! Was it though?
A: Was it though? I mean, me and you, though, we know our stuff. Our opinions really matter.
S: Yes. Do you remember when we went to that Harry Styles concert?
A: Yeah I do.
S: Yeah I love that. One of the best experiences in New York.
A: So good.
S: I have to write a song about that
A: Do. Please do. It was just like, it was seeing these preteens or early teenage girls with their one direction tshirts and the back they all said ‘Treat People With Kindness’ and then, they started trampling people to get to the front of the Rockerfeller Centre and it was just so, so funny.
S: And then when we got there the sound was shit and we couldn’t see him because we were too far.
And we couldn’t get out because we were like, stuck. It was so bad but it was so fun.
A: So funny.
S: I loved that. Remember we were like, ‘We have to leave early’.
We’re never doing that again.
A: Do you have any more music coming out any time soon?
S: Yeah, I’m already working on stuff. So I think next year, for the first semester and stuff, I’m probably going to launch a four-song EP. Something like that. So you can interview me again.
A: Yay! And lastly, do you have anything you’d like to say to your fans out there?
S: Yes. Um, thank you guys for supporting me, you guys are awesome, I love you guys. And, yeah. And also follow me on Instagram and Youtube.