SOUTH Fremantle singer/songwriter Stella Donnelly is set to be WA’s next big musical export.
Already signed up to Phil Stevens stable, which includes John Butler, The Waifs and San Cisco, the release of her debut EP Thrush Metal resulted in a deal with ATC Live, the European agency behind international successes The Lumineers and Julia Jacklin.
The 25-year-old wanted to establish herself as an artist in Australia before heading overseas, and has done that in spades winning the $25,000 Levi’s Music Prize earlier this year, and five WAMA awards this month.
As if best EP, best folk act, best single and best female vocalist weren’t proof enough of Donnelly’s awesome talent, she was also awarded most popular new act.
Heavily influenced by Billy Bragg, the brutal honesty of Donnelly’s songs belies the sweetness of her voice, none more so than Boys Will Be Boys.
It was a hard song to write Donnelly says, but an important message to get out there.
Written following the rape of a friend, the lyrics deal with the culture of victim blaming:
“Why was she all alone
Wearing her shirt that low
They said ‘boys will be boys’
Deaf to the word
No, no, no, no.”
The song garnered support for its message in Australia, but in the US she was trolled “by men saying awful sexual things”.
“But these things make you stronger and if I’m upsetting people like that…I’m doing something right.”
Donnelly is in residence at Mojo’s, North Fremantle for three Wednesdays on December 13, 20 and 27.
She says she’s cherry-picked some amazing artists to perform with her, including Noongar choir Koondarm.
by JENNY D’ANGER