(SXSW 2018 flavoured!) Quickfire Questions #132: Stella Donnelly

By on Thursday, 8th March 2018 at 1:00 pm

Perth, Australia singer/songwriter Stella Donnelly will make her excursion to Austin next week for SXSW 2018, on the strength of her debut EP ‘Thrush Metal’, which has been picked up for release in the U.S. via Secretly Canadian. The EP contains a couple of provocative and very thoughtfully written tracks, including ‘Boys Will Be Boys’, which Donnelly herself describes on YouTube as “my attempt at making sense of society’s tendency to blame the victims of sexual assault and rape and make excuses for the perpetrators.” She continues, “The video itself was intended to express the burden of victim blaming and sexual assault on the victims themselves as the mundane aspects of life go on. A song is just a song but at the very least I hope it will open up difficult yet important conversations between family members, friends, government bodies, organisations and most importantly, boys and men.”

Before she packed her bags to head to America, Donnelly took the time to answer our SXSW-themed Quickfire Questions. Her responses below provide us some interesting information about her childhood and musical influences, as well as clueing us in on the one thing she’s most looking forward to doing while in Austin (hint: it’s not singing!).

Describe your music / sound in three words. (We know, tricky…)
[Ms. Donnelly left this answer blank, which only whets our curiosity more. We’ll have to take a listen while we’re in Austin and get back to you on this one! -CC]

What have you heard about the festival? Are you excited / anxious / scared / etc. and why?
I have heard SXSW be described as the rambunctious yet kind older brother of other showcase festivals like The Great Escape (UK) and BIGSOUND (AUS). If you ask me at certain times of the day about how I’m feeling leading up to the festival, I have a different answer each time, sometimes nervous, sometimes excited, sometimes utterly terrified.

Of the bands who have already been announced, are there any you’re particularly interested to see? If yes, who are they and why?
Being from Western Australia, I don’t get to see other bands from both Australia and Wales (where I grew up) play very often so I’m really excited to support and watch all of the Welsh and Aussies who are representing at SXSW!

What are you most looking forward to doing while you’re in Austin?

Name something you’re packing in your suitcase that we might find unusual.
A foam roller for my back! It’s a long flight from Perth to Austin.

If we happen to run into you in a bar, we’d like to buy you a drink. What is your tipple of choice?
Usually it would be a beer, but if I’m at SXSW it would be a peppermint tea, thanks!

Now, let’s get into our usual list of Quickfire Questions…

What song is your earliest musical memory?
My dad holding me above his head as a baby and singing ‘Smoke on the Water’ while he bopped me around.

What was your favourite song as a child?
It changed each week, but I do distinctly remember loving ‘Don’t Need the Sunshine’ by Catatonia.

What song always makes you laugh?
‘Living Thing’ by Electric Light Orchestra because we used to all make funny dances to it.

What song always makes you cry?
‘Tears in the Typing Pool’ by Broadcast.

What song reminds you of a specific memory?
‘No Woman’ by Whitney represents meeting my boyfriend, Jordan. How cheesy!!

Which song (any song written in the last century / 100 years or so) do you wish you’d written yourself?
‘One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong’ by Leonard Cohen.

Who is your favourite artist? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer, or an actor, visual artist, etc.)
Right now, it’s Aldous Harding.

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
I think I’d still be at university, trying to work it out.

If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why?
Billy Bragg, ‘Workers Playtime’, because it’s the soundtrack to my innocent childhood, so I might have more of a chance of getting in!

Our thanks to Max for arranging this email q&a. After SXSW, Donnelly is planning to embark on a brief tour of America before heading back to Australia for a pair of shows with First Aid Kit and a co-headline tour with Alex the Astronaut. A full list of Donnelly’s upcoming shows can be found on her Bandcamp page. As with all of the SXSW 2018 showcasing artists we feature here at TGTF, Stella Donnelly’s appearance in Austin is subject to change. We recommend that you consult the official SXSW Music Festival schedule for the latest information and updates.

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