A folksy Toronto singer-songwriter learns to trust her instincts and break away from the pack.
Forget compasses, GPS, or helpful Sherpas. From June 11–17, Torontoist is here to be your guide to everything NXNE.
Let’s face it: many solo artists get lost in the shuffle during large festivals like NXNE. Which is why it’s always refreshing to come across a clear, resonant voice like Sigrun Stella’s.
She’s from Toronto, by way of Iceland. Her music is as searing as it is simple, proving that sometimes all you need is a good song and an impressive set of pipes to hold an audience’s attention. In an email exchange, Stella told us about her continuing musical journey.
Torontoist: What can we expect from your show at NXNE?
Sigrun Stella: I will be performing songs from my newly released album Crazy Blue, and throwing in a couple of new songs that I have been working on. Sharing the stage with me will be the lovely Naomi Lea Grosman [her backing vocalist] and Michael [Mez] Dilauro [her bass player]. Should be good times, folks.
What has been your favourite moment from one of your shows so far?
Opening up for Of Monsters and Men was a cool experience. Also getting to tour with my good friends in Iceland has been a riot, something I will be doing again this summer.
Who are some of your musical influences?
Growing up, I was surrounded by a lot of music. My grandma was very musical, played guitar, piano, and sang like it was nobody’s business. She was definitely one of my earliest childhood influences.
How was the experience of recording your album Crazy Blue?
It was definitely a typical first record experience. Me figuring out my sound and trying to stay true to myself, not getting caught up in trying to please everyone, trying to be cool. I think that was the hard part for me, to make the decision on showing my true colours in music. Feels like one of those dreams when you are running around naked.
Do you prefer playing larger rooms or more intimate spaces like Free Times Café?
I am used to playing more intimate settings, but love the larger rooms too. I am happy where there is a good enough sound system. Large room, small room—good sound and I’ll be on my game.
What are your upcoming musical plans?
I am currently starting to work on my second record, and also prepping for a mini tour in Iceland this coming August.
What shows are you looking forward to at NXNE?
My plan was to go see Mise en Scene. Too bad we are playing at the exact same time for NXNE. Their live show is killer.