Tuesday, April 24, 2007

MySpace Music Discoveries: Annie Stela

Annie Stela: She may be young, but she definitely has the pipes and lyrical know-how it takes to create a song that's less refined than a ballad, but definitely more elegant than a top-40 tune.

Annie Stela's first fans were probably college students, since her musical career began right about the time when she started college over by the Great Lakes. As her MySpace page explains, she kept it simple. Stela began touring with just her piano, but her voice really is an instrument on its own.

It can be said that Stela's music tends to resemble a meaningful homemade card over a store-bought Hallmark. Sincerity overrides the cheesiness factor, even in the love song that I referred to earlier, the one I just can't seem to get enough of, "It's You." There is also something about the piano, and even though its sound brings to mind Fiona Apple, it has a different ring to it. The chords are a bit softer along the edges, maybe more romantic. The singer behind the music is also worth mentioning. While still keeping its overall femininity, Stela's voice is deep but not dark and brooding. It steers clear of angst, but doesn't come anywhere close to detestably peppy.

One of the other songs on her page, "Breathe Through," is a bit more complicated than "It's You." The first line already invites the listener into someone else's world. Stela draws up images and awakens feelings with words that animate a story. Its somewhat sorrowful message is accurately captured in the actual piano-playing and fluctuating high and low notes bearing the vulnerable lyrics. "Fool" reveals Stela's ability to incorporate other instruments appropriately. It keeps a faster pace than "Breathe Through" but it still shares its personal tone, as the lyrics confess regret. The climax of the song would have to be the piano solo toward the end, where Stela's talent is allowed to shine without blinding.

Annie Stela will soon be releasing her first album, but from what I've heard on her MySpace page, she definitely doesn't sound like a newbie. The years of practice behind the piano have definitely paid off, and I'm sure in a few months they literally will. I'm looking forward to hearing what else she has to offer.


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