Andrew Hamlin 11 a.m., Dec. 26
Sound description: Trip-hop pop.
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Inception: Oceanside, 2008
Influences: Portishead, James Brown, Prince, the B-52s
In 2008, Stella Donna began making trip-hop-rooted songs with a former roommate, under the name The Unconditioned Souls. Their six-song EP Re-Renaissance was never released, and the duo split up before they could take their songs live.
Frustrated, Donna went back to school to focus on journalism, but eventually grew restless. “After my aunt passed away in 2009, I decided that life is too short, and I better pursue my dream before becoming jaded. So I dropped everything and began writing songs.”
After taking a receptionist job in 2010 at a small Pacific Beach recording studio, Classified Records, CEO CJ Harris agreed to record and support her 2011 album The Raven.
Samples of Donna’s unmixed recordings can be heard on the internet, or on demos she hands out at shows. The mixtape-style original recordings are establishing her as an underground pop queen with an honest and subtly dark tone.
- The Raven