Photo: CeCe Dawson
Count it down, because with her debut full-length album, Three. Two. One., Lennon Stella jumps into her own mystical and melodic realm of catchy hooks, relatable nostalgia, heartfelt lyrics, and the kind of soft singing that feels like she's whispering directly into your ears, and your ears alone. Stella sticks the landing, perfectly.
Having started working full-time in the entertainment industry at the tender age of 12 as an actress on the hit show, Nashville, Stella has been bracing herself for this fearless leap into music for years. When asked in an interview with BUILD Series why having complete artistic freedom to create this album was imperative, she answered, "It's so important to be able to really just have everything that you say be something that you actually mean, and it's not something that like words are being fed to you to say, or fed to you to not say. I think it's just so important to really, like if you're going to do it, do it properly and really mean it."
Three. Two. One. is living proof Stella certainly kept her word. This sentiment becomes especially apparent after watching the music video for "Older Than I Am," in which she shares old home videos and sings sentiments we've all felt about wanting to restore lost innocence. With her debut album, Stella delivers a collection of songs brimming with authenticity and intentionality. The result is you genuinely believe each and every uttered word and shared emotional outpour.
Leading up to the release of her album, Stella hosted an Instagram series that featured a few of her artist friends and teased a new track in every episode. During her appearance, Meghan Trainor recognized the way in which Stella's sound effortlessly combines a myriad of styles. She titled the genre, "vibey, melodic, all-time pop," and Trainor couldn't be more right.
If pop's your thing, Stella is your icon. Whatever your particular brand of pop, expect to have the choruses of Three. Two. One. stuck in your head for quite some time. If you lean more into the alternative space, "Bend Over Backwards" and the French pop-evoking "Pretty Boy" offer tasteful musical experimentation, giving you the right amount of darker tones, playing with glimmers of natural light and shadows. If you're enchanted by Stella's raw and rustic voice, I bet you melt a little inside every time you hear her hit that high note towards the end of "Older Than I Am." Best yet, if you're tired of genres and maybe find them too prescribed, Stella is your defiant queen.
Three. Two. One. is not without its fair share of standout moments. "Kissing Other People" sounds like an anthem, makes you dance, and is accompanied by the most endearing music video. Then there's the JP Saxe-assisted "Golf On TV," in which you can't help but fall in love with their respective relationships. During the song, the two artists bond over notions they've never understood, like why people watch golf on TV or care to engage with multiple partners at once.
We would be remiss if we did not mention "Jealous," co-written by the iconic Finneas O'Connell. Simply put, "Jealous" is a perfectly packaged hit song. "Fear Of Being Alone" arrives as a personal favorite. A lot is at play here: eerie, rhythmic production embodying Stella's aura that never overshadows her voice, an unforgettable chorus, evidence of Lennon's seriously impressive vocal chops and range, and wholly believable storytelling.
Three. Two. One. is a beautiful storytelling concoction bestowed upon us by an artist whose story feels like it is truly just beginning. Stella recently took to YouTube Live to say, "Thank you so much for the love on the album. It is literally making all of my hopes and dreams come true, and I feel like everything I manifested and just wanted so much, just to be recognized for and understood, is all happening, and I really can't thank you guys enough."
Listen to Three. Two. One. below: