Welcome to The Drop, Refinery29's new home for exclusive music video premieres. We want to shine the spotlight on women artists whose music inspires, excites, and (literally) moves us. This is where we'll champion their voices.
Today might just be your lucky day — because it's possible that it's your first time hearing of Stela Cole, a new pop artist whose songs have an almost addictive quality. I know this because I had to have listened to the Georgia native's "Lucky Day" at least four times in a row before hopping on the phone with the artist who exists in a middle ground between pop, hip-hop, and '50s jukebox.
With a playful confidence, Cole — whose EP Throwing Up Butterflies debuted this summer — stars in a music video for the single that is just as fun as the song itself. Taking place at a retirement home, Cole gets flirty with a cute guy while the two senior citizens also explore their own romance. Everyone gets lucky in Cole's video, which is premiering on Refinery29.
Over the phone, I spoke to Cole about Katy Perry, her small town upbringing, and the life-changing incident that inspired her to give music a shot.
Refinery29: How did you come up with the theme for the video?
Stela Cole: "I just wanted something very fun and playful, even though it is a song about hooking up. Kristyna Archer, my music video director, she listened to what I wanted the video to be so well. She came up with the idea of having it be in a retirement home. I thought it was brilliant: It got across the point of people falling in love and hooking up in such a playful way. I thought it would make people laugh and smile."
"It's funny, because when I was trying to figure out a direction of the music video [with Kristyna, the director], I watched all of Katy Perry's videos. Those videos are really colorful, they pop out at you, and they're cheeky and fun."
You grew up in a small town in Georgia. How did that affect your music?
"I feel really lucky to have grown up in Peachtree City, it was a really special place to grow up. But it was one of those places where I felt like I couldn't break out and be 100% myself, which, in a way, made me want to be more unique, as a form of [rebelling]. I always felt like I had to act and be a certain way. When I started to get into songwriting, I was writing about completely opposite things — the crazy side of myself. Sometimes living in a small town, where everyone knows everything about you, can be hard. So in a way it made me more unique than another place would have."
How did you realize a love of music?
"I grew up as a soccer player, since I was four-years-old, up until I was 16. Then I had a really severe back injury [and couldn't play] and wasn't able to walk normally for about a year. During that time I was really lost and depressed. I was looking for a way to get out of it, and songwriting kind of came out of nowhere. Before I knew it, I was on my little piano in my room everyday, and it kind of turned into this therapeutic thing that helped me get over my injury, emotionally and mentally."
What advice would you give a young, aspiring musician who wants to do what you're doing right now?
"It sounds so cheesy, but the one thing I've learned so far is that the more true you are to yourself, the more authentic you are, and the more real and honest you are in your writing, the more people will gravitate towards that. And the happier you'll be. If you try to hide something about yourself, you're not going to be as happy as you would be if you were being confident in everything that makes you quirky and unique. I definitely feel like, my number one thing, is to be yourself, no matter what."
Check out the video for "Lucky Day" below.
This interview has been condensed for style and clarity.