It's hard not to feel the overflowing of passion and positivity when listening to singer/songwriter Stolar's music. Whether it's his new track, "Skeleton Love," about real unconditional love, or his song, "My Own Way," released for the Love Is Louder campaign and dives into his struggles with depression and bi-polar disorder, Stolar bears all with his music, and the result are songs that anyone can connect to. With plenty of new music written, 2016 promises to be a big year for Stolar. Keep an eye out and listen to "Skeleton Love" now below!
Interview by Shannon Shumaker
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself for anyone who may not be familiar?
Of course! Hello to everyone I have yet to meet. My name is Stolar, I spend most of my time writing, performing and producing music all over the place. I’m also a big advocate for mental health awareness and diminishing the stigma around that issue. Besides that, I’m an avid Game of Thrones fan and spend most of my free timehanging out with my friends and family here in NYC. There are lots of other things, but those are some highlights.
I read that you wrote your first song when you were only seven, but when was it that you realized that music was something you wanted to pursue as a career path?
Yeah, I wrote that first song when I was in third grade writing songs in the back room behind my kitchen on an upright piano. I’ve been searching for those old songs but still can’t seem to track them down :( The moment I knew was when I was nine years old and they held auditions for the 5th grade moving up play. I sang in front of people for the first time officially and that was it. I have never turned back.
How do you feel you’ve grown and evolved as a musician since you first became involved up until now?
I’ve actually been thinking about this a lot lately. Over the last 18 months, I think I focus more on the specific relationship between music production and the songs I’m writing. Paul Simon often talks about how deeply connected his writing process is to his production process, almost as if they are one thing, it’s fascinating to me how fine that line is. One wrong move with a piano sound, the EQ of a drum sound or an even an issue in the mix, and the whole song can feel off balance. Suddenly moments that areimpactful in a live setting, can fall completely flat on a record with the simplest imbalance. On the lyric side, my editing is much more specific and obsessive. Overall, I trust myself more than I ever have in the moment.
You just released your new single, “Skeleton Love.” Can you tell us a little bit about this track?
Skeleton Love is about the RAW, real, down to the bone kind of love. The kind that comes once in a lifetime. It’s one of my favorite songs to play and was a really interesting one to create. I was playing the first dance at my friend’s wedding in Carmel, CA and right before I went, a brilliant spoken word artist named Steve Connell performed a poem with a line “I want the skin, I want the bones, I want your skeleton love.” Steve and I met up later that night and immediately connected. I woke up the next morning on a hotel room floor and heard the chorus in my head. Steve and I got together on my next trip LA, and then later that month in a restaurant in NYC to finish the rest of the song. All of this song was written in motion outside of a “normal” writing space.
With the release of the new song, can listeners expect some more new music soon?
Well… We are figuring that out now, but I can confidently say yes, there will be new music coming out soon. Over the last 18 months I’ve written about 80 songs and we have almost finished recording the 20 that made the cut. I’m beyond excited to release this music.
You’ve been very open about your personal battle with mental illness, and even released the video for “My Own Way” as part of the Love is Louder campaign. Why is this openness and vulnerability important to you?
When I had my first major encounter with depression and bi-polar, it paralyzed me. The only reason I am here today is because my friends and family are very open and supportive of addressing mental health issues. Every day I hear stories of people who could have gotten help but didn’t because they had nowhere to turn, or they were afraid of being judged. I truly believe that if we keep talking about the importance of mental health, one day soon it will be as accepted to seek help for your depression as it is to get a cast for a broken bone. That was the goal with the “My Own Way” video, to keep raising the volume around this issue and making it less of a stigma.
How was your experience working with the Love Is Louder campaign?
Love is Louder is an amazing movement that is 100% in line with my beliefs as an advocate. It’s so simple to talk about and feels very powerful to be a part of something that is changing people’s lives every day.
How would you like your music or your story to impact your listeners?
I want my music to connect to people in whatever way they need it, whenever it is that they need it. That’s what’s most important to me. I don’t have a clear singular agenda for the message. It could be as simple as partying with friends before a night out, making a long drive more fun, or helping calm you down in a moment of need. I do want people who listen to the music to feel like I am digging as deep as I can to create something that is fiercely passionate.
Do you have any big plans for 2016?
Right now I’m focused on preparing to produce/direct a few new music videos and finish up the production of the rest of the songs I’ve been working on this year. Getting ready for year of surprises in 2016, I never know what’s going to happen.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Just thanks a big thank you to everyone who has helped inspire this new music, worked tirelessly on the production, and come out to shows over and over again. Means a lot. Oh, and happy new year!