- 27 Feb 20
The Canadian-born, Nashville-based pop star delivered a joyous, stunning set to a packed house at The Olympia.
The Olympia's floor is teeming with people, all here to see Lennon Stella. She's been upgraded to the larger venue, after her Academy show sold out in mere minutes. It's remarkable how wide the twenty year old's audience is. I'm spotting everyone from the ages of 18 to 50, and fans spanning various eras of Stella's career. There are people who clearly know her from her days singing covers with her younger sister Maisy, and those who were fans of the country music soap Nashville.
Stella has always been a fan of doing the unexpected. She takes centre stage, amid raucous cheers of "I love you, Lennon!", and opens her mouth to sing–not a hit, but something brand new. Darker than any of her previous releases, the track is delivered with a near-perfect vocal over a heavy trap beat. From what I can tell, Stella's debut album (which doesn't have a release date, title or track list yet) will be heavily experimental. In the new material, I catch notes of rock, hip-hop and folk.
Joy flashes across Stella's face when the crowd begins to scream-sing her breakup hit 'Bad' along with her. 'Fortress', with its sparse instrumentals, is a vocal highlight, toeing the line between gentility and forceful fury.
"I love, love, love Dublin," she says. And with that, wraps herself in an Irish flag thrown onto the stage to sing a song about rain. Specifically, Rihanna's 'Umbrella'. How fitting!
Breaking out her guitar (covered in photos and stickers), she launches into Chainsmokers hit 'Takeaway' as the only acoustic song of the set. She featured on the 2019 song, which completely lost itself in overproduction. It's truly a shame that this is Stella's most popular play on Spotify. By contrast, her solo version–delivered with glee to a singing crowd–breathes new life and emotional depth into a tired pop radio track.
Stella might still be in a fledgling state, but she has all the hallmarks of a true pop star in the making, and the heart and soul of a storied singer-songwriter.