Name: Stacey Pierre
Occupation: Singer, songwriter
Recent release: Stacey Pierre's new single "Motion" is out now. It is a harbinger of her upcoming second solo EP Origin Unknown, scheduled for release in July 2022.
Recommendation: Coeur by Rob Simonsen; Max Richter - Three Worlds: Music from Woolf Works / Mrs Dalloway - War Anthem
[Read our Max Richter interview]
If you enjoyed this interview with Stacey Pierre and would like to find out more about her work, visit her on Instagram, Facebook, and twitter.
When did you start writing/producing/playing music and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
I’ve always loved music and have been singing since I was a little child. I wrote my first song at 13.
I was certainly influenced by the RnB artists of the time. But as I got older, I started to draw on more personal experiences, focusing more on creating my own little melodies to go with the lyrics. I wouldn’t really say I was influenced by anyone in particular at the time. I just allowed what was in my head to come out.
I don’t think I really loved music the way I do now until I stopped listening to mainstream music and found other genres. Classical music, movie soundtracks and ambient pieces really speak to me now and influence the way I approach composing the music around my lyrics.
Regarding the idea of being drawn to music / sound, I think it’s just always been inside of me. I can’t pinpoint any particular time – I’ve just always loved music and always will.
When I listen to music, I see shapes, objects and colours. What happens in your body when you're listening and how does it influence your approach to creativity?
It depends on how intensely I listen to a piece of music. Generally, if I’m not giving it my full attention, it can lift my mood, but I won’t affect much more than that. However, when I give it my full attention, I literally feel like I’ve been transported out of my environment and into another. So, when I write music, I want to be able to do the same.
I know not everyone is going to love what I do, but If I can at least feel this for my own music, then I feel I’ve truly created something to be proud of and hope that others enjoy it too.
How would you describe your development as an artist in terms of interests and challenges, searching for a personal voice, as well as breakthroughs?
From my first song at the age of 13, to this day, I have come such a long way and I’m so grateful to God. It’s been a slow journey, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. From my musical interests to people I’ve met, everything has come along just at the right time.
One of my main challenges has been funding projects, so I’ve chosen to do the majority of the work myself, which has actually been a huge blessing because I am so much more capable now and am confident in my abilities to continue learning about production and mixing.
Regarding my personal voice, I’ve learnt to take people's opinion as just that – their opinion and I don’t mean that in a cocky way, I just mean that, when people would comment on my music, I would always listen to their advice, but the song would end up sounding nothing like I wanted it to. I would always end up unhappy with the final product.
So I had to learn that my thoughts were valid and that I could trust myself to create something worthy of being put into the world without having to get someone else’s approval just because they might have more experience than me in that field.
Tell me a bit about your sense of identity and how it influences both your preferences as a listener and your creativity as an artist, please.
I’d say I’m generally quite a laid-back person and that is certainly reflected in my musical taste. I love specific songs from all genres but classical / instrumental pieces are some of my favourites and when I listen to this type of music, most of them don’t have lyrics so the instrumentation must take the listener on a journey. That’s how I like to think when I’m writing a song.
What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and art?
For me, it’s all about self-expression. No matter what that looks or sounds like, there is never a wrong way to do something within the arts, only your way.
I also love the idea of creating music I’d love to listen to but haven’t necessarily heard before.
How would you describe your views on topics like originality and innovation versus perfection and timelessness in music? Are you interested in a “music of the future” or “continuing a tradition”?
I think both are necessary for different reasons.
If you’re talking about tradition regarding culture, I think it’s extremely important for cultural sounds to be preserved for future generations. With regards to music for the future, I think it’s important to push boundaries so that up-and-coming musicians don’t feel trapped in the ideas of the past.
Personally, I think originality is the most important element and that innovation and culture are great, but they also don’t have to be in everything you do. You can just be you and that’s okay.
Over the course of your development, what have been your most important instruments and tools - and what are the most promising strategies for working with them?
My voice and musical ear for sure were the most important tools because they were already my natural strengths. Instruments came later, keyboard and guitar to be specific. Just to clarify, I cannot play piano, but having access to one, helped me turn the melodies in my head into a song. When I learnt guitar a little later, that became accompaniment for those melodies and when I learnt how to use Logic Pro, these ideas finally became songs.
I’d say, start with what makes the most sense to you. Use external resources like YouTube to help you navigate new instruments / musical tools but work to your strengths and work your way up from there.
Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please.
I am a fulltime musician / dancer, so I usually get up, do my morning routine, and on a gig day, I use the time leading up to the gig to prep; set lists, outfit, gear, journey etc. then I head to my performance, have an awesome time and head home.
For workdays at home, I’m either doing admin, teaching singing or working on music / dance.
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece, live performance or album that's particularly dear to you, please?
One of my songs called “Heaven” off my first EP – EDEN, will always be very special to me. I wrote it when I was about 14 using my keyboard (before I could play guitar). It’s very rare I write a whole song in one sitting but with that one I did. The melody, lyrics, accompaniment – everything came to me at once. It wasn’t until later in life that I listened to the words and the meaning of what I had written came through.
It amazes me every time to think I wrote this song and had no clue what I was doing and whenever I’m asked about how I wrote it, I can only say it was divine inspiration.
Listening can be both a solitary and a communal activity. Likewise, creating music can be private or collaborative. Can you talk about your preferences in this regard and how these constellations influence creative results?
I enjoy both!
When I am working on a solo project, I love having the control to take the song wherever I want. Some of my ideas can be quite quirky and I like that. I don’t have to explain them or convince anyone that they might work. I can trust myself to know it will sound good in the end. It’s also a chance to improve skills in certain areas like playing bass or mixing.
On the other hand, working in a group setting allows myself to be completely open to suggestion and it always takes me somewhere I never imagined the music could go, and it always end with awesome results – working with others, certainly pushes me out of my comfort zone for the better and helps me grow as an artist.
How do your work and your creativity relate to the world and what is the role of music in society?
I’m not sure how my music / creativity relates to the world if I’m being honest. But I believe music in general is extremely important within society.
In my opinion it’s the most accessible form of self-expression that still gives you the option of keeping it personal or allows you to share it with others. It brings people together, can elevate or change your mood and can help console you when life is hard. It’s so many things, music is an integral part of life.
Art can be a way of dealing with the big topics in life: Life, loss, death, love, pain, and many more. In which way and on which occasions has music – both your own or that of others - contributed to your understanding of these questions?
On many occasions I have used music to help purge myself of emotions relating to all the topics listed above! It gave me an outlet to express myself in a safe space that I could be fully vulnerable.
For some of the topics like love and pain, I use the songs as an expression of what I went through, but also what lessons I learnt. I feel that writing my songs this way, makes it easier to re-live them every time I have to sing them and helps me to remember the positives that came out of the situation, rather than dwell in in the sadness.
How do you see the connection between music and science and what can these two fields reveal about each other?
Science and music certainly go hand in hand. Music has the ability to change so much within us, not only by listening within an informal setting but also in more professional settings like music therapy, and science is the doorway to explaining why.
Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you feel as though writing or performing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn't or wouldn't in more 'mundane' tasks?
I think it depends on what your passion is.
For someone whose passion is making coffee then they would certainly consider this a form of expression and find joy / personal satisfaction in doing it, but perhaps writing a piece of music would be considered mundane task to them.
Whereas for me, music IS my passion and so to have a job where I am not expressing myself through music, I would not consider that fulfilling.
Music is vibration in the air, captured by our ear drums. From your perspective as a creator and listener, do you have an explanation how it able to transmit such diverse and potentially deep messages?
What an awesome question! I have no clue, but if I had to guess, I’d say it is something primal.
I’m sure music or at the very least, the idea of rhythm existed before speech or verbal communication, and something we are just intuitively connected with. Maybe it’s just another thing within nature that we are yet to fully understand.