Stella Donnelly: Rise Above

Photo by Pooneh Ghana Before releasing her first full-length album, Stella Donnelly had been performing for a decade. She busked as a teenager in her native Australia, later playing regularly in bands throughout her early twenties. By 25, she earned critical acclaim for her first solo EP, Thrush Metal, featuring intimate yet intense songs like “Boys Will Be Boys,” which takes a hard look at society’s blind eye to rape culture and how devastating that is to women.  By every measure, Donnelly was a seasoned pro even before most listeners had ever heard of her. But once she began to build up critical acclaim for her debut EP, that attention interfered with her creative process. More keenly aware of just how much was riding on her being able to deliver a successful record, she began writing the songs for her first full-length, Beware Of The Dogs, she temporarily developed a case of writer’s block.  “All of a sudden there were people watching me,” she says in a phone call from Australia. “Prior to that, no one gave a shit. I was very much free to lurk around in that territory where no one was watching what I do, and no…

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