18-Year-Old Folk Songwriter Stella Prince Talks Tender New Single ‘Closed Doors’, Touring Europe, & More

18-year-old folk & Americana artist Stella Prince is back with her delicate new single, “Closing Doors.”

The songstress has already garnered acclaim in her young career through her previous releases, which started with her first single, “Crying on a Saturday Night,” which landed on the Americana Singles Chart. It was played on over sixty radio stations internationally, and was the most added song on Folk Radio in March of 2022. Not too shabby for a teenager.

Prince has toured the UK, playing shows in notable locales like The Bedford and Spice of Life in London. She’s had her unique story shared in many outlets like CMT, Cowgirl Magazine, Music City Magazine, and many more.

Her new single, “Closing Doors,” highlights Prince’s ability to balance the maturity of her writing with the new experiences and rejection she faces as a teenager. She shared that due to the pandemic, she felt like she had to grow up faster than kids in previous years.

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“I feel like I lost half of my teenage years to the pandemic. I was 15 when the lockdown began and I’m 18 now. My whole generation lost so much time growing up.”

We got to talk to Prince to learn more about the new single, her first big touring year, future aspirations, and much more.

So can you talk about who or what got you into songwriting, and what drew you to the folk/Americana genres in particular?

Honestly, I’ve known my entire life this was what I was meant to do. I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember, starting voice lessons at four, and piano at six. Guitar came a little later, at nine years old, but I didn’t like it at first because my hands were too tiny. Now it’s my primary instrument.

I grew up being exposed to tons of different genres. My parents had this massive CD and vinyl collection that I was allowed to listen to from a very early age, and so I would sit and play Broadway, Big Band, rock, and so many other records over and over again as a child. It really made me who I am. I’ve always loved folk music, but I think it picked me rather than me picking it to sing. When I started writing songs, that was the sound that came out. 

What’s the Woodstock music scene like these days?

Growing up in Woodstock, I was lucky enough to see some incredible live music. I managed to hear Pete Seeger, Levon Helm, Peter Yarrow, and so many other incredible folk singers when I was younger. I think it really inspired me. My parents, although not musical, love all kinds of genres, and really exposed me to some amazing artists throughout my childhood.

You’ve got your new single, “Closing Doors,” out now. What’s the inspiration and influence behind the song?

I actually wrote this song in May of 2022 when I was touring in Ireland, and I was sitting outside in this massive green pasture with twenty cows next to me. As soon as I finished the song and began singing it out loud, all the cows came up to me and began listening intently. It was quite something. The original inspiration for the song came because I feel like as artists, we face so much rejection constantly. It can feel like a door is closing in your face.

And how did you get hooked up with Professor Louie to help produce the track, and what was that experience like?

Ironically, I had heard of Professor Louie for years before ever meeting him, and even though we live like ten miles away from each other, it took someone who lives in London to connect us. It was super random. A music supervisor I had been in touch with virtually connected us via email in hopes that we could work together down the line, and it just clicked.

This was my first time recording with live musicians in the studio and it was a wonderful experience. Lee Falco, an amazing drummer, Ryan Berg, a fantastic bassist, and the wonderful Vito Pettrocito on electric guitar joined me to record this song in September.

Can fans expect to see this song on an upcoming EP or LP, or is it a standalone single for now?

For now it’s definitely a standalone single, as my last release this summer was my debut EP, called Eighteen. It was so exciting to have my first EP come out I can’t tell you! Such a dream came true. The album consisted of five songs, all of which were previously released on streaming platforms in the past, and we decided to put all of them together into one project.

Can you think of a time when you had a door closed on you and it ended up being a good thing?

I think there are lots of times when I felt incredibly disappointed by something but it led to something so much better. Songwriting, especially, deals with that. When I’m stuck on a song that I’ve been working on for weeks with no inspiration whatsoever, and I feel horribly frustrated, I take that frustration and start working on a new song, and it’s ten times better than the original. 

You had the opportunity to play shows in London, New York, and many other top-tier cities. Do you have a few most memorable moments from your shows there, and what do you feel you’ve learned from those experiences?

When people listen, they really listen, and it changes everything. When I first started performing out, a few years ago, all I could get were restaurants and bars. And nobody listened to me, ever. It was so loud that I could barely hear myself. And that was really hard. It felt like nobody cared about my music or my voice.

But suddenly, when you switch to venues that are more listening rooms, and the audience is there to hear music and not just drink or eat, it’s an incredible feeling. I feel like I always soak in the audience’s energy and if they are attentive and excited, the performance just goes incredibly well.

Who are some of your current favorite artists you look up to that the average listener might not be too familiar with? 

The artists that come to mind are Karen Carpenter and Judy Garland. I feel like a lot of my other inspirations people my age really like as well, like Kacey Musgraves and Lana Del Rey, but Karen and Judy aren’t as popular with Gen Z. Along with Patsy Cline, those three voices of Karen, Judy and Patsy in my opinion are the three greatest vocalists in the history of music.

What does success as a musician and songwriter mean to you?

It means to keep rising. To keep building a career, and grow as an artist. I just want to be as successful as I possibly can be. I want to grow as a singer and a songwriter, and keep getting better and better with time.

What are some of your goals – whether musically or otherwise – for 2023? 

I want to keep touring as much as I can. Prior to 2022, I had never toured before. This year was a wonderful leap to professional touring, as I have played gigs in the United Kingdom and across the Southwest. I played over one hundred performances this year alone. I would love to double that number next year and really just keep going with all of this.

Photo by Lily Prince

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