Premiere: Notelle Shares The Story Behind “Sufjan Stevens”

Notelle‘s “Sufjan Stevens” is a showing of the Nashville-based singer/songwriter’s “nightmare pop” sound. Read on for our interview, and listen to “Sufjan Stevens” on your preferred listening platform.

Tell me a little more about yourself, and how you got started making music. 

I’ve always been a writer in some capacity, but it wasn’t until I moved to Nashville that I really started pursuing it professionally. I do a lot of work in the Electronic Dance Music world as a featured vocalist and topliner with my writing partner, Luma. However, I have recently started to focus more time and energy into exploring what I sound like as a solo artist. 

Where does the inspiration behind “Sufjan Stevens” come from? What are you trying to convey in the lyrics? 

I was watching a movie with the guy I’m seeing—it was some movie about King Henry where everyone spoke in olde English. We were talking about the diction, and he just said “I wonder what it would be like if everybody spoke like that.” It triggered something in me creatively, and got me thinking about what it would be like if I adapted a million different personas to get ahead in life. “Sufjan Stevens” is about when being a social chameleon becomes borderline manipulative—and you run the risk of losing your identity. 

What is your songwriting process like, and how did it affect the creation of “Sufjan Stevens”?

I write differently for every song. Each one is inspired by different aspects of music and it’s creation. Some times I’m inspired by a particular chord progression, sometimes its the rhythmic section, a book, a melody—in this case it was my boyfriend’s casual musings about King Henry. The lyrics in this one took the majority of my focus during the writing process as it’s riddled with literary and pop culture references—each one describing a character I find particularly fascinating. 

How would you define your sound?

I always struggle with this question! I never know how to describe my work because I do feel like each song is inspired by a totally different sonic landscape. It’s difficult to box yourself into a genre because if you sound too much like someone else, you’re no longer unique, but if you’re too unique, you’re no longer palatable. It’s a catch-22 every time. If I had to label myself though, I’d say somewhere in the arena of alt-rock-nightmare-pop like Nine Inch Nails, Muse, Mutemath, Sevdaliza

What should we look for from you this year? 

I have a lot of music in the pipeline ready to be released, ranging from seven to eight more solo artist singles, as well as a handful of high profile collaborative releases as both a writer and a featured vocalist in the Dance realm. I’m hoping to keep releasing content monthly, especially as the world slowly opens back up! Fingers crossed I get to play some shows soon! Fingers crossed that we all do!

Follow Notelle on Instagram and Spotify.

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