Recently, Nixie got the chance to speak with stef, a new pop artist based here in Nashville.
stef, also known as Stefani Colvin, was raised in nearby Huntsville, Alabama and began travelling to Nashville to hone her music and writing while still in high school. In 2018, she officially made the move and in 2019, she released her first EP Why Do I Laugh When I Cry?.
On March 30, stef released her second EP, A Glitch in Our Virtual Reality, which sonically draws from the veins of current pop heavyweights like Charli XCX, Halsey, and Billie Eilish. "i used to build dreams about you" is perhaps my personal favorite, a spacious and honey-sweet tune that details the feeling of realizing somebody else feels like home. "i know what we're not gonna do" features an amazingly big, punchy, and glitchy chorus that I love, and "my name is lonely" is a thumping, orchestral feat, with dark and dynamic vocals as stef describes a mood of loneliness and apathy.
Read on below to find out more about stef, her songwriting, and how A Glitch in our Virtual Reality conceptually comes together.
You’ve been in Nashville since 2018 and releasing music since 2019. I know there’s been pushes in the pop community here to “put Nashville on the map,” so to speak, in the pop world at large, and I think it’s been pretty successful. How would you describe the pop
scene here in Nashville?
The pop scene in Nashville, I feel like, is growing very fast! There are some amazing people here pushing the pop community forward. I think because the community is so small it's able to fall into comfortable patterns which I have tried to avoid.
Who are some of your favorite fellow Nashville artists? Are there any collaborations in the future, or if not, who would be your dream collaborator?
I can't think of anyone based in Nashville I have on my radar to collaborate with currently - I am playing around in the indie pop world, so if I ever release some indie pop songs I think Dreamer Boy or Huron John would be a cool feature here in Nashville. Lennon Stella is always a solid Nashville choice. I'd love to write with Sasha Sloan. I think Charlotte Sands and Marisa Maino are making some cool stuff as well.
I read that you’re originally from Huntsville, and made trips to Nashville in high school to work on your music. What did that look like? Were you doing writing sessions, open mics, etc.?
I would come up on Fridays (mom would drive me - ily!) and write with some country songwriters that had a few number ones. There is obviously no right way to write a song, but getting some direction and learning from the pros was a good foundation for me as a writer. They were older so definitely stuck in older structural ways, but I really enjoyed them. I would also sing at some local rounds.
Was there a singular moment in high school when you realized you wanted to pursue music full-time?
I honestly didn't consider it an option until my junior year. I grew up in a very conservative town where a four year degree was the only option. My parents were always supportive, but they also grew up getting degrees and were a little wary, just because this isn't something they are used to doing - seeing 18-year-olds move out of the house and not go to college. I was talking to someone I was working with at the time, and he asked why I wasn't trying to pursue this full time. At that moment, the light bulb in my head went off. For a few months I debated back and forth and decided to move to Nashville after I graduated. At first it was going to be a gap year, but it quickly turned into not that even before I moved. Rest is history...
Your new EP, “A Glitch in Our Virtual Reality,” feels like it’s pushing more towards hyperpop than your earlier songs. Would you agree?
I would actually disagree! I feel like it pushes more toward indie pop than hyper pop - but I love hyper pop, don't get me wrong! There are songs on there like “i used to build dreams about you,” and “switch” which have some guitar driven parts. “hi my name is lonely" and "here's what we're not gonna do,” are more hyper pop, but also just kinda straight-down-the-line pop. I think the EP is so special because there is a lot of variety - a song for everyone.
What is the significance of the title “A Glitch in Our Virtual Reality?”
The whole EP conceptually revolves around the “life cycle” of a relationship. Just as plants start from a seed, grow, and die, so do most relationships. You start happy, transition into sad, and ultimately end up happy one day. Since the EP is centered around that life cycle, I was trying to think of a unique name that captures my sound and branding as an artist that works cohesively with the songs on the project. I came up with “A Glitch In Our Virtual Reality,” because you go into most relationships hoping it works out, and when it doesn't it feels like a “glitch” and sometimes your reality is warped. Of course, I had to keep it relevant and cheeky too.
I also read this quote from you: “When I write, I see visuals.” Can you elaborate? Do you see scenes being played out, maybe colors, etc.? How did this play into writing “A Glitch in Our Virtual Reality?”
A lot of lyrics I write are inspired by the visions that come into my head when I hear the track the producer is working on. I really like to use a lot of imagery in my songwriting. I see scenarios like “this guy walks in, takes his shoes off, leaves his wallet on the counter, and walks through the back sliding glass door” (I don't know, just thought of that). So I try to incorporate as much imagery and “setting the scene” scenarios as possible. Visuals are one of my favorite parts about being an artist. I love thinking of what I want my cover art to look like or my music videos or whatever falls into that realm.
Listen to stef's new EP A Glitch in Our Virtual Reality below.