Last month, Lennon Stella gave her fans a mini-heart attack when she started a tweet with: “also thought you should know I am very pregnant.” For those who stopped reading after those nine words (“Yeah, there was a lot of people that thought I was actually pregnant,” Stella laughed to Billboard in a new interview with the Pop Shop Podcast; listen below), the rest of the tweet reads: “…with an album baby and i’m about to pop. … three…two…one here we go 2020.”
The 20-year-old singer/songwriter — who has been in the public eye since her 2012 debut on the ABC series Nashville and as part of a viral-video duo with her sister in Lennon & Maisy — is finally ready to release her debut album next year and formally introduce herself as an adult solo star. Over the past few months, she’s been super busy on the road with The Chainsmokers and 5 Seconds of Summer, but once that wraps up, she’s focusing entirely on the album.
“Before this tour started, I spent a couple of months in LA just diving in and working a bunch on it,” she tells Billboard‘s Pop Shop Podcast. “It’s very close to being done, which is very crazy to think about because right now, it feels so scattered in my head. Like, it’s kind of all over the place. But it’s … on its way to being finished. And I’m just really excited to have a full album out in the world, and I think when it’s an album … I feel more creative or inspired to be a little more experimental because it just feels like a little bit less pressure on each song.”
Stella released her Love, me EP last year, along with some loose songs here and there, but the first taste of her debut album is latest single “Kissing Other People,” which she co-wrote during a writing camp in Cabo, Mexico, following a breakup.
“So I was dating this guy for a bit and I was kind of, we had broken up and I was kind of getting in the process of moving on and trying to kind of get over him and get over just the comfort of knowing that he was there,” she recalls. “I was talking to Caroline [Ailin] about this, who [co-]wrote the song, and I was just saying to her how you get to a point when … you can kiss other people and you’re like, ‘Oh, I didn’t feel like I was cheating on you still,’ even though we’re broken up. Like, I don’t feel bad for it anymore, and that’s kind of when you’re like, ‘OK, cool, I’m both emotionally and physically over this now.'”
We don’t know exactly when Stella’s debut album will arrive or its title, but she teases that “it’ll be like mid-next year.”
In the meantime, she’s gifted fans with a few guest spots and features on other artists’ songs, including tourmates The Chainsmokers’ “Takeaway,” also featuring Illenium. While the song’s dancey vibe is a far cry from Stella’s typical acoustic sound, she likes dipping her toe in other genres. “With features, it’s really cool because ultimately, it’s not my song,” she says. “I can be a part of it and I can get in that world and explore that world, but not be committed to it, you know?”
But she has been in that world as part of the World War Joy Tour since September, and she’ll take what she’s soaked up on the road for her very own EU tour, as well as some spot dates in Nashville and Atlanta. “I feel like I’ve learned a lot just in the sense of performing in arenas,” she says. “It’s obviously totally a different thing. … It’s just such a different type of performing and a different level of energy and obviously production is very different. And everything is just bigger and very alive from start to finish. There’s never any dips of energy, and I think going from playing in clubs or small theaters to this is so different.”
Also on the show, Keith & Katie talk about the best original song nominees at the 2020 Golden Globes, new No. 1s on the Billboard Hot 100 (The Weeknd’s “Heartless”) and the Billboard 200 (the Frozen II soundtrack), plus the sad news that hip-hop chart-topper Juice WRLD died at age 21 this week.
The Billboard Pop Shop Podcast is your one-stop shop for all things pop on Billboard’s weekly charts. You can always count on a lively discussion about the latest pop news, fun chart stats and stories, new music, and guest interviews with music stars and folks from the world of pop. Casual pop fans and chart junkies can hear Billboard’s senior director of charts Keith Caulfield and deputy editor, digital Katie Atkinson every week on the podcast, which can be streamed on Billboard.com or downloaded in Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast provider. (Click here to listen to the previous edition of the show on Billboard.com.