From Moving To London To Write Music to Playing a Song For Ellie Goulding After Winning An Original Song Competition, The Songstress DEMAR Is Just Getting Started!
Posted On 02 Nov 2015
Tag: 103.5 KISS FM, Aaliyah, Aaron March, All Access, All Access Music Group, Artist Interview, Breathe Me, Ellie Goulding, Fantasy Land, Fiona Apple, Frou Frou, Justin Timberlake, Let Go, London, Matt Wilbur, New York, Not Afraid, Rebels, Richard Gottehrer, Sarah McLachlan, Sia, Steely Dan, Stephanie Demar, The Dynamic Duo, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, The Vanguard Room, Timbaland
Raised in Miami but currently residing in New York City, Demar has won her seal of approval from the pop star, Ellie Goulding herself. After winning a major songwriting competition in Chicago, Demar was granted the opportunity to play for Ms. Goulding on 103.5 Kiss FM. She then told Demar, she reminded her of one of her favorite musicians from Goulding’s childhood.
Immediately following this impeccable opportunity, Demar ventured across the pond to London where she went to ‘escape heartbreak and find solace.’ It was at this time that Demar found her inspiration again and a space to craft her first EP. Immediately after returning to the states, Demar was confronted by music legend Richard Gottehrer who was interested in mentoring her through these most trying times. From there Demar entered the studio with Matt Wilbur and Aaron Marsh at their studio The Vanguard Room.
“Rebels” is the first single off her forthcoming EP (date TBD). “Rebels” has become Demar’s mantra and helped her feel stronger than ever. She hopes that this song will help others overcome the most trying of times.
Learn more about this talented singer-songwriter in the following All Access interview:
What was it like performing in front of Ellie Goulding and your experience meeting her?
Winning the original song competition was a game-changer for me. I was such a fan of Ellie and her songwriting already, but her words after I performed for her and her fans inspired me to take my career and talent seriously. To have an artist I admire compliment my songwriting and say my voice reminded her of an artist she listened to growing up kind of blew my mind. She is so successful and has built an incredible career. Her positive feedback made me feel people could believe in me the way I believe in myself.
Tell me about going to London after having your heart broken. What was that period of your life like and how was that journey instrumental in your songwriting? Your first EP of songs is from that trip, right?
London was beautiful and terrifying all at once. Although it was one of the most confusing times in my life, it’s where I began to find myself and figure out what inspires me. I had just graduated, had my heart completely broken, and didn’t really know where I was headed next. A guy I had a history with resurfaced and we re-established our connection. He asked me to come visit him in New York before I moved to London. As I landed in New York and drove into the city, he blocked my number and blocked me on Facebook out of nowhere. I was cut off without one word and no explanation- to this day!
I left for London 9 days later still reeling from the whole thing. So in a way, London was my saving grace. Traveling and being alone in a new country allowed me to explore new places, explore my emotions, and learn to trust myself. This led to a whole new era of songwriting and where I am today. I became more focused in who I was as an artist and where I wanted to go with my music. The songs on the EP are a mix of songs I wrote in London and songs that came after I moved to New York.
“Rebels” is the first single from your EP. What does it mean to finally be releasing that song? Where did the inspiration from this track come from exactly?
Releasing “Rebels” feels cathartic. I’ve been through a few shitty relationships and have experienced the ups and downs that come along with them. I realized I needed to write a song that would inspire me to get out of bed in the morning. Rebels is my “Fake it ’til I make it” song. I wrote this song to help me FEEL strong until I actually WAS strong again. I hope people can listen to Rebels and feel empowered by it. It’s meant to change your mindset from “I can’t believe this person did this to me” to “You messed up and I’m walking away. You’re losing ME.”
What other songs on your EP are you excited to share with the world?
I’m honestly excited about all of them because I just can’t wait to share my music with people and see what the reaction is. I think I’m particularly excited about “Not Afraid”. It’s one of the more vulnerable songs I’ve written and it came about when I was in a tough place and going through a lot. I feel like it’s one of those songs you would listen to when you need a good cry, and there’s nothing wrong with that! I have a whole playlist of songs like that. My go to is “Breathe Me” by Sia, or “Let Go” by Frou Frou. But I feel like this song allows you to really emotionally connect with it if you want to so I can’t wait to see what people think.
I read that you began writing songs at 8! Why do you think you started doing it so young? What were your songs about at that age?
Yes! A friend of mine and I formed a “girl group” called The Dynamic Duo and we would pretend we were pop stars. We wrote songs, planned out what our album cover would look like (us wearing matching jean overalls posing back to back with our arms crossed), and planned what life would be like on the road. We connected because both of us had the same dream. Our first song was called “Fantasy Land” and believe it or not, even at that age I was writing about boys. I was boy crazy from a young age so we wrote about what we thought was love.
What artists have consistently inspired you? Who would you love to work with in the future?
I definitely have an eclectic mix of artists that inspire me. I grew up listening to a lot of Steely Dan with my dad. The sound they achieve in the studio is so beautiful and their use of harmonies is perfect. I also took a lot of inspiration from artists like Aaliyah, Sia, and songwriters like Fiona Apple, and Sarah McLachlan. The way they connect emotions to the words they write and what they’re able to evoke out of a listener is brilliant. In my wildest dreams I would love to work with Justin Timberlake and Timbaland. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent dissecting their work and I hear something new every time. I’m from Miami and I’ve heard rumors that Timbaland lives near my home down there so I feel like it’s meant to be.
Do you have enough songs written now for a full album? When do you think that will be released?
Yes, I definitely have an album’s worth of music that I feel represent where I am right now musically and sonically. I’m not sure about a full length though. Right now I’m really focused on this EP and then we’ll go from there!
When do you feel happiest and most content? On stage performing, in the studio or writing music?
I’m the happiest when I’m on stage performing. I really enjoy connecting with people and building relationships. Being on stage and thriving off their energy is one of the best feelings in the world. You’re able to be vulnerable and express yourself while relating to people and just having fun. It’s a distraction from the stresses of every day life..at least for me. I hope when people come to my shows they’re able to forget about the outside world and just be in the moment with the music, and with me and the band.
How have your recent shows been going? What’s been a favorite gig experience so far?
The recent shows have been so much fun. The audience grows and people become more engaged every time. I’ve built the live show up to a full band experience now which I’m excited about. My favorite gig so far is actually one I just played a couple of weeks ago to celebrate the release of Rebels. The crowd was so energetic and the vibe in the room was incredible. We also donated all proceeds to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. It was a special night.
At the end of the day, what do you hope listeners take away from your music?
I just hope I can make people feel something and make them feel connected to me and to each other. I want someone to hear my songs and think, “I can relate to that” or, “wow it isn’t just me feeling this way.” Writing songs is like therapy for me so hopefully listening to them can be therapy for someone else.