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Before recording her new album, Dirty Little Secret (May 22), StellaSoleil had to take the ultimate challenge â€” she had to look deepwithin herself and discover the true Stella. To find inspiration for hersolo debut, Stella had to get away (far away) and do some soul searching.No, she didn't try out for 'Survivor.' She went into seclusion for twoyears while traveling across Europe, read her old diaries, wrote injournals and practiced Yoga on the path to recording the eclectic album.
The result is a collection of dance songs and ballads highlighted by theMiddle Eastern-sounding single 'Kiss Kiss,' which the Chicago native (bornStella Katsoudas) describes as funny yet sexy. The playful theme is instaunch contrast to Stella's last album, 1998's Soularium, which sheadmits had some angry moments. But as she told Shaheem Reid, whether youwere a fan of her industrial band, Sister Soleil, or dug her collaborationswith Ministry, Dirty Little Secret has something for everyone, plusa serious sense of humor.
Sonicnet: How did your single 'Kiss Kiss' come about?
Stella Soleil: [Universal Music Group Chairman/CEO] Doug Morris called meand said that there was this song, a Turkish song by this guy named Tarkan[that] he wanted me to [record]. I went to Tower Records and I bought it,and the whole thing was in Turkish. I was so confused. I called him back,and he said, 'Let's get a translator.' [The song] sort of got lost in thetranslation. It's sort of nonsensical. My friend Juliet had to [re]writethe song for me, coming from where she thought I might be coming from.
Sonicnet: Did it get less confusing as the song came together?
Soleil: It started to come together, and I realized Doug wasprobably right. I was skeptical at first, but the thing I liked about itwas the kissing part in the chorus. I thought it was so funny.
Sonicnet: What do you think about how well the song has been received?
Soleil: I was the biggest skeptic of the song because I did notthink people would get the humor. You just never know. I had no idea itwould work like this. For the first time ever in my life I put the controlfreak in my back pocket and went against my instincts. I left that behindfor once, and it's working. I'm pleasantly shocked.
Sonicnet: For the recording of your album, I heard you traveled a lot. Ittook you two years to record it, and your label just laid off for thatlong?
Soleil: I get really antsy if I stay in more than one place toolong. Universal was really supportive [and understood] that I needed to goacross the Atlantic to reinvent myself and to find my voice, my muse. Theyagreed [and said,] 'You need to go out and experience new things.' I wentinto seclusion. I spent two years by myself, [except] for the writers andpeople I worked with in the studio. As far as relationships, all I did wasresearch, extensive amounts of reading, journal [writing], a lot of yogaand traveling. It is so stimulating to experience new people and newplaces. That's why my album is eclectic. I found a lot of different sounds.
Sonicnet: What about being away from your friends and family so long, howwas that?
Soleil: I probably ran up the largest phone bill in the history ofthe phone. Literally, my label cut my cell phone service off. I talked tomy parents and my brother probably about three or four times a week. I washomesick, I'm not going to lie to you. I have two best friends that havealways lived in different states, so they've always been a phone call awayanyway. The Internet plays a huge part in my social existence. I kept upwith my friends and family constantly over the Internet. The Internet alsohelped me practice writing for this album. I got a lot of material frome-mail. The more writing you do, the better your writing is. It's likeexercising your muscles for sports.
Sonicnet: What about the fans of your more industrial albums? Will theybe alienated by such a staunch contrast?
Soleil: I kept really close contact over the Internet with my fans.I think that one thing I brought over the ocean with me was the connectionwith my fans. They went through the process with me. They're verysupportive of me, [but] I was nervous about that. I didn't want to make itseem like I was abandoning them. They were so overwhelmed that they hadpersonal contact with me, everything they were looking for in my music,they got personally from me. My fans are fans of me, they [have told me ine-mails that they] don't really care what kind of music I make.
Sonicnet: The tone of this album is real sexy and playful.
Soleil: I was so used to writing whatever I felt. It's an easy thingto do. You're pissed-off, you write a pissed-off song. My last two recordswere very angry. It's easy to write negative. The majority of the peoplewant to hear about love or sex. I have no experience in either one of theseareas, and the experience I have is not that great. I thought writing aboutsex in a humorous way was something I could do. I have an incredible senseof humor, and sex is comical sometimes. It's a sexy record, but it'stongue-in-cheek. I read a lot of great smut books.
Sonicnet: What did you learn about yourself by going back and looking atyour old journals?
Soleil: What I noticed is that I have the same problems right now aswhat I did in school. I was obsessing about the same things â€” my lowself-esteem at times. Those are things I worried about as a [young girl].I've been beating myself up about the same thing since I was 12 years old,[and] I think its time to be a happy person and be like, 'Screw it.'
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(Edited by pinkGLAM at 4:40 pm on May 5, 2001)
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