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Photos + Story Kristy Benjamin

Today we are premiering Toronto-based STACEY’s new song, “First Move”. Upon hearing it, I knew it was special, what I didn’t know was how special the opportunity to meet and shoot her for this feature would be. I picked STACEY up on her last day in Los Angeles on a rare crisp overcast day and we instantly hit it off. Driving to gardens in the hills of Pasadena and over to the pacific ocean, our day was as dreamy and magical as her songwriting and vocals.


“First Move” is such a well-crafted love song that you can’t help but put on repeat. It’s a relatable story that speaks so eloquently about feelings and situations we’ve all been through in life but probably couldn’t express half, as well as this song, has done for us.

Where do we start? We love this song! Do you have anything you can tell us about how it came to be, what was the inspiration for writing it? 
Thank you so much! This was one of those magic scenarios where the song came through me without resistance – it was a blur. My process has been the same for a while, though. I play piano & hum/sing simultaneously, letting the vocals dictate the overall progression. On an inspiration level, I had been hanging out with a guy I really liked who didn’t give any signals to confirm or deny any reciprocal feelings. I was so nervous every time we hung out & became fixated on the uncertain dynamic with him; I was constantly on the precipice of what could be. It was both tormenting & exciting. My mind would wander often.
In terms of coming to fruition, “First Move” was the song that actually led me to my producers, so it’s really special to me. I posted a live clip of it to my Instagram over 2 years ago that Alan Day found in his discovery feed. He messaged me offering to organize a studio day with him & Derek Hoffman (whose studio happened to be in a warehouse across the street from my apartment, unbeknownst to me). I had been flailing for well over a year, searching for the right fit in a producer; I had made the EP, scrapped it & was feeling pretty lost… I obviously agreed. The day came and Derek & Alan knocked it out of the park – this was the first song we did and I can’t imagine it taking any other form.
It seems like you are always playing piano and writing, we notice you have a knack for taking on cover songs while putting your amazing spin on them vocally. Is this something that comes naturally to you? What is your favorite cover to sing?
Thanks! I do this as an exercise to learn & break out of my own writing habits or if I’m feeling creatively blocked. I think whether or not it comes naturally really depends on a combination of the song & my headspace. Either way, I definitely enjoy trying to come up with a distorted refraction of the song. My favorite covers are ones that totally flip the original on its head & can bring a new perspective to the listener.
Hm! I still like performing the Build Me Up Buttercup cover I put out last year. But also anything on Tapestry by Carole King is my go to in terms of just singing loud & proud at home (she’s my all time hero & those songs are perfect).
We are guessing you must be the most fun to take to karaoke! 
Ha! Actually the complete opposite. I avoid karaoke at all costs. I find it very awkward.
Can you tell us more about when your album is coming out, because we are dying to hear more already? 
I’m not sure when exactly the full thing will be out. But I do have a few more sneak peeks in the pipeline!
We know you’ve had some great opportunities to have your music featured on some rad shows. What is it like to hear your music on tv? That must be amazing to see how the shows interpret your music to their scenes. 
It’s surreal. Soundtracks have always been important to me; I found so many great bands as a teenager through the TV shows and movies I was watching. I pay even more attention now that I understand what music supervision is (Hi Dondrea! xo). Getting those placements gave me some much-needed confidence in what I was doing, so I’m really grateful for those opportunities on a number of levels.
Additionally to your music, we see you are also Founder of the Toronto Women in Music Collective. Can you tell us a bit about how this came to be and what its about? 
It happened really organically. I was new to the industry & had bumped into several musical women that were hustling in various ways, all in one week. It was July 2014. I decided to invite all the women working in music that I knew over for a barbecue. There were 6 of us. It was an inspirational & pivotal night. Everything snowballed from there. I made a private Facebook group that grew by invite only, started putting on showcases, and hosting speaking events in my living room. Now there’s over 1000 people in the group and my brilliant friends/colleagues Nico & Martha help run it as well. It’s mostly about cultivating a space where women and non-binary people can share their experiences, resources, support, and tips & tricks – as artists, industry professionals, humans or all of the above. Ultimately, the goal is to provide the tools we all need to progress in our careers to inherently take up more space.
We love that you are so headstrong and focused not only on your music but on making changes for others within the industry. You are such a fantastic role model! Who are some of the people in your collective we should be checking out? 
I’m lucky to be a part of the Toronto music community that is oozing with tons of good hearted people that want to effect change. There are so many! Check out Charlotte Day Wilson, RALPH, Vallens, Twist, Nyssa, Caveboy, Mieke, Merival, For Esmé, The Highest Order, Hannah Georgas, Etiquette, Bambii, Saidah, Maylee Todd, FRIGS, HSY, Beliefs, Hey D.W., Featurette, TiKa, HIGHS… I’m probably forgetting tons. Start there and keep going!  
Lastly, semi off topic, we see you have a great love of classic vibes and an amazing vintage clothing collection. Who are some of your inspirations behind that, and if you could go back in time to snag some wardrobe where would you grab it from?
My vintage obsession is something that is purely instinctual and I’m not sure where it came from! Finding elaborate & unique pieces (of clothing or furniture) gives me a very real high. If my brain says some combination of “my god / it’s gorgeous / I must have this”… I usually give in. Thanks to the fine folks at VISA!
Hmmm. Any time in the 20s-70s is fair game. If I could, I’d probably take from the closets of Jane Birkin, Stevie Nicks, Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Brigitte Bardot, Marilyn of course, the classics.

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