Music is only my medium.

For those of you who are confused about my sentiment toward music, allow me to clarify:

Music is not my sole reason for living. I do not idolize it. It will not be the last word I utter on my deathbed.

I used to think the opposite of those three statements, but I found myself stuck in a stalemate of uncertainty. It made music less enjoyable for me, because the stakes were so much higher. I was stressed out about it. I started to resent it.

I’ve been going through a lot of changes and realizations lately; and although I have not yet arrived to where I want to be, I found that there are far more things to life than simply music. It is but one of my MANY loves in the world. It takes a back seat to my family, friends, mental and physical health.

Don’t get me wrong. If the opportunity came along to travel and make music, I would not hesitate to do it. I wouldn’t even look back. But the important thing is to keep an open mind on that venture. The important thing is to live in the moment and not let it get in the way of life. As was the previous case, I let it stifle me…and precisely for those reasons.

It was as if I was trying to please everyone but myself in that pursuit; and at the same time, I was selfish about it. “Why am I living a life where I constantly contradict myself,” I asked. It came to the point where I could no longer write lyrics without some depressing undertone. It was either that or I was writing songs about music. I should have been making music about the things that interest me. I should have been accumulating knowledge and keeping an open mind and trying new things. I realize now that music is a medium for me to communicate those things. I want to write about what matters to me, the things that affect the world; and not in some holier than thou, preachy type of way, but in such a way that I can relate to even the loneliest, most insignificant creature on this earth, sans pressure. I don’t want to exclude people, I want to include them. But in order to do that, I need to open myself up to

For some, music is life. I’m not knocking that. Everyone has a different truth. Mine has yet to be found, but I’m happy to say that next time I make an album or join a band, it will be for the pleasure of it. It will not be a one-track mind endeavor. I will not let myself fixate on the notion of success, because from what I’ve experienced, it has made me miserable.

To my friends, I’m sorry I disappeared for awhile. I’m beginning to wake up from this dark, dingy sleep. And I think I’m almost ready to try again.

– Stella Donna

To be, or not to be (happy).

Here’s my voice: It’s my first year back in college. After three long years of living paycheck to paycheck, roaming around, paying off debts, clearing my record, taking a train trip across the country, being a bum on the couch for months, binge sleeping, binge eating, working, foaming up lattes, writing for no reason, wanting to become a musician, wanting to be happy, wanting to clear my name, wanting to have integrity, living with the poor and seeing how they escape, wishing that they’d educate themselves, wishing that I’d educate myself, no longer being the youngest in the group, no longer living paycheck to paycheck, no paycheck, stressing out about school, looking at the hard road ahead, ready to try it out, hopefully I’ll make it out alive, embarrassing myself in class, but speaking my mind, wanting to see other minorities like myself educated and be able to fulfill basic needs so that they can focus on important issues in society and ask questions and fill the gap and think, think, think…(unfinished thought)

“Wake up little brain cells, wake up.”
– M. Seigel

A whole bunch of unrelated topics.

It’s been a long time since I’ve written a blog. I was supposed to write one every week, but things happen…

The first thing I want to mention is my condolence for the tragic event that recently occurred: my bassist lost his little brother. It’s something that no one that young should ever experience, especially to such a good person…

Secondly, I want to thank Phil Yeh for publishing a column I wrote about the band and our poorness. (I just realized that poorness looks like it says porn.)
Here it is:  UNCLE JAM, ISSUE 100

Next thing: The new Avatar graphic novel is rockin’! I picked it up two days ago and read it in less than half an hour. As usual, Prince – I mean – Firelord Zuko is in fine form as a brooding teenager with a lot of guilt, stress and pressure. Aang and Katara are doing their weird girlfriend/boyfriend thing, and I agree with Sokka – “Oogies!” Everybody thinks that Zuko is going to turn bad, but what they don’t realize is that Zuko was NEVER bad. He always thought he was doing the right thing. He just had a distorted view of what was right and wrong. In this situation, I believe that he was right and the Avatar was wrong. Let me know what you think. If you can out-nerd me in Avatar, go ahead and try.

Next: I’m a journalism major at SDSU AND a musician. Inner conflict of interest makes it hard. More on this in my next post. Gotta keep the two separate! Any suggestions?

AND OF COURSE: My album, “The Raven” — It’s done and is being primped an packaged. In the meantime, check out my video for ‘Road Trippin'”

Stella Donna of the Wind Caves

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Went on an adventure and shot a video in the desert last weekend. My friend and her boyfriend picked Bruce and I up, and we packed the back of his truck with necessary (as well as unnecessary) gear: tents, tripod, cameras, typewriter, food, water, boots(non-hiking), machete, hula-hoops, musical instruments, etc. Then it was off to wind caves. I’ve never been there before, nor have I heard of it, but my friend’s always coming up with not-too distant destinations that seem like they could be featured on the Discovery Channel.

The drive there seemed longer than it was. We periodically stopped to check out landmarks and the status of the engine. We even saw a rainbow. When we finally got there, it was dark and I couldn’t tell where the hell we were.

I felt like I stepped into a time warp. My imagination took hold of me and I took to waltzing around playing geologist and anthropologist.  Within the first few hours of settling into camp, I cut myself playing with my new Swiss Army knife. Blood was gushing from my pinky and everyone kept asking if I was okay. I played it cool and discreetly stole away to do first aid on myself.  Feeling pleased that I didn’t make a fuss of the situation, and that I actually got to use the first aid kit I bought the day before, I ambled back to the fire and spent the night partying.

The next morning I awoke to a bold sign by the tent that said “Fire in metal containers ONLY.” Damn, oh well. I reasoned that we were the only people within a ten-mile radius and that it would be fine. I guess I was wrong, because we ended up getting fined. Bruce and I walked around picking up brush to burn while the others slept. I noticed that the water bottle I used to pour over my pinky the night before had crusty brown blood on it, so I took that one as my own and we head out. Later on, we all went off-roading and got stuck in the sand. The hot sun was leathering my tanned skin and it was so dry that no matter how much warm water or Powerade I drank, my thirst wouldn’t quench.

Mere minutes after we got stuck, a park ranger rolls up in a Range Rover. She’s wearing oddly-shaped khaki pants, ranger hat, sunglasses and a utility belt with all the good stuff on it. “Damn, a woman,” my friend said. “Prolly gonna be a bitch. Usually women in these positions are.”

“The chopper saw you from overhead,” the ranger said. That statement ruined my imagination, knowing that we were being watched the whole time.

She took our licenses, went back to her car for about ten minutes and came back to pull us out of the sand trap. “I just saved you about four hundred dollars from towing,” she said. “What are you guys out here looking for anyway?”

“We were looking for the wind caves, but got lost,” my friend’s boyfriend said. It wasn’t a lie.

“Well come on this way and I’ll show you where they are. We thought we saw you guys this morning over at ‘blah blah’ camp.”

‘Bitch,’ I thought.  Whatever I took that morning was wearing off and I stayed silent for most of the encounter. This woman was ruining my fantasy.

We followed her to the wind caves and saw a whole bunch of old people preparing for the hike up: walking sticks, canteens, sunglasses, hiking boots, etc. The park ranger stops and gets out of her vehicle and walks over to us, telling us a little about them. “But follow me back to camp first,” she said.

“She’s gonna cite us for the fire,” I said as the ranger got back in her car. “Is there anything else out?”

“No, all that’s in my tent,” the boyfriend said.

“Good. She can’t go in there. Illegal search and seizure!” I said.

“Well, might as well blare a ‘getting in trouble song’ for the ride!” my friend said and we headed toward camp blasted Danzig.

We got back to camp and Bruce bee-lined it to the canopy, away from the park ranger. I didn’t know where to stand and ended up there too. My friend followed and soon enough, her boyfriend and the park ranger came too. She had her camera and was taking pictures of ‘the blackened earth,’ where the fire was. She then went to the sign and took a picture of that. After scolding us for a few minutes and treating us like children, she wrote a citation and was one her way. She wasn’t all-that mean, but was a still a drag.

That instance almost ruined the rest of my trip. I wanted to go home, but somehow pulled through and explored the wind caves, feasted on watermelon, shot a video and camped one more night. All in all, it was a good trip.

Stella Donna

*Update in 2022: Just seeing this for the first time in years, and WOW, I was an idiot back then. It was a good thing I was fined. I was wrong and didn’t know better. I apologize.

To everyone who thinks like this

Life got real. Had to make a cut. Unfortunately for me, money isn’t my first or second priority, so I quit my job…again. On a side note to self: NO MORE SPLURGING.

Had some serious freak outs lately, mostly due to stress. A lot of shows, homework and just plain work has started getting to me, and I have nothing to show for it yet. Been having more shows and opportunities come my way lately too; and I also acquired myself some bandmates (We’re now Stella Donna and the Ravens). But I still feel like my attention is too heavily divided. I can see how school will ruin someone’s life if he/she let’s it. It’s just too easy to fall into that world — academia. I’m already thinking about getting some journalism work on the side; and I’m constantly thinking about homework. Another thing I catch myself thinking, which I’m not proud to admit, is what if I became a journalist, a writer, an entrepreneur, professor, philosopher? Being in school ironically makes the life of an artist seem so far away, at least, the musical kind I’m striving for. It shouldn’t be an option. Obstacles should not stand in my path. So what’s the problem? I don’t fucking know. All I know is that I have 215 fans on Facebook, 16 units, and am soon to be unemployed. Scratch that, unemployed means that someone is actively seeking work. What about people who are actively seeking art? Sanity? I think that’s called uninspired. 

My good friend Bruce told me that I should give people substance on the internet every day. That’s how I’ll build fans and keep them. I don’t wanna fake it though. When I’m ready to give, I’ll give. I think that the most important thing I can do as an artist is be honest.  Of course, there’s always that cool air of mystery too, but that’s easy because there are certain things that nobody will ever know except me. ; )

Mysteriousness aside, here’s the moral of story: “The purpose in life is happiness.” I’ve been skimming through “The Art of Happiness” lately and decided that those six words are the most profound ones I’ve read this year. It’s only a matter of deciding what makes me truly happy; and that again I don’t know. Alls I know is that something’s gotta change…and soon.

Every Tuesday and Thursday, I have almost a two-hour break in between classes. During that time, I shuffle off to my clean, well-lighted place. There’s hardly ever anyone there, and it’s there that I can have a brief peace of mind. It’s my secret spot. shhh. I think everyone can benefit from one of those secret spots. It’ll do you good, especially if you’re in a relatable state to me. And I know I’m not alone in this. So for the few people who read my blog: If you happen to have a looming anxiety — subtle, but still ever-present, then find yourself a clean, well-lighted place. And if you have any idea what the next step is, let me know.

Stella Donna

School, 2012, Haters, Rants

I start school tomorrow… What the hell did I get myself into? It’s been a long time since I’ve been a university kid and all that work to convince them to let me back in has been met with success. The only thing is that I’m torn between two lives: logical versus purely passionate. It’s nice to have education. One can never get enough of that, but, damn do I just wanna hit the road. This past two months, I’ve been practicing the art of self-control. Frivolous spending, partying, all that junk – out the window. It was surprisingly easier than I thought. All I have to do is keep busy and not go anywhere, unless it’s for a specific purpose. I’m still deciding if that’s the kind of life I want to live. Hopefully I can ride out this experiment for the entire semester so that I can get good grades.

On another note, only four more months until 2012. For some, it means the end of the world. For others, it means some kind of new beginning. And for most, it just means another year. Since I was born in the year of the dragon, 2012 means a lot to me. It’s gonna be my year, so I better make the most of it. I gotta start preparing now, so if any of you guys happen to have a brilliant mind, let me know (I have a this fantasy of surrounding myself with the brilliant minds of our generation. We’ll hang out, have heated political discussions and label ourselves something similar to Hemingway’s Lost Generation, as Gertrude Stein called him and his gang of writer friends).

It has also come to my recent attention that I have some haters in my musical periphery. That’s expected I guess. Not everybody’s gonna like my music for whatever reason. I can’t say I don’t care, however I wish that was the case. All I can say is that this past week has taught me a lot in the world of music. As an artist becomes more established, it’s easier to hate. This first album I’ve been working on for more than a year has been one giant experiment. It’s helped me discover myself in a way that’s matured me a million times over. I’m not afraid to voice the fact that I like things that are uncool, cool, popular, unpopular, punk, grunge, country, jazz, pop or whatever. I like what I like. That’s it. Some people obviously write something off as soon as they hear it, because it’s outside of their immediate line of vision of what’s cool. Some people think it’s cool to not be cool. They are impressionable by their friends who listen to listen to only a certain type of music and who think that everything else is absolute shit. To those people, all I have to say is GROW SOME INDIVIDUALITY. You know who you are. I don’t give a rooty tooty if you think my music is too much of this or that. It’s certainly not shit. You know why? Because I made it and DAMN, do I smell good. It’s an experiment. I’m heavily influenced by my surroundings and I make music based on my experiences with those surroundings. When I write, I have a pen and a paper. I have a guitar, logic program and sometimes random guest musicians who throw down on random instrumentation here and there. I’m just now starting to develop a live act that consists of me, a guitarist, bassist and djembe player. Before that, it was just me and my baby Stella. Next, I’m gonna figure out how to incorporate the electronic elements into my set, all the while writing more songs, experimenting with different sounds, learning different vocal techniques and ways to use my voice. It’s a progression. The Beatles are a perfect example of that. They progressed from album to album. Who knows, I might do an all acoustic album next time where it’s just me and the guitar. Or it might be straight house music, because yes, I like house and remember many a Tijuana nights before I turned 21 where La Plaza set the tone for end of my adolescent years. It could also be surf, because I love The B-52s and secretly wanted to be a gogo dancer for The Creepy Creeps. And the bap bap of the snare with fast-paced crawling blues rhythms from The Cramps is killer. You know why? Because I fucking can, man. The common denominator of whatever I make will always be me. It’s only when I allow somebody to take control of every aspect of my artistry that I will lose myself. That’ll be the day when I lose respect for myself. Even for those people who do do music like that, I still can’t hate. Even if I don’t get uber famous like lady gaga or die young and become a legend like Jimi Hendrix, Ima keep doing what I’m doing. Music is my passion. Writing is my life. I can’t live with out it. It would merely be surviving. To all my friends who support me, thank you. You all mean so much to me, especially the ones who put up with my bad side.

Well, that was my rant.


Stella Donna

Technology is not my strong suit

Been making some dope music and have hit a roadblock. What the devil am I gonna do with it? I don’t have the foggiest idea of how to operate in the technological world. Like Erykah Badu, I’m also an analog girl in a digital world. I understand the importance of online marketing and whathaveyou, but am technicaltarded.

A lot of the time, that stuff goes right over my head (I’m not dumb, just lazy-brained). Thusly, this shall be my rant on how much I dislike technology, but know that in this day and age, techincal savvy is key to self-promotion and success. I guess it’s time time to invest in using the Web as a tool. That just means that I’ll have to sacrifice my precious writing time, creative time and Avatar watching time to do it. So be it. So-fucking-be it.

As for today, I’m in sweats with leftover make up and smeared lipstick from last night. I just cooked some steak and eggs for breakfast and am almost ready to begin my day. ; )

That’s all for now.

Stella Donna

Lyrics from my debut album “The Raven” due out late 2011

Stella Donna
I am coming for you
You will know my name is
Stella Donna baby
Check the yellow pages
Sittin’ on the surface
There’s a rumblin’ underneath
Your body starts a rockin’
To the rhythm and the beat
With your ear against the pavement
You’re tryna track it down
Well that’s just Stella Donna
I’m waltzing into town
My mission statement’s simple
It’s keep art alive
So go against your reason
Let your passion be your guide
If your mind keeps on competin’
With what’s inside your soul
Then take a minute baby
And get this problem under control (fuck it)
Keep that rhythm hot
Let me show you whatcha got
Don’t be afraid to let it go
Remember that you’re in control
Keep your head up high
Don’t let the fire in you die
I’m here to help you out
So baby set aside your doubt

Simple Things
My mind’s a cigarette
My brain’s on fire
My life is anything but simple

Lately there’s been a ball of fire in me
And when I stop and try to chase it
My mind get’s worked up energy’s wasted
Often I drive for miles in no direction
Hoping to find my destination
But I can’t seem to find a clearing
It’s through the bell jar that I’m peering

I feel like the weight of the world is on my face
I’m trying hard to balance my head
And if the sky is too big for me then I take a break
I ride the swings and then it’s okay
Swimming against the tide think I am winning
And when I mark the miles departed
I find I’m right back where I started
Running from my man Goddamn I’m crazy
Cuz he’s so hot and I’m just lazy
It seem the closer I get near him
I tune him out so I don’t hear him
I wish for simple things
I hope for dreams
I think that life’ll be better
I’m sorry baby I’m missing you
I wasn’t ready for us

Nerd Party
It’s going on
A nerdy funkathon (yeah)
Rubix cube
I’m in the mood
Outer space
At my place
Front door surprisin’
Event horizon

Let’s have a nerd party baby you and me
We don’t need no cool cards we just need the beat
If you bring your chessboard then baby it’s on
And afterwards get dressed to go to Comic-Con
Cuz I’m a nerd
Crossword puzzles
Nintendo games
On the double
Don’t be late
Smart boys
The ones I want
Quotin’ movies
All night long
Kung fu
Westerns too
Playin’ by
Zombie rules
Don’t be shy
I wanna see
Your nerdy side
Boy get with me
Let’s have a nerd party baby you and me
Bookworms really know how to get freaky
Electric charge our atoms making ions
Freakyometry move me like a pawn

The Art of Being Lonely
I’ll be fine
I’m a legend somewhere in my minds
When I’m late I’ll make a coffee break
And take my time
Why am I supposed to deal with you
(I’m lonely) Cuz you’re my muse
I don’t need you but I see it through
Gonna pay my dues
So kiss me
And scream
And teach me
New things
Then leave me
Come back
Retrieve me
Go back
So for now let’s make it worth our while
I’ll sing the blues
I can’t help it that I’m into you (I’m lonely)
You’re my muse
So grab my
Have me
I’m yours
But then move on
I’ll pluck you
Fuck you
And die
Cuz it’s my mind

Road Trippin’
We’re packed and ready to go
A little money and a ghetto phone
I kiss your scruffy head
We’re leavin’ baby the world is our bed
I said my goodbyes
So mama don’t cry
It’s time for me to head out
And get on with my life
Baby can you track my tires
We should hit the road
Cigarettes and empty lighters
Passion overload
Trippin’ for purely pleasure
Wine and our loaded minds
Random at our leisure
Giant balls of twine
If it means you’re stealing baby
Then I’ll do it too
Happiness is meaningless
If I’m not with you
The wind it slaps my toes
I’m kinda diggin’ this life I chose
Gas station coffee
Our home is now a memory
I said my goodbyes
So mama don’t cry
I’ve gone and went with my man
To start a new life
Baby I’m lovin’ the ride
Honey I’ve broken my ties
New life outlaws with no rules
Honey for you I’m a fool

Clock’s Ticking
The clock is ticking in my ear
It tells me things I don’t wanna hear
The ground is planted under my feet
I wanna know but I can’t see
And I’m waiting
Yeah I’m waiting
And I’m waiting
For your love
The walls are circling round and round
They echo all the sound
My man has gone away
Maybe he’ll be back someday

The Innocents
I’ve seen things y’all
I’ve been around
I did the dirty baby
I’ve been down
The things I’ve seen I
Can’t undo no
If you don’t know then you’ll
Be seduced
The innocents are tucked in bed tonight
So close their eyes
Turn off the lights
Not my daddy nor my mama can shield my mind
It’s too late
I’m no longer blind (OH YEAH)
I’ll chew you up baby
There’s no doubt
If you can’t handle me
Then get the fuck out
Oh what I’ve seen’ll
Make you cry
But you keep coming back
And I know why
Now let me tell you something you may already know
I’ve been down down
Way down low
The Innocents are tucked in bed tonight
So close their eyes
Turn off the lights (OH YEAH)

Freeze Frame
Freeze frame on the image in my head
You’re in your car ridin’ south to the eternal bed
And you snap a photo of what you’re leavin’ behind
Ooh baby now you’re wondering where your life when
You’re thinking back to all the money and your time spent
Always in the middle never takin’ a chance
Scooby dooby do wah ah ahhhh

Time is takin’ over me
Time has made a fool of me
Money’s takin’ over me
My man has made a fool of me
Nothin’ left to do with me
Nothin’ left to do with me
I just wanna be free
But time is taking over me
Said that you would help me
You said that you would help me
I ain’t seen a penny
Cuz time has made a fool of me
Time is taking over me
Money’s made a fool of me
I ain’t seen a penny
My man has made a fool of me

Evolution of Beat Poetry
Dig into the digital vibe
The spirits jive on the hive
I’m satisfied by the ride
The spinny slide oh
Open up your mind and set free
Be who you will be
The world is yours for the taking
If you decree
Comin’ out of limbo
Crash the cymbal
Hear the echoing ride
I take my thimble
Nimbly fingers
Graze the rippling tide
And as the sand sweeps away my pain
I find another gain
I’m star watchin’
Soul searchin’
Writer’s blockin’
My eyes are a lockin’
On the finish line I gotta
Check myself back in
Lost my reality card
Damn I worked so hard
And ooh life’s sweet when you got your own
Ooh my life is a painted storm
But ooh it’s better than being bored