Inspired by the likes of Elton John, Billy Joel, Tori Amos, and Ben Folds, Michigan-born songstress Annie Stela got her start writing music during her teenage years. Growing up in the suburbs of Detroit didn't provide the cultural hub Stela craved, but the budding songwriter used her time there to perfect her craft with piano lessons, and immersed herself in literature and poetry. Once leaving school, Stela continued her education at the University of Michigan, where she studied music history and creative writing. Local coffeehouse gigs in and around Ann Arbor also kept her busy, but after four years, Stela was ready for a move to Los Angeles.
Times were tough in L.A., a place where everyone wants to be an artist or an actor, but Stela made ends meet by working various jobs. Between her time as a dog walker and as a runner at a recording studio, Stela performed solo shows at Hotel Café, an edgy concert dwelling located in L.A.'s Cahuenge Corridor. And as the saying goes, hard work does pay off, for Stela landed a deal with Capitol in 2005. Stela rewarded herself with a new baby grand piano and began writing material for her first EP, 2006's There Is a Story Here. Dates opening for Guster and Damien Rice followed that summer. Producer Bill Bottrell (Sheryl Crow, Shelby Lynne, Kim Richey) signed on for Stela's full-length LP, Fool, which was scheduled for an early 2007 release. ~ MacKenzie Wilson