Stella Homewood travelled a long way to end up making ‘Dreams & Lullabies’, the lush, classy collection of gentle jazz standards that she released in 2023 with guitarist Paul Richards. She first sang jazz on a Brighton stage around 20 years ago, where she was introduced to a swing band in a central pub and invited to join in.
Before then, she was dancing ballet as a child in Lancashire, studied Performing Arts in Kent and then making alternative eco-folk in the South West as a multi-instrumentalist member of The Spacegoats – who were wisely protesting the destruction of our natural environment long before Greta Thunberg got in on the act.
Later, after that swinging Brighton stage experience, she went on to release two albums of self-penned folk songs inspired by the bucolic surroundings of her new home near Lewes.
But a deep love for all things vintage lingered throughout her life. As a teenager she had a phase of dressing as a Victorian, and today everything from her vintage dresses to her trilling, wonderfully expressive singing voice evokes the 1930s and 40s.
If Doris Day and Peggy Lee had got together to build a time machine, they’d find plenty to love if they landed at one of Stella’s 2020s shows.
She has learned Lindy Hop swing dancing, and the level of comfort she feels in this world means she can put her own confident stamp on the standards rather than merely mimicking the greats of old.
The songs she sings are cosily familiar, delivered with a warm glow of wonder that comes from a genuine passion for this music. ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’, ‘Embraceable You’ and ‘A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes’ (from Disney’s ‘Cinderella’), recorded with the intimate backing of Paul Richards’ sophisticated acoustic guitar, have rarely been interpreted so beautifully.
For Stella, after her long musical journey, it feels like coming home. “When I used to play my guitar and sing my own songs, I found I was really shy,” she says. “Whereas when I sing jazz, it’s like I can become something else, a roleplay, which weirdly makes me feel more myself. And of course I love, love, love this music.”
Stella is greatly inspired by the music and sounds of Ella Fitzgerald, Gershwin, Cole Porter, Irvin Berlin, Peggy Lee, Doris Day, Teddy Wilson and Al Bowley.
A songwriter, producer and multi instrumentalist, she plays guitar, Celtic harp, recorders, flutes, percussion, djembe drum and the Native American Indian flute.
Alongside music and singing, in her spare time, Stella makes enchanting handmade collages reflecting her deep love of nature and wildlife. She is inspired by fairytale, folklore, birds, botanicals and butterflies.
There is now a collection of beautiful greeting cards taken from the originals available for sale.
To see and purchase Stella's art and CDs, please see the Store / Art link.
Music links to Spotify and Apple Music are on her Songwriter page.