|Birth name||Stella G. Katsoudas|
|Also known as||Sister Soleil|
|Born||November 3, 1971|
|Origin||Chicago, Illinois, USA|
|Genres||Pop, rock, dance|
|Associated acts||DubWitch, Dirty Little Rabbits, Geno Lenardo, Whorse, NIN, Trent Reznor, Juniper|
Stella Katsoudas (born November 3, 1971) is a Greek-American pop and rock singer better known for stage names Stella Soleil and Sister Soleil as well as having been frontwoman for Dirty Little Rabbits. Katsoudas most recently released the album Under A DubWitch Moon under the moniker DubWitch.
Early life and career beginnings
Stella started in Chicago, Illinois doing back up vocals for a number of local bands including Chemlab's album East Side Militia singing on "Electric Molecular", the Ministry song "The Fall", from the album Filth Pig and 16 Volt on LetdownCrush, singing on "Swarm". In 1996 Stella self-released "Drown Me in You" via her own label "Katharsis Records".
Peter Gabriel wanted to use a couple of producers she was working with to program a couple of tracks for him. He also worked on a song on the Soularium album called "Blind" that she had written in Chicago with Preston Klik and Thomas Cray while in the short-live trio, Juniper. There it was, like a mantra, he sang over and over "shine like the sun, shine like the sun.”
Michael Rand former Kid Rock and Blue October manager secured the Sister Soleil recording contract with Doug Morris then CEO of Universal Music Group. When Stella got her record deal with Universal, Stella flew Corey Taylor into Real World Studios to record a song called "Liar". When Sister Soleil toured for the Soularium album in the midwest Corey would always come to do the show live with her, ending in a fist fight on the floor, their idea of an antithesis to "Baby It's Cold Outside".
Gaining a lot of recognition in the midwest, thanks to radio D.J. Sophia John of the once 107.5 KKDM Radio Station in Des Moines, Iowa, Sister Soleil had a lot of airplay featuring top songs "Red" and "Torch". Performing at the local radio station's music festival, "The Dotfest", the band received a lot of great feedback. However, at the time of her record release there was a different scene that was more popular.
1997-2001: Universal Records
To gain inspiration for her next album, Stella took a two year trek around the world, during which she read, wrote in journals, and practiced yoga while recording in five different countries. "I spent two years by myself," she said. "[The label] was really supportive that I needed to go across the Atlantic to reinvent myself and to find my voice and my writing muse."
In 2001, Stella was transformed into "Stella Soleil" (Soleil is French for sun) a Pop princess ready to compete with Britney Spears, Mandy Moore, Jessica Simpson, and Christina Aguilera who were all very popular at the time.
The record went through many different phases. While the tracks "Imperfect" and "Stand Up" were being worked on at such well known studios in London known as Milo Studios and Air Studios the track "Pretty Young Thing" was being worked on in the States. Once the tracks were finished, at last minute Universal decided to have her do a cover song.
The first single released was Kiss Kiss the English version of "Şımarık" originally sung by Turkish star Tarkan. The song's popularity spread after first being played on Y-100, a South Floridian radio station. "Kiss Kiss" was one of Stella's biggest hits reaching #27 on the Billboard Top 40 charts in the US.
On May 1, 2001, Stella released her 2nd album "Dirty Little Secret". Despite the success of 'Kiss Kiss' the album barely charted at #106 on Billboard though it did reach #2 on the Heatseekers chart. However her song "Stand Up" was featured on the WB Fall Line Up as background music. Several different artists, including Holly Valance, also worked on versions of "Kiss Kiss".
A poll was held on her official website asking what the next single should be. "Pretty Young Thing" was chosen and released to the radio though it never charted. The following year, after low chart positions and a failed follow up single, Stella and Universal parted ways.
Many fans criticized Stella's sound during this time. They considered it 'selling out' and too 'poppy'. Unlike her fellow (and younger) Pop princesses, Stella was able to write her own music and had years of experience under her belt. Stella herself has expressed dissatisfaction with this era due to her lack of creative control. In her MySpace biography, it states "Dirty Little Secret was a hit. However, Stella decided to drop the pop act in search of something she could relate to easier."
In 1999 Stella remixed the Nine Inch Nails song "A Warm Place", which was intended for use on the 1999 film Stigmata soundtrack and is now available for free download at Nine Inch Nails' official remix site and in 2003 Katsoudas recorded a duet song "Глаза" ("Eyes") with Russian artist Dolphin.
Dirty Little Rabbits
In January 2007, Shawn Crahan of Slipknot and Michael Pfaff of Grimes, Iowa, met and started to collaborate on a project they called Pfaffenclown. After initial writing sessions, they began to look for members for this new band and eventually invited Jeff Karnowski of Des Moines, Iowa on bass and Tyler Fyhrie of the Colorado-based band Murder of Crows on guitar. In April 2007, Crahan, who had known Stella since Slipknot began performing in Des Moines in 1995, invited her to become the lead vocalist for Dirty Little Rabbits. She accepted. Since then, Dirty Little Rabbits have performed in Omaha, Des Moines, Chicago, as well as being on a month-long tour with Stone Sour and Sydonia in August 2007.
The Return of Sister Soleil
Stella resumed working under the moniker Sister Soleil and self-released "Eskimo" in May 2011.
In late 2011 Stella put together a full band line up, reuniting with original Sister Soleil member and guitarist Grey Parker, and adding new member Peter Bisinov on guitars, drums, and programming.
They are currently working at Glasswall Studios in Geneva, IL with producers Shea Villwock and Jordon Popp.
In early 2015 Katsoudas self-released music under a new project entitled DubWitch with the release of "Under A DubWitch Moon". DubWitch is officially described as "dub step inspired, hip hop beats, ethereal vocals, down tempo, electronic music. creepy and cool."
Videos for "Let it Go", "Blame it on the Heartache" and "TheSea/Cellophane" have been released to promote the album with the latter video being directed by documentary filmmaker John Borowski at City Methodist Church in Gary,IN.
- Drown Me in You (EP released under the name Sister Soleil)
- Soularium (released under the name Sister Soleil)
- Dirty Little Secret (released under 'Stella Soleil')
- Breeding (EP released with Dirty Little Rabbits in 2007)
- Simon (Second EP released with Dirty Little Rabbits in 2009)
- Dirty Little Rabbits (Debut album with Dirty Little Rabbits in 2010)
- Eskimo (2011)
- Under A DubWitch Moon (Released under the name DubWitch 2015)
- "Kiss Kiss"
- "Pretty Young Thing"
- Official Site (MySpace fansite)
- Official Personal Site
- Dirty Little Rabbits' MySpace Site
- Allmusic Stella Soleil page
- The New Era of Stella Soleil Interview 2006
- (Stella Soleil, Sister Soleil Discography)
- (Live concert photos of WHORSE on Revenant Media)
- (Live photos of Dirty Little Rabbits on Revenant Media)