From Starr’s Mill to rising star


Steve Sparrow

Stela Cole’s sound will be revealed in her first single “You F O” that will be released under RCA Records. Her writing focuses on the theme of being free and different within today’s society, and she hopes that her music will influence her listeners to stand out and be confident as she has learned to do.

Claire Goins, Staff Writer

Since graduating from Starr’s Mill in 2016, Hollyn Shadinger — now known by her artistic name ‘Stela Cole’ — has made tremendous strides in her career as an upcoming singer/songwriter. Those who were students during her time at the Mill may well remember the release of her first five singles during her senior year, but that was only the beginning of a quickly escalating path to stardom.

After releasing my third single, ‘You F O’, this past July, I began getting calls from labels. Some of these included Sire, Republic, Atlantic, and RCA,” Shadinger said. “I began making trips out to L.A. and New York pretty much twice a month where I would meet with the teams and present myself as an artist and share my vision.”

A few weeks ago marked an important benchmark in her career as she officially signed a record deal with RCA Records, a label known for signing leading artists such as Elvis Presley, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, and Miley Cyrus. According to Shadinger, the label’s honesty and transparency was what drew her to sign with them over other record companies.

Now that she is with a label company, Shadinger is focusing on writing and recording music that exudes the “Stela Cole sound.” She says that her biggest inspiration is the band Queen, because their persona taught her to be free, creative, and overall different in her writing. “Creating music should never be forced or put into a formula, which is something I believe they taught me,” Shadinger said.

“The whole point of my music and persona is to show how important it is to have thick skin,  especially in today’s society, and to have confidence in being different,” Shadinger said. “Every song I write, I make sure I’m creating something that will stand out. I want to always make a statement and show others that they can and should do the same.”

“You F O,” the first single that will be re-released under RCA, reveals the spunk and personality that makes her stand out as a young artist. The public’s response to its release will determine the approach she takes for future singles or albums.

“My advice to anyone who wants to become a successful artist is to find what makes you unique and run with it. The industry is never looking for the next Rihanna or the next Lana Del Rey,” Shadinger said. “The industry is always searching for something new and exciting. Find your sound and find ways to amplify it.”

Shadinger continues to show that success is possible for those who have the passion and drive for it. As her music career grows and develops, her goal as an artist will remain the same — to spread happiness and inspiration through the words that she writes, “because that’s what music is all about.”

Interested in finding out more? Follow her on Instagram @callmestelacole or on Facebook at