At nine years of age, Stella Swanson had her own CD, starred in Les Misérables, and wrote a variety of songs.
Now 10 years old, Swanson not only has a Canadian Folk Music Award nomination under her belt and is an International Songwriting Competition finalist, but she, along with her sister Sophie, 8, and mom Karen Pantuso Swanson, are set to release their second album, Pants on Backwards.
“Our fans were asking ‘when’s the next CD?’ We thought it would be a great idea because people really loved the first one,” said Stella.
Her first CD, I’m not a bunny, featured Sophie and their mom, and was recorded with the help of Juno-award winning songstress Helen Austin.
This time around, because Sophie and Pantuso Swanson participated with writing and performing on the album, Swanson included their band on the CD – The Rosie Joyfuls.
As for its title, Stella explained it comes when her and Sophie were “really little.”
“When we started to learn how to dress ourselves, we would put our pants on backwards,” she added with a laugh.
The CD features nine songs with tracks including ‘It’s a Good Life,’ ‘Bamboo Tree’ and ‘Soaring Free’ – which was written for the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (M.A.R.S).
“We want people to enjoy it, and to spread peace and love,” noted Stella, who added she is always coming up with idea for songs, and began the songwriting process throughout the summer.
Sophie added songs for the album came to her when she was playing outside.
“We run around and when I think of something that rhymes, I run to mom with a song starter and ask her to record it.”
This time around Sophie recorded vocals on seven of the nine tracks, and credits her teacher Oscar Robles Diãz with the percussion he brings to the album. Austin’s daughter Daisy Squires also contributed to the CD with fiddle on tracks ‘I Send Love’ and ‘Sweet Home Home.’
The first couple of songs were recorded in one session, explained Stella, with seven tracks recorded in a second session at Austin’s home studio on Halloween. She credited the experienced musician with her “eagerness to help” bring the album together.
“We are so grateful to Helen, who went above and beyond,” added Pantuso Swanson.
The CD release party for Pants on Backwards is set for Dec. 11 at Highland Secondary School at 4 p.m., doors at 3:30 p.m. Entry is by donation, with proceeds going to M.A.R.S.
CDs will be available to purchase for $10.
For more information or to purchase a CD, visit stellaswanson.com.