"I've always been a singer, at heart, and it's something that will never go away, it is just intrinsically built into who I am," say Jenna, co-lead vocalist of the musically dynamic duo Starar. She's been a musician for years too, nearly a decade of hard guitar practice and performance, all neatly wrapped-up in a tight package of song writing and flawless pop arrangement skills.
Her brother, Steven, is also pretty good at pulling in the punters, fans of melodic and heartfelt country-rock, indie-pop, jazz, soul, you name it, they've recorded it. "I think we've always had a kind of 'genre schizophrenia' between us, but it all seems to work well along-side itself," explains Steven, "even the extremities." What, like, jazz-brushes and smooth 50's jazz in the style of Ella Fitzgerald (My Hearts Seen Better Days from their debut-album "Who", released in 2010) verses their recent country-pop-rock blitzes of impeccably commercial radio-candy that sound like Taylor Swift cuddling up next to Jessica Simpson with LeAnn Rimes watching and gently exclaiming a passing, "Aww!" under her breath? Just listen to their monster Youtube hits "Juliet's Still Alone" or "Heartbreak Radio" for proof.
Steven also covers the alternative-indie-rock market with his unique Sam Prekop meets David Bowie vocal styling on their mini-album "One Good Year". Even so, their newer releases have been far more uniform in sound, sticking to a more natural, guitar-driven rock frenzy rather than the mash-ups of synths, sped-up drumming and vocal-delay tricks of their previous two releases. Having said that, they still manage to sneak in a few T-Pain or Beyonce flavoured R&B hits, so authentic sounding most folks think it IS programmed! Jenna explains, "We really like the urban pop sound, but since we play instruments, we decided to have a crack at making the synth-pop out of real musical parts, so to speak, it's a lot like what indie bands do with hard-gating and varispeed tricks, even though it is all played by our fair hands." Is there nothing these two CAN'T do? "We haven't tried heavy metal yet!" laughs Steven, "Although we love 80s music all the way through, so you never know, a little Kip Winger or Def Leopard may find it's way in sometime soon!" I don't think he's joking.
After Jenna learned to play guitar (nicked from her Dad, she claims) and the two of them taught themselves keyboards ("I just found out how to play every chord extension possible in every tone and I was all set!" she says) Steven bought himself a cheap drum kit and bass-guitar and set to work crafting their own five or six-piece band out of many, many overdubs. "That's the great thing about modern tools, you can multi-track alot quicker and therefore have more time to write songs and learn to play the instruments," says Steven, "We must have well over 200 tracks in the archives that have never been mixed, simply because we have so many tracks we want to write, it's unbelievable. At least we have plenty to give to other artists for the next two decades!" he laughs.
Already the duo have done well for themselves, and after releasing their debut album through a one-off deal with Optimum Records in the UK, they've switched to the independent way of taking some music and unleashing it before the unsuspecting world. "We never had a deal with a label as artists, simply a distribution and publishing deal to put out some music," explains Jenna, "So basically, we're free to sign with whoever, wherever and whenever. It certainly gives us a lot of freedom at this stage in our career." Steven is a little more blunt about the situation, however, "We're doing it with a no-BS approach, giving people music WE like, rather than music that labels THINK the people should hear." Fresh thinking in the 21st, certainly.
So there you have it, Starar, in a short essay; easy to read, and giving you all the facts. Currently working on (yes, you guessed it!) more music, they are trying to secure a deal with a record label to release a second full-length album and give it the distribution it would no doubt deserve. "The next album will be head and shoulders above anything we've put out before, without a doubt," says Jenna, "and we'll do as much of it ourselves as possible, that way we keep a consistent sound all the way down the chain, from the initial mumblings in the writing room to the final bounce-down of the mix to CD". It seems these two are writing their own destiny.