Twenty-two year-old Palm Springs songstress Symara Stone is dressed head to toe in black as she prepares for a Wednesday evening performance. She reminds me a bit of a red-headed female version of Johnny Cash as she eagerly discusses her passion for music and animal rights.
Of course, conversation comes easy to someone who is so comfortable on stage armed with only an acoustic guitar and a microphone.
How did you get started in the music scene?
I’ve actually been doing theatre and music since I was three. I started playing guitar when I was 16. I’m always writing songs, but I didn’t really have the courage to do it on my own ‘till about last summer. My mother is a cellist, so I kind of grew up with music. My stepfather is an art teacher in Temecula and is in three bands. He’s in a three-piece jazz group and has a guitar club at school.
Who are some musicians you look up to?
Rilo Kiley, Jenny Lewis, every musician, loves The Beatles and if you don’t then you’re really not a musician. I also really love Ani Difranco. I wouldn’t mind being on Righteous Babe Records. My interest and music and what I like—it’s all over the spectrum. It really just depends if it’s melodically driven and has a clear message to it. I really love inspirational music. I love Jewel and Green Day.
When it comes to lyrics—where does that inspiration come from?
I’ve had a lot happen and I’ve dealt with a lot of death. My mom lost her memory to viral encephalitis about four years ago, so as part of healing myself (I wrote songs.) Trying to write and tell the truth, based on what I feel in the moment, is what I do.
Out of all the songs you’ve written, which one is your favorite?
Well everyone’s favorite is “Old Man Winter” but my favorite would have to be “The Pretty Ones Succeed.” It’s not necessarily based on the music, but what came out of me lyrically. I went through a hard time after my mom lost her memory and I was trying to be pretty for everybody. This is something that I suffer with. I don’t think I’m going to make it because I’m not skinny enough, and I think a lot of women have this whole self-image thing. It’s been happening forever and it’s nothing new we don’t know about, which is basically what that song is saying. “The world strangled her will to just be.” That’s what the end lyric is.
Symara Stone hosts open mic night each Thursday at Ignition Coffee in Palm Springs.