15 Minutes With Juanita Stein

Juanita Stein is the singer/songwriter of Howling Bells. She just released her first solo album, America. In this evocative record, Stein’s honeyed voice weaves stories of heartbreak and optimism, telling tales of characters real and imagined (with Stein’s own experiences woven into them).

On December 9, you can see her play The Dakota Tavern (249 Ossington Ave). 

We caught up with her this week. 

SDTC: What’s at the top of your bucket list?

JS: Drink green tea high up on a mountain somewhere in Japan during cherry blossom season.

What’s your go-to song for getting stuff done?

Anything from The Strokes – Is This It.

What advice would you give to your fourteen-year-old self?


Who has made a big impact in your life recently, and how?

My two little girls; they’re inconceivably delightful and forever curious.

What does your ideal Saturday look like?

Family, coffee, toast, records spinning, lazy dancing, lots of giggles, more coffee, walking through some market somewhere, jumping in the sea (if I still lived in Oz, which I don’t, so maybe I go see an old film like Rumblefish). We get an ice cream, go home, more chillin’.

What’s the best part of being your current age?

Wisdom, courage, not giving a shit about the bullshit.

What is your favourite quality in your best friend?

Her ability to not give a shit about the bullshit! And that she makes me laugh.

What/who is currently inspiring you?

The photography of Lorenzo Scudiero; his stuff is evocative and kind of eerie. I discovered him on the awesome website 52-insights. Things I’ve been listening to are Badbadnotgood, Mac de Marco and Thundercat.

What art work would you love to have in your space/on your walls, and why?

Oh boy. An incredible drawing by Chagall, the one of the lovers, next to The Green Dancer – Edgar Degas and some huge old photo of a cactus – photographer unknown. They all encapsulate the things I feel on the inside. Love, light, shade, intrigue, places unknown and peace/unrest.

Fave rainy day comfort food? Or activity?

Crumpets and honey. Porridge with honey. Tea with honey. Honey basically. Activities: if it’s rainy, I’m watching films.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A performer.

What was your favourite game/toy as a child?

Alex the Kid on Sega.

What adult task would you like to get better at?

Saying no.

If you could spend a year studying something, what would it be?

Contemporary Dance!

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