STF – Boyish Looks
ARTIST NAME: STF
SONG TITLE: Boyish Looks
STF is the son of an American entrepreneur father and an Italian fashion designer mother.
He is a dual Italian-American citizen who was raised between Milan, Italy, and Scottsdale, Arizona.
“Italian was actually my first language, so I struggled a lot in school when we first moved to Arizona,” he says. “I had an accent, was between languages, and was just very awkward.”
His love for music came from his dad, a classic rock fan who put a guitar in young STF’s hands at age 13.
STF also studied piano, violin, and drums, “which I loved, but playing drums meant always playing other people’s songs and I wanted to be part of the creative process.”
STF stuck with guitar, began singing and writing songs at 17, and, after graduating from high school, moved to Los Angeles to attend Musicians Institute where he formed a funk-pop band that made the rounds of Hollywood clubs like The Roxy and House of Blues on Sunset.
STF got his first professional break when he was cast as a musician on the hit FOX series Glee.
In between seasons, STF went back to Italy to appear on a talent show called Amici, which he describes as a cross between American Idol and Big Brother.
For the six weeks, the show was on the air, STF was a star. “I would walk down the street and get mobbed by people wanting to take pictures,” he recalls. “I’d pass by the newsstand and my face was on magazine covers. It felt like a dream. One moment nobody knew me, the next moment the whole country knew me. Then it all stopped when the next season started because there was a new cast.”
The fleeting fame messed with STF’s head. “I was always focused on the music, so to have people talking about me for something other than that, and then to have it go away so fast, it was hard,” he says. “It was also bad timing because I didn’t have any music ready while the show was airing, so I didn’t capitalize on the moment.”
In fact, STF had recorded a bilingual album for Sony that wound up being shelved.
STF decided to move back to L.A. and rejoin the cast of Glee, but other setbacks followed, including a deal with an indie label that didn’t pan out, a painful break-up, and health issues.
“At that point, I didn’t have the energy to make original music,” he says. “But I needed to pay my bills and I wanted to do it through music.”
STF became a touring musician, hitting the road with singer-songwriter Bridget Mendler, Andy Grammer, and Jack & Jack, with whom he is currently touring.
My motivation and inspiration slowly began coming back,” he says. “Now I feel like I’m a bit wiser, a bit more experienced, and less naïve. “I’ve come to know myself more and have realized that as much as I love being on tour and playing for other artists, there’s still that itch of wanting to be a frontman who sings my own songs. It’s like an addiction that connection I’ve experienced between myself and the audience — when they’re in the palm of my hand and we go on a ride together. There is no better feeling. I just want the audience to be able to experience the same joy.”
On his debut single “Lookalike,” STF laments a distressing emotional plight: When your ex replaces you with a carbon copy. “Congratulations,” he sings in his sultry tenor, “You found a knock-off of me, wasting all your love on a lookalike.”
“This actually happened to me,” the L.A.-based singer, songwriter, and musician says. “After my last relationship ended, I went to my ex’s Facebook page and found out that she was already dating somebody new, and this guy was basically my doppelganger — same haircut, same facial hair, and style.
And I thought, ‘You couldn’t have me, so you found the closest thing.’ Writing helps me emotionally vent in a safe environment, so of course, I wrote a song about it.”
Honesty is a signature asset in STF’s songwriting arsenal, though sometimes the songs are friskier.
“Boyish Looks” is about “falling for hot, androgynous dancer girls in North Hollywood.”
“Despite the sexy sound though, the song is really a celebration of unconventional beauty.”
He sets his stories against a backdrop of gleaming dance-pop studded with flashes of rock, neo-soul, and electro-funk.
“For me, it’s all about the groove,” says STF. “Michael Jackson and Prince are my two biggest influences. I like pop music as long as it makes me move. I have to feel it all the way down in my core.”
Tell us your names, country of birth, and childhood experience.
My name is Stefan Poole; I was born in Providence, Rhode Island USA.
Soon after my birth, my parents and I moved to my mother’s hometown Milan, Italy where I spent my early years, after which we moved to Arizona when I was about 7, but we continuously went back to Italy every year so that I wouldn’t lose the language.
I grew up with a very loving and supportive family. Mom, Dad, and my two little sisters are easily my biggest fans.
My parents always had music on in the house or in the car and were adamant about exposing me to concerts and performances before I could even walk.
My first passion instrument was the drums, but I wanted to learn more about harmony and songwriting.
It was my father that put a guitar in my hands at age 13, although I didn’t really learn to play it until a couple of years later.
By the time I was 17, I already knew I wanted to move to Los Angeles and make it in the music business. Luckily, my supportive parents were happy to send me to music school.
State your academic qualification.
After high school, I moved to Hollywood, California where I attended Musicians Institute and graduated with an Associate of Arts degree in Guitar and Composition.
Elaborate on your music career, band name, experience, and skills.
While attending college, I booked a role as a musician on the FOX TV show Glee. While doing that, I started a band with my classmates called Feelgood and we started selling out venues around Los Angeles like The Mint, The Roxy, and The Whisky A Go-Go where we shared the bill with our other friends and classmate Breezy Lovejoy now known as Anderson.Paak.
Soon after college, I actually moved to Rome and became a contestant on Italy’s American Idol equivalent show called Amici where I performed for a national broadcast of millions of people week after week.
Once I came off the show, I had fame and a record deal but ended up getting shelved, so I moved back to Los Angeles and went back to working on Glee to pay the bills and also began touring with established artists like Bridgit Mendler, Andy Grammer and Jack & Jack who I still tour with.
Now that I’ve gotten back on my feet and rediscovered my inspiration, I’ve never been more ready to share my original music with the world under my new project STF (pronounced Stef).
Tell us your genre and idea behind your music video or song.
I would say my genre is Dance Pop with hints of Funk. My latest single “Boyish Looks” is an homage to one of my biggest idols Prince. I also wanted to throw in a little George Michael influence.
Tell us how to run a record label based on your experience as an artist.
I wouldn’t know the first thing about running a record label honestly, but if I had to, I would want it to be one big family where quality trumps quantity. I would need to believe in each artist I’m signing and make sure that everyone working under me is as big of a music lover as I am.
Tell us how you are promoting your music.
I’m mainly promoting my music on social media and by playing shows in my city of Los Angeles. I’m also submitting to various playlists for consideration.
Share your press release and reviews with us.
STF – “BOYISH LOOKS”
“Boyish Looks” is a celebration of unconventional beauty set against a backdrop of gleaming dance-pop studded neo-soul and electro-funk flashes.
The video’s influence comes from STF (Stefan Poole) growing up surrounded by amazing women and wanting to create a feel-good concept presenting female beauty in a unique way and featuring women of all different shapes, sizes, personalities, and races.
Poole speaks Italian and has dual Italian-American citizenship. His first professional break came when he was cast as a musician on the hit FOX series Glee.
In between seasons, Poole went back to Italy to appear on a talent show Amici, which is a cross between American Idol and Big Brother.
Poole later became a touring musician, hitting the road with singer-songwriter Bridget Mendler, Andy Grammer, and Jack & Jack, with whom he toured the U.S.
Explain the story behind the song.
“Boyish Looks” came about while I was living in North Hollywood, California several years ago.
I made the original track in my living room with a laptop and some instruments.
It sounded so funky and sexy and I knew it had to be about a girl… but not just any girl. This one was different.
It just so happened at the time that I was dating a very androgynous girl. I realized that that was one of her most attractive features, even if some of my friends thought it was weird… so I decided to write a song about it.
At the end of the day, “Boyish Looks” is really a celebration of unconventional beauty. It’s about being true to yourself and feeling sexy in your own skin, no matter what society says is beautiful or attractive.
State the names of other members of your band, music producer, crew, or music video director.
My producers are Duddy Brown and Iacopo Pinna. I also co-produced “Boyish Looks.”
My music video director is Andre LaDon.
Elaborate on the song and music video.
The music video features several girls with “boyish looks” and showcases how individually unique and beautiful they are. I really wanted the video to be about them more than me. But we also had some fun creating a little storyline with our lead Alayna where we play a bit of cat and mouse in the streets of Downtown Los Angeles.
Tell us how long you have been in the music business, your experience, and your future goal.
I’ve been in the music business professionally for 13 years and a full-time musician for 5 years now.
I’ve had so many wonderful experiences on TV shows like Glee, Modern Family, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
I’ve performed on TRL, The Today Show, and The Late Late Show with James Corden.
I’ve played huge arenas and festivals like Jingleball and WE Day and toured the world playing in almost every continent. Of course, this has mostly been while playing guitar for other people.
As much as I love backing up incredible artists, I still have that itch to scratch. I still want to share MY music with the world and hopefully reach a level where I can make a real difference in people’s lives.
Tell us what makes you unique from others.
I come from a multi-national background where I grew up singing in English and Italian, which also makes it easy for me to sing in Spanish.
I grew up on my dad’s hard rock records so I learned to shred but I feel most at home playing Funk and RnB songs which gives me a very broad playing field regarding genres and my potential audience.
I also have equal experience as a frontman and a sideman which gives me the ability to command a crowd but also lock in with a band and groove.
Tell us your weakness and strength pertaining to music.
I’m not the greatest jazz player, but I get praise for my strong sense of rhythm.
List your five favorite songs including the artists.
Human Nature – Michael Jackson
Rock With You – Michael Jackson
You and I – Stevie Wonder
Change the World – Eric Clapton
The Ballad of Dorothy Parker – Prince
Tell us your position on “Do It Yourself” and signing to a major label.
It all depends on what an artist ultimately wants. Obviously, if the intent is to reach as many people as possible, you’ll want to sign with a major label eventually, but it should be on your own terms. If you show a label that you know who you are as an artist and that you don’t NEED them, and then you are going to have more favorable negotiations.
Tell us other activities you are pursuing apart from music.
Apart from music I’m also pursuing and studying acting.
List your various works.
Single – “Lookalike” November 2018
State the official date of release.
May 22, 2019.
State your artist’s name and elaborate on it.
My artist’s name is STF (pronounced Stef). My friends call me Stef for short so it felt like a good artist name, but I liked the fact that if you just pronounce the letter ‘f’ you don’t need the ‘e’ and you know what they say in funk music… it’s about the notes you don’t play. Less is more!
State the title of the song and the meaning.
“Boyish Looks” – Literally, it is a song about falling for an androgynous girl, but ultimately a celebration of unconventional beauty.