Stachia Simmons hopes her music can help heal listeners | Photo by Rūta Smith

Thurs. Nov. 12
7 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Forte Jazz Lounge

StaLaV, the musical project by multi-instrumentalist Stachia Simmons, has a lot going for it. Glowing production, experimental takes on gospel music and rhythms that drive the songs are just a few of the highlights of Simmons’ tunes so far.

“I want my music to be healing for people,” she said. “No matter what I sing, I want them to experience that.”

StaLaVi is kicking off a new livestreamed series created by vocalist Zandrina Dunning on Nov. 12. According to Dunning, the series will aim for higher production values and will collect input from artists as they plan the event. 

While Simmons’ name may not be immediately recognizable for some, she’s known around the city for her session work as a drummer, bassist and keyboardist, gaining attention for work alongside Quiana Parler, Paul Shiltz and Charlton Singleton.

Aside from gigging, she said, Simmons has remained quiet around the city. “I’ve always considered myself one to live under a rock and make music for my own. Doing this now, I’ve decided that I have this gift and I want to share it with the world.”

Simmons’ musical formation began in church, thanks to gospel songs, something that she’s carried into her songwriting career, as well. “I started out playing the drums, I’ve been playing the drums since I was about two years old,” she said. “I remember going to church and pulling up, and you could hear the music coming outside of the church, and I just remember loving that sound and what you could hear was the drums.”

Growing up, she embraced songwriting and musicality, occasionally with her brother, experimental musician Rodrick Cliche. The keyboardist, who garnered praise for his work on Benny Starr’s A Water Album, would ask for her help when he was writing music, she said. “I’d be in his room, and I’d fall asleep, I’d take a nap while he’s in there working,” she said. “When I’d wake up, I would have a bunch of lyrics. That was how I consistently did it … When I wake up, I’ve got lyrics, I’ve got melodies.”

Thanks to her background and education in music, Simmons keeps songwriting fresh by composing on different instruments as well. Songs like “Flow” show her as a producer and lyricist as well as an instrumentalist. “My mind is free/ nothing holding me back/ time is out of space/ nothing in the way,” she repeats.

“I remember going to church and pulling up, and you could hear the music coming outside of the church, and I just remember loving that sound and what you could hear was the drums.”

The sparkling composition starts slow, grabbing listeners with its shimmering production. As it progresses, Simmons puts her rhythmic sensibilities to use with an electronic drum beat and a crackling synthesizer that bounces off the loop.

While most of her songs were uploaded years ago, StaLaV remains an active gigging musician. Her upcoming performance will give the Lowcountry a more up-close look at yet another talented Lowcountry musician standing behind the scenes.

“I’m to the point where it’s time to show people who I am because I know I have so much to share,” she said. “I feel like I have a peace that’s inside me, and I want to be able to give that to people, share that with them.” 

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