Local multi-instrumentalist Stachia Simmons’ infatuation with music began at church. “I remember hearing the sound of the kick drum,” she said. “That is when I fell in love with the drums.”
Simmons, who grew up in the Goose Creek area, began to play the drums in church herself, though she was so small that it was a struggle not to slide out of her seat during performances, she said. Her musician-packed family encouraged her.
“My dad played lead guitar, electric, acoustic and bass guitar, and my mom is the singer in the family, but she actually used to play a little bit of keys,” Simmons said. “So being around all of that, it cultivated my sound and my interest in music.”
A seasoned drummer, keyboardist and vocalist, Simmons hones her craft through innovative collaborations in Charleston’s music scene. During the pandemic she joined up with Latoya Renea, a singer and keyboardist she met on stage 15 years ago through her brother, musician Rodrick Clichè, to form 100 FØLD. “[That] is something that you don’t see very often: two women who sing and play instruments,” she said.
Simmons is also a vocalist, percussionist and auxiliary keyboardist in Momentum, a local jazz group. “That’s definitely sharpening my craft,” she said.
Simmons is drawn to the cathartic nature of music. “I want to be able to be that peace … whether it makes them feel good and dance, or even makes them cry, sometimes crying is very therapeutic because we hold so much in, just letting all of that go and enjoying the moment,” she said.
Though collaboration plays an important role in her creative process, Simmons is now exploring solo projects. In May, she released her first single, “Love Away,” a song she created in 2016, under the artist name StaLaV. “When I originally recorded it, everything was just me … When I did my vocals, I did it in my closet so that I could get a better sound,” she said.
This year, her brother helped re-record her lead vocals, and she added local musicians 95grvmz and Brian Green on drums and bass, respectively. Everything else is Simmons. Her rich, soaring vocals anchor the soulful track, while playful keys and a groove-heavy beat encourages the body to move.
“A lot of times we can show forgiveness or be loving to everyone else, but we’re not as gracious, as merciful to ourselves,” she said of the inspiration behind “Love Away.”
“Love Away” is the first of many new songs Simmons plans to release as a solo artist. Other ambitions include composing music for television and film, as well as touring.
“I know that music is a universal language, and there’s healing in music,” Simmons said. “The possibilities really are endless.”
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