When Ollie Stone found herself with plenty of spare time after her band, The Oohlas, went on a hiatus, she filled it the only way she knew how: with music. For the past three years the Los Angeles-based musician penned her own songs, locking herself in her room and recording on GarageBand. “I never really dreamed I’d be solo—as a little girl I always dreamed of being in a rock’n’roll band—but I found working by myself extra-challenging,” says Stone. The fruits of her labor are Hustle Roses, her solo venture, and Tequila Mockingbird, her debut EP (and the best named album, ever?).
The music, which she describes as, “loud, bouncy, fun, optimistic—I wanted to make a more poppy, Depeche Mode thing,” also has traces of ‘80s-era Madonna. No surprise, considering Billy Steinberg, co-writer of “Like a Virgin,” is one of the many people Stone collaborated with on the EP. The songs didn’t start out that way: “I was pretty sad at the time [Hustle Roses began] because the Oohlas were my family, they completely took care of me and were like the brothers I never had. So I would write these songs alone—a few of them were developed into songs that will come out one day, but a lot of the initial songs were sad, lonely,” Stone says. “Overall, it’s not really my style to be a bummer!”
Indeed, Stone named her one-woman project after what she views as a particularly uplifting line in her favorite Charles Bukowski poem, “The Consummation of Grief”: “I was born for this, I was born to hustle roses down the avenues of the dead”.
“Along with the whole poem, I just interpret it as he seeks beauty no matter how fucking horrible the world is; to fight for beauty. I was like, ‘Fuck, that really says it all to me. That’s how I feel.’ I’m always trying to make things positive and beautiful, and hustle for good—or bad.”
Besides her EP, which just came out, Stone has another reason to smile: A few of her songs are going to be used to soundtrack Christian Siriano’s upcoming runway show. “I’d like to reach the whole world,” Stone says with an infectious giggle, before adding, “I was born to make people laugh and be happy!”