By Lisa Morgan

There is definitely something in the water here in the Coachella Valley; something is coming up from the wells under this parched desert earth that is emitting a musical vibration reflective of the stark, unique, surreal beauty of its terrain. Stark, unique, surreally beautiful – these are the same descriptors I am inspired to use for local artist Symara Stone. Once this singer/songwriter/musician steps up to a microphone to sing, I get the strange feeling that in her heart and mind, it is only her and the music present in her world. With childlike joy and total abandon, she slips into a sphere where nothing is more important than the song and the music built around it, even if she is just offering up background vocals.
In her song, I feel and hear Billie Holiday, Judy Garland and Amy Winehouse channeling through a voice that equals the contemporary presence and potential industry power of Adele. Don’t misunderstand this reference; she is no mimic. Depending on the song, this intuitive music maker has the potential to bust out of that impressive box and reveal an entire record collection of other influences while still being undeniably unique. I would say she is a risk taker as a singer, but there seems to be a zero percent chance of anything less than lovely coming out of her mouth with a range and dynamics that far surpass most in the business.
Born in Desert Regional Hospital to a family already in love with music (her mom playing cello and piano, and her stepdad playing in big bands as a jazz guitarist) as well as surrounded by visual art (stepdad was also a painter and sculptor), this future melodist had fertile, right brained, creative soil in which to grow.
When she was six, her mother had her in ballet with Valerie Mahabir and singing in a kids group that sang at Knott’s Berry Farm. “My mom noticed my voice was becoming bigger, and she didn’t want me to ruin it so she put me through training with Mary Jane Smith, a prominent vocal coach.”
Symara’s introduction to musical theater began at the age of 10 as part of MusicKids. She eventually performed such roles as Dorothy in Wizard of Oz, Tiger Lily in Peter Pan, Sandy in Grease, and Eva Peron in Evita. “It was a wonderful time for me! I got to learn how to socialize, work with an ensemble and build a great work ethic. I feel like theater is a great foundation for people who want to understand & shape anything in their life ~ friends, jobs, relationships…”
After seeing Josie and the Pussy Cats at age 15, Symara fell in love with the idea of playing the guitar. With influences ranging from Joni Mitchell, Jewel and even Brittney Spears, she became enchanted with the idea of becoming a female recording artist. “I had always sung my own lyrics to songs just goofing off, so then I really honed in on my song writing.
She wrote and performed her own song, “When I’m alone”, for Open Call at The McCallum. She had 2 all girl bands in high school, where they wrote songs about teenage angst. When the bands didn’t seem to get much further than their own garage, Symara began to focus on playing guitar and writing more. “I didn’t even get cable. I wanted make my house a sanctuary for teaching myself guitar. My dad showed me a few things, but I basically taught myself through song writing. I have no idea where these chords came from…. Even to this day, I have no idea what some of these chords I’m playing are. I just intuitively know where to place my hands based on the sounds. I have about 50 songs now that I’ve been writing since I was 15. They’re about love and struggles. Some of them are even experiments, and don’t make lyrical sense but they just came out of me.”
At 18 years old, a student of Chapman University, Symara’s music became more than a passion, it became her survival. During her time at the University she felt lost and out of place, and found herself severely depressed. “My parents had gotten divorced, and many relatives died while I was in high school. My mom had to take care of everything, and it was hard to see her go through that. It’s extremely hard to lose a lot of people all at once. Then she got sick. I had come back from Chapman and enrolled in COD, and was lined up to perform in Sweet Charity when I had to withdraw. My mom was struck with a very rare illness, Viral Encephalitis. It attacked her hippocampus (the part of the human brain that plays important roles in the consolidation of information from short-term memory to long-term memory and spatial navigation). She was in the hospital with a one out of five chance of living, on a feeding tube, and was in ICU for 6 months. It was really tough & painful. I fell into a deep bowl of self-destruction. My mom was one of the biggest reasons why I wanted to be alive.”
As Symara reminisced about her mother, emotions took over, revealing the intensely deep connection and love she has with her. “She is an amazing mother, and really into yoga and meditation. She actively participated in the Sierra Club. She taught and inspired so many kids at a continuation school. She was such a wonderful, kind woman to everyone; it was awful to see this happen to her… it’s still hard to this day. Fortunately, she survived and is alive and living well in Minnesota with her sister. She remains to be a light, a teacher, and is always positive, but the virus has left her with a limited memory spanning from 10-15 minutes. It’s painful, but it’s also beautiful. It relates me to more people who are hurting and has created huge momentum for my writing. Writing was a way to get through that pain… to surrender to the music, and let the music do the healing. Anybody will agree that when you listen to your favorite song, it changes your mood. It can empower you or shift your perspective. The power of music is there. It was there for me.”
Symara recently has turned to Yoga as a source of inner healing. “I started working on my inner work, and developing a practice of yoga. That’s been very physically & emotionally healing… those emotions get stuck in our body. It’s been restorative to become a teacher like my mom.” Symara will start teaching soon at Power Yoga Palm Springs, as she just completed her 200 hour certification. “Oh Boy, has it sky-rocketed my music,” she shared.
Through everything, Symara celebrates her many great relationships and connections with local artists, most specifically with her boyfriend Michael Matson. “Michael has been a friend, an inspiration and a teacher, keeping me focused on my music and the ‘business’ of music. I’m about to record my first ever album with Gene Evaro Jr. He is a multitalented, absolutely gifted great person. He is a light and a great inspiration, along with his sisters. He’s an excellent producer and I really trust that he’s going to be able to produce my music the way I would want somebody to hear it. We’ve been working on songs that I’ve been writing over the last couple of years and a few new ones as well. They just seem to be coming to life. I am so in awe and excited. I feel like this is a really pivotal time for me right now.”
Follow Symara Stone’s music and career at the links listed below. Be watching for the “Kick-starter” for her new album in which you can play a direct part in producing the music that lives inside this immensely creative and experimental artist. Here is an example of the heart and soul of Symara’s music; the lyrics to her song “Dreamer”, one of many songs that will be featured on her album:
“Dreamer” by Symara Stone
Well I, dreamt of a day,
When I’d be like you,
Waltz around the room,
Smell of sweet perfume,
But, that sure is my fascination,
With you girl,
How you carry your confidence in a straight line.

Well that day is here,
And I feel awake,
Yet, so talkative,
Basically, mostly baked.
It’s so crazy how you fascinate me,
With your treasure chest,
And your mind.

How you gonna grow
If you can’t express
All the thoughts and feelings
Deep inside of your chest?
How you gonna seek what the Seer sees
Love is a potion you must choose to drink.


How you gonna grow
If you can’t express
All the thoughts and feelings
Deep inside of your chest?
How you gonna Seek what the Seer Sees
Love is a potion you must choose to RECEIVE..
Choose to RECEIVE.

I love it when
you leave the lights on
I love it when
you turn me on
I love it when
It’s evident
We all are Dreamers
We all are Dreamers
We all are Dreeee-eeee-eeeeamers!

Symara Stones Links: (Kick-starter launched here) (Symara Stone’s Music. Michael Matson is featured as an instrumentalist on some tracks & wrote “Life Is So Sweet”) (Youtube Video’s of Symara and Local Musician Friends) – ( Performing Every Thursday night with fellow musicians: Michael Matson, Vanessa Reddin, Giselle Woo, Michael Theophilos, Erik Mouness, and more) (Check Out Their Class Schedule to Take a Yoga Class with Symara Stone)

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