Stef Chura, French Vanilla, Lolita Lynne [inside]
“I left for 10 minutes to go get some air and when I came back, there was like 70 people in the bar who all sucked,” recalls Stef Chura.
Post-meltdown following a “nasty” A/C-deprived set, the Detroit rock rambler had stepped back into the venue only to be plunged into another circle of tour purgatory: a merch table long abandoned for a smoke break. Chura relays the postmortem over the phone six days later, now a week into her first headlining tour. Follow-up to 2017’s Messes, reissued by Saddle Creek last year, the singer’s second LP Midnight fine tunes her feverish jostling into layered clarity under the guidance of producer Will Toledo (Car Seat Headrest), who also lends vox on jagged duet “Sweet Sweet Midnight.”
“It’s cool that I worked on it with Will, but a lot of producers work with artists and it’s not the defining thing,” she admits. “I’m at one level and Will is at such a larger level that people just want to talk about that. But I think on the label end and my end, at first it was a big, like, ‘Hey, look what we did. I pooped in my dipey. Mom, aren’t you proud?’”
Chura, 30, remains a staple of Michigan’s DIY music scene, raised in drowsy Alpena, before bouncing to Ypsilanti and now her home base in the Motor City. Detroit’s influence on Chura is a question oft asked out of context, she stresses, but when reframed in relation to her Alpena beginnings, there lies transformational fodder.
“I was able to evolve in a different way,” Chura offers. “I was able to take it from a fantasy to like, ‘Let’s try to do this.’”– Beth Sullivan