Multi-talented singer/songwriter Elly Stefanko is making her mark in the music world. A true, natural singer since the age of eight, she’s been working hard performing in theater and releasing her own music without the need of auto-tuning or robotic accents.
Elly’s also begun to forge her own path as an actress as well and if the results of her first endeavor are any indication, the future looks bright indeed.
Elly’s first major film role is “HUFF“, a twisted take on the story of “The Three Little Pigs” and a film that’s already generating a lot of buzz at festival screenings throughout the US prior to its official release this fall.
In “HUFF“, Elly plays the role of Shay, the youngest of three step-daughters who must escape the wrath of their brutal stepfather, HUFF (Charlie O’Connell) when one of his drug deals goes awry. The film also stars scream queen Elina Madison as the matriarch, Lorelei and Marie Bollinger (Pelt) and Jenna Stone (A Haunting in Salem) as Shay’s sisters Brixi and Styx respectively.
Elly recently attended The Texas Frightmare Convention along with the rest of the cast and crew to view the completed film for the very first time.
With her first film now under her belt, Elly has begun work on a brand new blues-inspired album of original music.
I had the opportunity to speak with Elly and get her thoughts on “HUFF” as well as her music career.
gJg: What was your experience like seeing “HUFF” for the first time?
ES: It was very cool! I remember feeling nervous right before the screening because I hadn’t seen it and no one else was really talking about it. But, having now seen it freshly for the very first time, it’s awesome! I love scary movies and the fact that this is a thriller on top of it makes it even more appealing!
There were a few moments during the film where I originally questioned what audiences might think of some of the biblical elements. It was a big risk to take but Cort Howell (Writer, Producer) took a leap of faith and it really turned out amazing!
gJg: When is “HUFF” going to be released?
ES: We’re all hearing September and I’m looking forward to it.
gJg: “HUFF” is actually your very first movie right?
ES: Yes it is.
gJg: How did the role of Shay come about?
ES: I initially had read for the role of Styx and afterwards was asked to also read for the part of Shay. The producers felt that the role of Shay would suit me better and I thought so too! Even though Shay is only 15-16 years old, she knows how to handle herself in certain situations because shes kind of been through a lot and she’s also seen her sisters go through a lot of bad stuff as well!
gJg: What are some of the things you like most about the movie?
ES: There were quite a few things that I thought were cool. I liked the way HUFF was testing the daughters but in different ways. I also remember that at one point, Brixi (Marie Bollinger) quotes a bible verse and to me, seeing that she still had faith after everything everyone had gone through was amazing. I loved the little moments like that.
gJg: What was the chemistry like?
ES: It was amazing. Even on my first day on set I remember asking: “Are all movies this easy?”
It was a great first experience.
gJg: You were also able to work with Clint Howard as well, a real acting legend!
ES: He definitely is. Clint and I became good friends. He’s actually a musician as well. He saw my You Tube videos and called me up to tell me that I was doing the right thing with my music. That was very encouraging!
gJg: What was it working with Charlie (O’Connell)?
ES: Charlie is such a cool dude. He’s inspiring. I love meeting actors like him who are just so down to Earth.
gJg: What’s your favorite horror movie of all time?
ES: “The Devil’s Rejects”. I like the whole vibe of it and I’m a big Rob Zombie fan. He has his own little niche. I really like the comedy elements in that film. It’s so hard to add in little things like that but it worked. “HUFF” has a lot of those kinds of elements too!
gJg: What is the one thing you’d like everyone to know about “HUFF”?
ES: “HUFF” is not at all what you would expect to see from a typical horror movie. It’s something different and it’s a breath of fresh air!
gJg: Let’s talk about your music! How long have you been writing and performing?
ES: I’ve been singing since I was eight and I’ve been writing since 18. I also play piano and have released a few EPs.
gJg: Was music always a big part of your life growing up?
ES: It was. When I was nine I recorded a lullabies album called “Sing Me To Sleep” which was classical music with a huge fifty-piece orchestra.
I went to school at the Crystal Cathedral and did quite a bit of work with them as well. I met a lot of amazing people including the Schullers and Michael Crawford, an opera singer who performed as the original “Phantom of the Opera”. They needed a girl to sing a duet with him for a big Christmas event and I was chosen to sing with him!
gJg: Did you have formal training?
ES: Yes, I did have a lot of training. I was doing quite a bit of theater too at the time and learned how to protect my voice.
gJg: What kind of music do you strive to make?
I really love music where I can hear the purity of the voice. Where there’s no tampering and it doesn’t sound like a robot. I was so happy when Adele won all of those Grammys.
gJg: What projects are you working on now?
ES: I’ve been focusing a lot on writing songs for a new album. It has elements of blues, pop, jazz, a little bit of everything! Once I’m finished writing, I’m going to find a producer to deliver it. I really want to go into a studio and record it “old school”. That’s where all of the musicians are set up in one room and I’ll be in another. Then we’ll all record together at exactly the same time.
That’s the only way to capture the true essence of the moment and that’s my goal!