INTERVIEW: Justine Iaboni Talks From Blogger to Following Her Dreams In Music as Stellina
Justine Iaboni, known for her fashion blog in Toronto, is officially leaving the blogging world in order to pursue her dreams: to make music. We are introduced to STELLINA, an electronic artist and pianist with
high soprano vocals who will be releasing her first mixtape, STAR SEVENTEEN, which is now available on is now available on Apple Music and also Spotify. Stellina opens up about the emotional abuse she experienced while learning music in her youth and the spiritual journey that led her back to music.
Thank you so much for talking with us, Justine! Please tell us about your creative journey, leaving your blog and returning to music as Stellina.
Thanks so much for this opportunity to share my story with your readers. I had long given up on my dream to be a singer. My blogging career was overall, on paper, super successful. But I wasn’t fully happy because I was turning my back on something that fed my soul, which was music. I told myself, “not this lifetime.”
It wasn’t until I had a bit of a nervous breakdown in February, after many sleepless nights and putting so much pressure on myself as a blogger, it all just culminated into a full stop. I had to give myself a break. I mean, I had been working three years nonstop on taking my blog to the next level. I was so withered. So, I started meditating. I started to take weekends off to listen to podcasts, meditate, journal. Then I started doing Gabby Bernstein’s May Cause Miracles plan. It changed my life. I dealt with the fear-based narratives that were ruling my life, and I quickly realized that I needed to drop everything and pursue music.
Talk to us about STAR SEVENTEEN. What do you hope to achieve with your music? What has been your true inspiration?
This EP is of a moment in my life when I am making that transition from blogging into singing. The title, Star Seventeen, is inspired by the tarot card of the same name and number. Star 17 has always been my sign from the Universe to know when I’m on the right track. I’ve just always gravitated to stars and the number 17 my whole life. I had no idea it was part of the tarot Major Arcana until a friend read my tarot cards this May, for the first time. The star 17 card was pulled. And in that moment my entire perspective on the Universe, life, our purpose, the meaning of life, totally changed. I was humbled to know that there was something higher guiding me.
Naturally, I felt it only fitting to name the album Star Seventeen after such a pivotal cosmic tarot reading. I hope that my music can give other people hope to pursue their dreams. To realize that it is never too late to follow the language of your soul. When they listen to this album, they will hear me, finding my true calling. And there’s so much more to come.
You’ve experienced quite a struggle in the music world. What advice would you tell other people who have experienced similar trauma or have the same fears?
Honestly, I don’t have any quick answer to deal with emotional abuse, or any type of abuse for that matter. We all have our own healing process. I think it is just important to know that if something feels bad, painful, and wrong— get out, leave, ask for help. It isn’t easy but sometimes, like in my case, I didn’t even know I had to agency to change my situation.
I used to think that the world, and the bad things in it, just “happened” to me because I deserved them. I wasn’t worthy of being treated with kindness. I was worthless. I really lived day by day with that mantra. YOU ARE WORTHLESS. So, how could I have known that asking for help would have been in my power? I wouldn’t be surprised if many people who are victims of abuse have a similar thought process. You can ask for help. Because doing it alone is so hard. Even if it is just asking the Universe for help. You have the power to get out of a bad situation by realizing that you don’t deserve to be in it. It took me years to realize that I was worth something. And what a beautiful feeling it was to come home to my body again. I wish I had gotten help sooner. But it’s ok. I forgive myself every day and thank myself, too, for finally giving myself the gift of my divine right to thrive in joy.
Through your experience as a blogger and in the fashion industry, what lessons have you learned that will continue to define you as a creative person?
I learned a lot of hard lessons and made a lot of mistakes. In my blogging career, I tried to control everything. I’ve learned that doing the opposite actually brings more success (and inner peace!!!!). Positive things I did as a blogger was to deal with my confidence issues and my insecurities. I turned water into wine. I turned a blog into a business. All on my own by not giving up and believing in my abilities. I try to remind myself that when I start to doubt my abilities or let my ego get the best of me. I’ve got this. Also, I have learned that I have to stay true to myself. Whenever I did things just for money as a blogger, or to advance my career, or make a client want to hire me, but they were things that forced me to turn my back on my authenticity, I regretted it. It always turned into a nightmare.
I’ve learned the hard way that there is no greater success than the success of being true to yourself. That is life’s greatest currency for me.
What are you looking forward to the most in this new journey for you? Both in your career and personally.
I am just looking forward to waking up every day and knowing that I don’t have to live in the prison that I created for my creativity. I wake up every single day and feel amazing because I am finally aligned with that little voice that has always been steady inside of me telling me that I need to sing. It’s no longer not this lifetime. And that, is so beautiful, if I die tomorrow, I will feel like I truly lived my purpose and will have not one single regret. I would have been able to say that if I hadn’t answered the call earlier this year to slow down, take a step back, and ask my heart what it needs.
Just for fun, create a mini-playlist for us! Give us your top five favorite songs.
GAHHH this is hard. Ok here are songs that I love to vibe to. But there could literally be 1 million songs on this list.
1) Vivid Dreams – Kaytranada and River Tiber
2) Underneath the Stars – Mariah Carey
3) Real – Kendrick Lamar
4) Summer’s Over Interlude – Majid Jordan
5) Lunar Blue – Aime Ily
Imagine you develop super powers over night. What would your powers be and what will you use them for?
Super powers! Ha. I would love the power to heal other people’s pain and to make them see what pure love feels like. Wow, I never thought about that until now. I think that would be an amazing super power to have. Like, just touch someone and then they would feel what pure love feels like. So that those who are suffering or feel like giving up, or aren’t focusing on the beauty in life, could get a glimpse of what that feels like, so they could go towards things in their life that would bring that feeling forth. So they would know, it isn’t worth crying over. That they can heal their pain, it is possible.