Pearl Stuart, 17, at her home in Brunswick. The high school senior just released a self-produced album titled “Be My Star.” Hannah LaClaire/The Times Record

BRUNSWICK — Every experience in 17-year-old Pearl Stuart’s life, the highs and lows, the triumphs and heartbreaks, has only served to fuel her passion for music.

The Brunswick High School senior released her first album “Be My Star” last month, available on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon Music and other streaming services. 

Stuart self-produced the album, spending hours in her basement studio over the summer writing, singing and editing the eight tracks. 

She said her style ranges from up-tempo pop to a more mellow, contemplative sound reminiscent of Lana Del Rey or Billie Eilish. 

The album follows a summer romance from start to finish. One song “explores an obsessive crush and the disappointment that comes with unreciprocated feelings,” while another “is the angry and defeated breakup song that no album is complete without,” the singer said. All in all, it offers an “immersive look into a teenager’s first experience with love and loss.” 

“I’m really grateful for having experiences that gave me life experience,” she said in an interview Monday. “A couple of years ago I was trying to write and I was like, ‘nothing’s happened in my life, how am I supposed to write songs?’ I didn’t know what to do.”


Pearl Stuart operates a small recording studio out of the basement of her Brunswick home. Hannah LaClaire/The Times Record

I hope to kind of expand my repertoire to more than just this experience, but so far that’s what I’ve really written about,” she said, adding that “when you listen to pop music primarily it’s like, that’s what you get.”

She is inspired by artists like Eilish, Del Rey, and Ariana Grande (“Because it doesn’t get better than Ariana Grande,” she said), and  English singer-songwriter and YouTube personality Cavetown, whose style she does not emulate, but whose writing she admires.

Songwriting happened gradually for Stuart, who has been singing and playing piano for years. She is co-leading her acapella group and is in the chamber choir, but she didn’t begin writing until she got a microphone and keyboard and started tinkering with Garage Band on her laptop and watching YouTube tutorials on music production.

In school is she working on an independent study project called an Extended Learning Opportunity, focused on the music industry, learning how to write press releases, coordinate and market events. It’s an opportunity for her to be involved in the different facets of the music world, she said.

One of her tasks has been to help market a Lady Lamb concert at Brunswick High School next month. Lady Lamb, formerly known as a Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, is a musician former Brunswick High School student named Aly Spaltro who is currently on an east coast tour.

“I had Aly in class and there are a lot of similarities, it’s like being transported back in time,” said Rick Wilson, community outreach and extended learning opportunity coordinator at the high school. “They’ve communicated and now it’s like she has a mentor,” he said of Stuart. He hopes to have her introduce Lady Lamb before the concert. “It’s really been a highlight of the year.”


“Be My Star,” an eight-track album by 17-year-old Brunswick resident Pearl Stuart is available on most music streaming services. (Photo by Ania Johnston)

She has not been able to do much writing since school started, what with classes, homework and extracurriculars, not to mention college applications, but Stuart hopes to get better at balancing her obligations with her passions as time goes on. Some songs come together faster than others — her single “Car Crash” took nearly three months from start to finish, whereas others she was able to edit in one night.

“I can’t understand how someone lays that many tracks down on their own,” Wilson said, adding that Stuart is a talented musician and also “incredibly thoughtful and kind.”

“People respect her and admire her creative intelligence and sweet nature,” Wilson said. “She is dedicated to the arts and to being a great human.”

“I’m really lucky to have something that I’m passionate about, it’s a good way to express your feelings and it’s something I’m excited to do,” Stuart said, “and if I fail, then at least I know that I tried.”

The album release is exciting, and the high school senior is glad it’s getting a positive response from listeners, but she’s not ready to sit still. Some friends are helping put together music and lyric videos and last year another group of students under Wilson’s purview created a music video for Stuart’s song “Car Crash,” filmed in Brunswick, he said.

After performing one of her original songs at the high school’s Brunswick City Limits show last year, she got a taste for performing her music for a crowd. Now, with fellow student and bass player Asa Meyer-Waldo and Bowdoin College students Nick Cattaneo and Johnny Liesman on keyboard and drums, she has been rehearsing her songs. They hope to schedule some gigs in the next few months.

 “Last year I felt really lost as to what I was going to do with my life,” she said. “Now I feel more grounded.”

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