Stina learned firsthand how isolating Hollywood can be behind the glitz and glam. But instead of just moping about it, she turned her experience into art.
Stina, whose real name is Mary-Christina Battle, is a Santa Clarita-based actress and musician. On New Year’s day, she released her first single “Uninvited,” which has been streamed on Spotify more than 58,000 times by more than 39,000 people.
Stina began performing at a young age, participating in musical theater performances and even touring the country in high school as part of the John Burroughs High School Powerhouse show choir. Soon she began to act professionally, appearing in commercials, television programs like “Uncle Buck” and “Bunk’d” and the music video for Panic at the Disco’s “High Hopes.”
“I was so excited to be on the set of ‘High Hopes,’ and that was the moment when I decided I wanted to be in his shoes and have my own music video,” Stina said.
Though Stina estimates she has written hundreds of songs over the years, “Uninvited” was the first song she wrote that she felt was good enough to produce. Written in a hotel room in about a half-hour after her home burned down in April 2019, the song explores her experience as an up-and-coming actor in Hollywood and feeling unwelcome or ignored at industry parties because her following was not yet big enough to exploit.
“Some of the only things that made it out of the fire were my keyboard and microphone,” she said. “This song is about the silver lining of living in Los Angeles. I’ve been to a lot of functions with big-name people from the entertainment industry, and there’s a closely guarded inner circle, so interacting with them can feel phony. They’re all playing the numbers game so unless you have a million followers or are verified, it can feel isolating and I almost wish I was uninvited.”
Stina said she found the music for “Uninvited” online and purchased the rights before writing the lyrics and melodies, like Lil Nas X did for his Grammy-winner “Old Town Road.” She then took her recorded track to Hush Money Music, which liked the song and workshopped both the lyrics and beat into the current version.
Stina’s mother, Lori Battle, is also her manager and has starred with her daughter in a few musicals and shows. Lori that she has constantly been inspired by her daughter’s work ethic.
“When she would spend hours in her room as a kid and come out sweating, and when I asked her what she was doing she would say, ‘I’m making music, mama,’” Lori said. “She’s also a really modest girl and this is her passion, so even if she didn’t get paid for her music she would still be doing this. What I really appreciate about her sound is how you can really hear the honesty and soul when she’s singing about real topics like insecurity.”
Unlike other pop artists, Stina said she wants to sing about things other than money, sex or heartbreak and to create songs that people of all ages can listen to.
“I am a clean artist and I’m not going to swear because I want my grandmother to be able to listen to it,” Stina said. “It’s important for me to be a good role model because when I was growing up the people I looked up to succumbed to that. I think that’s even more trendy and interesting than cursing. Sometimes I turn on the radio and you can’t hear half the song because it’s bleeped out.”
In January, Stina shot a music video for “Uninvited,” which is scheduled to be released this month. She said the transition from working on someone else’s music video to starring in her own was both a dream come true and a lot of pressure.
“Going from my last acting gig being ‘High Hopes’ to now being the star of my own video and having people waiting on you and what your needs are is insane,” she said. “It’s such a blessing, but also so much pressure, because everyone is here to support your dream and, like I sing in the song, there’s a lot of insecurity.”
Zeomi Bland, the executive producer for the music video, said she was impressed by how Stina managed to keep a fun sound and mature massage while still keeping the lyrics clean.
“She’s such a down-to-Earth person, and when I heard the song I appreciated how she is able to relate to kids and adults,” Bland said. “When I first heard it I had only listened to a snippet and already it was so catchy and stuck with me. She knows the steps it takes to reach the top but she’s already a superstar in my mind.”
Stina is attending CSUN and expects to graduate this year with a degree in theater. Though she does plan to stay involved with the acting world, her primary focus is her music and she has 15 songs currently in development for release.
“Acting is a full-time gig and I would spend hours just on applying to jobs, so I would rather just do one thing well,” Stina said. “I just want to keep moving forward. I want to keep this personal and make music for the people around the world who might relate to my message.”