Kella Stephenson Farris
“I grew up listening to country music––Barbara Mandrell, the Judds, Alabama,” Kella Stephenson Farris says in her office on Music Row. “I remember being nine years-old and staring at a Clint Black album I got for Christmas, then being amazed when I realized he wrote all his own songs. Now I get to give back to creative people like them––people I just really love and respect.”
That sense of grateful admiration––coupled with finely honed expertise and an independent streak––has defined Kella’s career for more than a decade. After early roles with Alabama’s Jeff Cook and Flood, Bumstead, McCready, and McCarthy, she set out on her own to open the Kella Stephenson Company, which she led for eight years. “It all started with songwriters,” she says with a smile. Today, her clients have collectively written more than 80 no. 1 songs––and counting––while top-tier recording artists round out her roster.
In 2015, Kella partnered with Stephanie Self and Catherine Moore to launch Farris, Self & Moore, LLC (FSM)––a boutique business management and financial planning company that specializes in the unique needs of hit songwriters and major recording artists. Kella is most passionate about FSM’s financial planning services. Time and time again, she has witnessed what customized, big-picture strategy coupled with daily follow-through can achieve. “I love being able to explain what it means financially when an artist or songwriter signs a contract––publishing, recording, catalog sale, any type,” Kella says. “That’s the team member I aim to be: the one who can make these complex financial agreements easy to understand.”
A member of Leadership Music (class of 2014), the Recording Academy, CMA, and ACM, and a NOW (Nurturing Outstanding Women) mentor, Kella remains active in a variety of ways with her alma mater Auburn University, where she earned a B.S. in finance as well as her MBA. When the CFP®-certified leader isn’t advising clients or in the audience of a Nashville writers’ round, Kella is practicing yoga, spending time with her husband DJ and two-year-old son Everett, or traveling to favorite spots including Sedona, Arizona; Rosemary Beach, Florida; and the family farm in Eufaula, Alabama.