What do you get when you mix east coast Jersey soul with sun-kissed California melodies?
Stanley, who grew up in Basking Ridge, N.J., moved to California in 2013 after reaching a standstill in her career.
“I was playing the same cover songs at the same venue over and over,” Stanley said in a recent phone interview with The Signal. “My music career felt a little stale — I was either going to let it go or grow as an artist.”
Before she left for the west coast, Stanley began writing a song called, “Be My Summertime.” Her boyfriend saw incredible potential in her songwriting — something she was trying for the first time. Together, they completed the song, shot a music video and started an IndieGoGo campaign in order to raise funds to record her first album.
Stanley didn’t always dream of being a musician, although she grew up with her father playing classics like The Beatles.
She attended Fairleigh Dickinson University and was originally a psychology major. It wasn’t until her sophomore year, when she auditioned for a production of the musical “Hair,” that she began to consider pursuing music.
“I was offered the lead in ‘Hair’ and I kinda freaked out,” Stanley admitted. “I had this decision to make — take it and face my fears, or not take it and live in regret.”
She ultimately accepted the role, a decision in which she says “changed her life.”
Stanley continued playing leads in musicals, including “Cabaret,” throughout her college career and eventually switched her major to musical theater.
When she graduated, she turned to performing in cafés and private events throughout Jersey before making the move to California in 2013.
Stanley’s debut album, “Hello California,” which is available on iTunes, is a strong eight track record. Her voice is sultry and jazzy and fits smoothly into catchy melody lines. She is reminiscent of a younger Sara Bareilles, experimenting with style and mood throughout her record.
The album’s lead single, “Be My Summertime,” is radio-friendly, oozing with sugar-coated pop melodies. The titular track shows off Stanley’s big, Broadway-style belty voice over a jazzy instrumental. The rest of the album, too, is a delight to listen to.
Stanley’s songwriting is simple. Her lyrics are not bathed in metaphors or undetectable messages. She’s a down-to-earth artist with a pure, unadulterated love for music and singing. Most importantly, she’s representing Jersey all the way on the west coast, serving as an inspiration for many up-and-coming Jersey-based artists.