Brynn Stanley, ‘vintage pop decorator,’ spins new Classic album

Brynn Stanley has a new EP, 'Classic,' October 2017
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Last time we checked in with singer/songwriter Brynn Stanley, she was winning new fans as opener for Jordan Smith at the Mayo Performing Arts Center.

The good news for local fans is that Brynn is sticking around Greater Morristown, performing regularly here after a detour to L.A.

And next week, fans everywhere can enjoy Classic, her new five-song album. Here’s a preview:

Featuring interpretations of favorites by Cole Porter (above), Peggy Lee, Sammy Cahn, Rodgers & Hart and Lennon & McCartney, Classic owes its lush sound in part to Grammy- and Emmy-nominated engineer Jorge Vivo (Michael Buble, Andrea Bocelli, Celine Dion) and jazz musician and producer Tony Guerrero (Dick Van Dyke, Jane Lynch, Paul McCartney, Freddie Hubbard).

Sigh. It seems like only yesterday that the Pride of Basking Ridge was recording our MorristownGreen.com theme song.

We caught up with Brynn this week to quiz her about her new release.

MorristownGreen.com:  Your EP is called Classic.  What attracted you to the Great American Songbook?   What’s the vibe you’re going for?
 
Brynn Stanley:  At first I wasn’t sure what attracted me to this genre…all I knew was that anytime I heard it, it brought me a feeling of home, comfort, and warmth.  Every holiday season, my parents would play Bing Crosby’s Christmas album, White Christmas.  It doesn’t matter what type of music you like, what background you come from. I’m fairly certain anyone who listens to this album shares that same feeling.  And that is exactly the feeling I wanted to create for my EP.  
 
MG:  You sing: I Don’t Know Enough About You, Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye, Teach me Tonight, I Should Have Known Better and Isn’t It Romantic?  Why did you choose these particular tunes?
 
'Selfie With Santa' contest 2016, featuring Brynn Stanley.
‘Selfie With Santa’ contest 2016, featuring Brynn Stanley.

Brynn Stanley: (Laughs) I had a little bit of a hard time choosing songs because…there are millions of them. A couple of the songs I selected were about the end of a chapter, and the rest of the songs are about the hope of new beginnings. 
 
I feel a connection to each of these songs because they are classic. Classics are timeless and I want to continue sharing that with every generation.  When we recorded the EP, I wanted to stay true to the classic sound but also have a fresh interpretation.
 
I heard a quote, “Art is how we decorate space; music is how we decorate time.”  So I guess I’m a “vintage pop decorator.”
 

MG: You have returned to New Jersey after five years in L.A. How did that experience lead to this project? What did you learn out there? 
 
Brynn Stanley:  So many things.  Things I didn’t even necessarily want to learn!  (Laughs)  
 
I learned that life is really magical.  I learned that unexpected adventure and growth can happen even when you didn’t plan it.  I learned that leading life with curiosity is a lot more fun than leading with fear.  I learned that friends can turn into family.  I learned that life can shift in an instant.  I learned that singing these beautiful classic love songs is really tough to do when you’re going through heartbreak…but it sure does allow you  to connect authentically with every word.  (Laughs)  
 
I also learned how seriously I actually do take my music career.  I always loved it. But when I had to fly back and forth across the country in order to record it, that’s when I heard the Universe saying, “I know you love it…but how much do you really love it?”  
 
The encouragement that I received from my producers, engineer, and musicians, all of whom I look up to so much, was very reassuring. They shared the same excitement, and that kept me strong and enthused about what we were co-creating.  
 
MG:  How did your collaboration come about with Grammy nominee Jorge Vivo — you duet with him on the Beatles tune– and jazz producer Tony Guerrero?  What did they bring to the mix? 
 
Brynn Stanley: They brought everything. Their passion, senses of humor, direction, heart and soul.  I’m inspired by their professionalism and the ability to remember why we’re doing this in the first place: The pure joy of making music.
 
I actually knew Jorge Vivo was coming to see me perform my original album, Hello, California, at THE MINT in Los Angeles. 
 
I was so nervous that night because I knew Jorge has engineered for Michael Buble, Diana Krall, Josh Groban, Andrea Bocelli, David Foster, etc.  When he came up to me after my performance and asked if I would ever be interested in working together, I told him that his timing was unbelievable because my Producer Tony Guerrero and I had just been talking about recording an EP.  Tony quickly agreed to a collaborative project and the magic began.
 
There’s always going to be someone who can do it better than you.  Do what you’re doing because you love it and you love connecting with people — not because you want to be “the best.”  Your best is when you make a true connection with someone. –– Brynn Stanley
 
MG: Your style is  very relaxed and assured –like this material is completely natural to you.  Where does that come from?  When you’re approaching a classic song, how do you come up with an interpretation that feels right?

 

Brynn Stanley opens for Jordan Smith at MPAC, April 2, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Brynn Stanley opening for Jordan Smith at MPAC, April 2, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Brynn Stanley: I love this question.  Singing classics just feels like home to me.  It feels like it’s what I’m supposed to be doing, almost as my responsibility.  I’m an old soul in love with the elegance of old Hollywood, the humor of the rat pack, old black-and-white movies and the idea of romance and simpler times.  

MG: You started singing  in a college musical, if memory serves.  Have you considered returning to acting, and musicals?
 
Brynn Stanley: 
At this moment my focus is on music.  I sincerely hope my music will eventually allow me to fully express myself as an artist.  
 
MG: This spring, you opened for Jordan Smith at the Mayo Performing Arts Center. Afterwards, starry-eyed little girls asked for your autograph. What’s your advice for kids dreaming of stardom?
 

Brynn Stanley signs autograph for new fan, at MPAC, April 2, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Brynn Stanley signs autograph for new fan, at MPAC, April 2, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Brynn Stanley: Allow your curiosity to lead you. Perfection is boring.  Don’t let your worst fear stop you.  Listen to it, acknowledge it, and then go and do it anyway. There’s always going to be someone who can do it better than you.  Do what you’re doing because you love it and you love connecting with people — not because you want to be “the best.”  Your best is when you make a true connection with someone.
 

MG: Why did you return to Jersey?  Can we look forward to having you around here for awhile, or are you jetting back to Hollywood?

Brynn Stanley: I want to explore wherever there are roots of jazz.  I will say, the world is much bigger than New York and LA and my intention is to see and experience more of it.  

MG: How/when can fans buy Classic, and where are you performing next?

Brynn Stanley:  It will be released on Thursday, Oct. 19th.  It can be purchased on all digital platforms (Amazon, iTunes, etc.) or any of my upcoming shows, at Arturo’s in New York City, and Rod’s and Shanghai Jazz in Madison.  My show calendar can be viewed on my website: www.brynnstanley.com

Brynn Stanley
Brynn Stanley’s debut album, August 2015.

MG: Is a full-length follow-up album to Hello, California in the works?  Like, Hey, Jersey?

 

Brynn Stanley:  (Laughs)  Hmm…

MG: Any truth to the rumors that you are about to tour with a local ukulele band?

Brynn Stanley:  (Laughs) It’s the opportunity of a lifetime.  

MG: Without question. Thanks, Brynn, and congratulations on your new Classic.
 
 
Brynn Stanley 'Classic'

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1 COMMENT

  1. Brynn has simply become a magnificent artist! The cut that’s played here is simply stunning!. A thousand Kudos for this sampling of what I’m sure to come is breathtaking and inspiring. …also a fine interview showing the wisdom and artistry gained from her many experiences in LA….the best to her continued success!….Grover Kemble

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