Having demonstrated his love and incomparable talent when it comes to music, Albert Stanaj is making quite the name for himself. Having been on the Mad Love Tour with iconic songstress JoJo at the time of this interview, Stanaj takes his musical talents directly to fans. I had the opportunity to chat with Stanaj before he killed his set at the Philly stop of the Mad Love Tour back in 2017, and we chatted about lessons he’s learned, advice for aspiring artists, and more.
Check out the interview below.
What exactly made you want to pursue a career in music?
I was kind of just born into it. Growing up, my brothers were in a band, I have a brother that played the piano, a brother who played the guitar, my sister played the violin, and we all kind of sang. Everyone in my family is really good at singing, but I guess I was the only one that wanted to pursue it as a dream. I also think it’s definitely easier when you’re the youngest of the house. I’m the youngest of 5 – with all of them working and whatnot, they were able to support me on the beginning of my journey which is huge. I’ve known as far back as I can remember that this is definitely what I want to do.
If you weren’t singing, what do you think your career path would be?
I think it would still be doing something in music, I don’t know. But literally since I was born, I never had a plan B. I never took my SATs never took my ACTs, I knew that it was only singing for me and that I’d just have to figure it out.
That’s definitely a good mindset to have because when you have a Plan B, you aren’t putting everything into plan A
Yes, yes. That’s exactly right.
If you had to name one thing that’s been a major challenge for you on your journey, what would it be?
Staying persistent. I feel like, when things are going really well, you kinda get used to it, but there will be a time when something may happen and change things. Trying to find motivation and inspiration to stay focused and stay persistent gets difficult, but you have to stay with it and build your own road. There are no rules to this – everyone builds their own road, so as long as you stay persistent and do your own thing that’s all that really matters. That was always really hard for me to learn until now.
What has been one of the most memorable moments of your career thus far?
Well, I think performing on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon was. I just did Ultra Music Festival which is like, over 75,000 people, and I did Coachella last year which was sick. These are all dreams that I’ve had that are now off the bucket list, but Fallon was super special. Not only because it was the Tonight Show, but because Justin Timberlake, who’s one of my biggest musical influences, was on the same episode. Before I ended up going on stage, he walked into my dressing room and he was just telling me that he was such a big fan and that he loves my voice. So that has definitely been my favorite moment so far.
What would you say has been your favorite song that you’ve released thus far?
My favorite song that I’ve released would have to be “Romantic” from my first EP. There’s just something about it. I wrote it in London, wrote it in about 20 minutes. Honestly, some of it was just freestyling on the mic because I had to leave and since then, it’s literally been one of my favorite songs that I’ve written.
Do you typically write music in order to help other people or is it more of an independent kind of therapy and release for you?
I feel like I write for myself but I also write for other people. So when I’m writing a song, there’s times where I’ll write it for myself where it’s like this is what I’m feeling, this is what’s going on with me, but then there’s times when I get inspired from reading a story online or talking to a fan. Someone tells me the shit they’ve been going through and I’ll try to put myself in their shoes, ask questions, and try to think of a way to make my music help them. So it really all depends – I’ll throw in what I love and whatever helps the listener.
What’s it like performing for so many people?
It is my favorite thing ever. You feel like you almost have a super power – the power to control someone’s emotions. You kind of don’t even understand how you’re doing it. It’s crazy. Sometimes I’ll be in the moment and singing and I’ll look down and see a girl crying and I’m like “Wow. That’s crazy”. It’s moments like that where I’m like, this is why I love it. I feel like I have this superpower that can help, inspire change, and make people feel a certain type of way.
Speaking of performing, what has the experience being on the Mad Love Tour with JoJo been like so far?
She’s absolutely fantastic. This is my first official tour, so there’s definitely a learning curve in trying to figure out what works and doesn’t work, and testing new things, but it’s been absolutely amazing. The fans have been great every single night – they’ve been super welcoming. The main thing I learned about touring is to stay as healthy as you possibly can. You think you’re invincible, but then a cold kicks in, you have 4 shows in a row, and you lost your voice – shit could get kinda scary. Haha. I’ve honestly learned so much on this tour.
Being that you’ve learned a lot yourself, what advice would you give those thinking of pursuing a music/artistic career?
There’s highs and there’s lows. It’s literally the craziest roller coaster. Even when things are going super great, just remember there’s could be another slump, it’s inevitable. So I’d say stay persistent if it’s what you really want. Stay focused and don’t ever stop!
To close out, what would you want people to know about you that you don’t think they all ready know?
Well, I’m 6’4”, I’m an Aquarius. Haha. I don’t know – I’m just a quirky kid who’s a cornball and I love music more than anything. I’m enjoying every second of this ride.
I’m incredibly excited to continue to see Stanaj reaching outstanding heights in his musical career and to hear more audible goodies as he continues to cook up more musical greatness. Be sure to keep up with Stanaj on Twitter and Instagram, and be sure to pick up his EPs The Preview and From a Distance.