Alumna sings jazz hits at WAMFest 2016

brynnAbove: Alumna Brynn Stanley sings jazz hits at WAMFest at FDU's Florham Campus. (Photos by W. Scott Giglio)

 

By Dan Landau

As part of FDU’s 2016 Words-Arts-Music Festival (WAMFest), alumna Brynn Stanley, sang in front of an appreciative crowd in the Florham Campus’ Italian Gardens. Her set included a selection of songs from the “Great American Songbook,” an original song from her “Hello, California” album, and a “jazzified” cover of Andy Grammar’s smash hit, “Honey, I’m Good.”

“I thought it would be fun to play a song that college students would know, so I took Andy Grammar’s song and I gave it a 1940s feel. I like to morph the old and the new together,” said the soulful jazz/pop singer.

Stanley, BA’07 (Florham), described her Friday evening performance as a bit of a homecoming for her. “I discovered my talent and gift for music at FDU and my mom, my grandma and all of my aunts went to FDU also.” Adding to that feeling, one of her undergraduate professors, Allen Cohen, professor of music, introduced Stanley to the audience before her performance.

brynnOne of Stanley’s first musical gigs was at FDU, while she was a student. She said, “I was playing the piano in Lenfell Hall and Kim Dennison [honors advisement counselor] heard me and said, ‘You’re great! Would you perform at my event?’ I had never done that before, but I said, ‘Sure!’” Stanley eventually changed her major to fine arts and minored in theater, and since graduating, has been establishing a singing career.

Building on her debut 2015 album, “Hello, California,” Stanley is working on her next release, a 5-song E.P. which will come out next year. “I’m hoping for three original songs and a couple covers,” she says.

To prepare for the new record, she’s been collaborating with singer Josh Groban’s music director, Or Matias. “He heard one of my original songs and liked it. My producer knew him and put us together,” she says. “My original song is the skeleton and then he adds magic to it. He’s a musical genius and he’s mentoring me on how to make my songs even better.”

Up next, Stanley has several other New Jersey shows scheduled throughout October.

More about WAMFest and Stanley.