Renowned singer-songwriter Grand Rapids returns to the stage Saturday while preparing for a two-pronged studio release. The story and this week’s Local Spins on the WYCE radio podcast.
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Bree Stoner has experienced the ups and downs of the music business, the split between living in different countries, speaking different languages, and striving to meet the different expectations of her art.
“My life has been a series of paradoxes,” the singer-songwriter readily admits, having finally found a comfortable, convenient place for her music.
“When you’re young, when you’re a teen or even in your early twenties, it’s like you’ve been given a lot of shoes to try on and you’re told what to do and pushed onto the stage. You should look like this and not like that.”
And while Stoner feels growing up as an artist during those early years over a decade ago, “I didn’t really know who I was yet.”
Motherhood, isolating the COVID pandemic, and accepting her uniquely diverse background have allowed her to “take off all those shoes that were handed to me and just feel what I felt when I walked on my bare feet in the direction I felt. He wanted to.”
This allowed her to “harmonize,” creating music that represented “all these disparate pieces” of her personality.
“This was a real homecoming experience,” she admits. “I am more than just one thing.”
After releasing three singles in recent months, singer and musician Grand Rapids has also formed the Indie Dream rock band with plans to release a two-pronged album project, “Me Veo” within the next year.
In this week’s edition of Local Spins on WYCE, Stoner featured two of those singles — “Hungry” and “Honey” — while sharing the story of her journey. Watch the “Hungry” video here and scroll down to hear the full interview and radio show.
Video: Brie Stoner, “Hungry”
(Directed by Jamie Scrippa, Cinematography by Josh Skinner, Editing by Matthew Bowens)
Growing up in Madrid, Spain, Stoner quickly became fluent in Spanish and English, and has since learned some French as well.
Her music and vocals have attracted industry attention over the years – she has appeared in ad campaigns for Victoria’s Secret, “Orange is the New Black” and “The Affair”, as well as in other international television and film projects.
And although she hasn’t performed or released albums for several years, she insists she has remained active – singing for her children, writing new material and staying involved in her art.
Broadcasting, forming a new band, launching an ambitious album project
“I never stopped writing or making music, but when I had kids, there was something uniquely satisfying for one season, where their ears were the only ones who heard me sing,” she recalls.
“But even with the little ones, I’ve been singing and recording music for TV and film with a duo partner on the side project, Daniel Johnson in Detroit.”
She’s also a successful podcast writer and publisher: she co-hosts “Another Name for Everything,” which has racked up millions of downloads, and has since launched her own podcast, Unknown, which explores the spiritual path of creative possibilities with several authors, activists, and artists.
Now, her focus has shifted squarely towards the performance and release of her music. At 7 p.m. Saturday, a full orchestra will lead as part of the Listening Lawn series hosted by the Listening Room at Studio Park in downtown Grand Rapids. Tickets are $15 and $25, and are available online here.
Her band includes guitarist Vanessa DeCoto, drummer Scott Gentry, bassist Luke Shoemaker, electric guitarist Ben Earhart and keyboardist Enrique Olmos – and fans can expect a “very visual” connection with fashion.
She will also perform as part of the WYCE Jammie Awards at The Intersection on June 25, and join Valentiger for a hearing room show on August 25.
Stoner’s project “Me Veo” will be sung in English, Spanish and French, in two digital parts – part one in the fall and the second next winter. The entire album and additional track will be available on vinyl in the spring of 2023.
“I recorded the album in my home and at Local Legend Recording studios, and it’s produced by my good friend David Vandervelde, who I’ve worked with and known since we were in high school,” she says, citing influences ranging from Neil Young to Mazzy Star to Fleetwood Mac.
The songs are full of longing, anger and feeling. I drop deep theology while singing about sex in one line, then bow in protest against industry and capitalism in another. Everything belongs to this record probably because I finally belong so tightly to myself. And I think this album for me is the triumphant crowning of my lordship in this way.”
This week’s episode of Local Spins on WYCE — which highlights Michigan music at 11 a.m. Friday on WYCE (88.1 FM) and online at wyce.org — also featured music composed by Djangophonique, a strange heart, in the valley below And the David Vanderfeld (Musician Stoner’s Choices), Biomass, Jack Droppers and Best Intentions, KJ and The Good Time Family Band And the Sorry, not sorry. Listen to the radio program here.
PODCAST: Domestic Courses on WYCE (6/10/22)
Note: The Bridge Blast mentioned in the show actually runs from 3 to 11 p.m. Saturday. Details here.
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