When you hear Traci Ann Stanley sing, it's something you remember. Her voice is as pure as the West Virginia Mountains where she grew up. Stanley's new single, "Remember The Whiskey," has been gaining much attention at various radio stations around the Eastern U.S., and she is very pleased with the reception the song has gotten so far.
"I'm really proud of it," she said. "It was the first one that we cut in the studio for my new album. I wrote the song a couple of years ago at a songwriter's workshop in Costa Rica with Darrell Scott and Mary Gautheir. It was one of those songs that I had to write -- something about my past that I had been avoiding. I really had a great feeling about it, and I am certainly very proud of it."
Stanley says the new disc she is working on is quite different than her 2009 release "Right Here." "Overall, this album is more stripped than any other record I've done. I really wanted this record to be a lot more about the lyric and about the context of what I am trying to say in the songs."
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As a native of the area, Stanley commented on just how important music is -- as well as the artists who have gone on to become major stars from the area, such as Brad Paisley and Wynonna Judd. "It's kind of unbelievable when you stop and think about how many have hailed from this area. People take so much pride on people who come from this area, and we keep up with them and go to their shows. But, I think most of it is the pride that we take in our music."
When asked about her influences, she mentioned a couple from outside the format -- as well as one of the genre's greatest female singers. "My dad was a country and rock and roll guy. I listened to a lot of classic rock growing up like Credence Clearwater Revival and Bob Seger. He also liked a lot of country female artists. Patty Loveless was one of the first artists I remember. I was crazy about her. My dad was in love with her, and probably still is. The first concert he ever took me to was Patty Loveless and David Ball in Ashland, Ky. Those are two artists that really stick out in my mind."
Traci grew up as somewhat of a child prodigy around the area, due to her mature vocal range. She recalls the moment that she knew that music was something she wanted to pursue. "I was about seventeen and in high school," she recalls. "I played the same talent show in school every spring. It was the only time I thought people knew where I was. When I was a senior, I played a song called 'Goodnight' by Sara Evans. I thought 'People are really listening to me.' I just remembered thinking 'This is something that I should really give a shot at.'"
As is the case with many singers, Stanley also developed her talent in church. "I grew up classically in the Bible Belt singing in church. I'm Catholic, so it wasn't that classic in terms of the area. But, the first songs I ever sung were in front of the congregation. I was also a music minister from about the time I was seventeen, so it not only helped me hone my skills, but it kept me out of so much trouble, and made me the person I am today, fortunately."
Once she completed college, she went to work for the local radio station. It was for about six months. I sold advertising for the local Clear Channel station. That was where I met my husband. He sold for the rock channel, and I sold for the country station."
Besides the love connection, Traci got to learn a lot about the industry. "It sure didn't hurt, just knowing the logistics of everything," she says. "It opened up a whole new world of contacts I wouldn't have had otherwise. If nothing else, it made me appreciate how radio works. Not to mention I met the love of my life, that never hurts," she said with a laugh.
Stanley is optimistic that good things are around the corner, career-wise. "I've got a good feeling about 2012. I'm so proud of these songs. I'm so humbled by the response the single has gotten so far. I just want people to hear the music. I've been playing some gigs in Nashville trying to generate some interest, and sending out the record to everybody and their brother. I've got a good feeling about it."