Updated: May 5
Hi Stanly! I would love to know how you became such an amazing bassist so tell me about where you're from and how you got started as a musician? I was born in Harlem New York City. My father was of Bahamian decent (Nassau) and my mother was born in South Carolina. At my birth my parents moved to mid-town Manhattan on its west side. I feel that this move proved to be a great blessing in my life because of the expanded culture that the area provided and which would inject to play a huge part of my personal make up. The Amsterdam Projects is a housing complex composed of 13 buildings and I feel that I lived in the most diverse building of them all.
There were 7 families per floor and 13 floors in stories in the building. The blessing that I refer to is the diversity of the ethnic backgrounds of the families in the housing unit. Being black, I was surrounded be many cultures such as Puerto Rican,( and all varieties of Latin America ) Irish, Italian, Jewish, Chinese, Polish, you name it we had it and I know that your influences within your life will help to mold your character.
The influences also played ( and still today ) a huge part with my musical ideas and development. Also growing up across the street from Lincoln Center Of The Performing arts provided me to all of the cultural experiences to be imagined. In elementary school, I was drawn to music but my greatest love was sports ( baseball, football boxing & basketball ). I wasn’t until my mid- teens that through a friend I was invited to hang around with his band and this is where I picked up the bass guitar and I actually went on the road and lived a communal life for a couple of years with the band as form the first time that I picked up the bass, my mind was made up that I wanted to play as my livelihood. Being self-taught I later went on to college to learn musical theory and other applications. Living with musicians served to bring out the true passion that I will possess until the end. By being around musicians who woke up playing and fell of sleeping while playing was a driving force for me and it led me with my skills to organize and leadership roles throughout my career. I feel to be blessed being raised in N.Y.C.
Wow, so what are your current skills? I'm a writer producer, session musician, vocalist that specializes in : Electric basses, Fretless bass. Four-string, five-string, and six string basses and even, upright bass. I also have been educationally trained in synthesizer programming, electronic keyboard Sequencing, console mixing, music sequencing. I've taken classes in, jazz arranging harmony and form 7 analyses. My style proficiencies. Pop, Blues, Jazz, Funk , Rock, Caribbean, Latin, Oldies and Country.
What was your most challenging moment and tell me about any oppositions you’ve encountered on your career journey? Battling through drug addictions & second guessing!
Who are your influences and what was/is your motivation? I have many; but to name a few. My father, Calypso Music, Motown, Hendrix, jazz, James Brown, The Beatles, the bass guitar players!
Who are some of the professional artists that you've worked with throughout your music journey? I've worked with, Al Wilson ( Musical Director, 1996-1998 ) , Brenton Wood, Buddy Miles, Roy Gaines, Finis Tasby ( Musical Director 2005-2008 ), The Coasters., Floyd Snead ( Three Dog Night ), King Floyd, Tyrone Downey ( Bob Marley ) Dave Valentin, Jaco Pastorius, Delmar Brown, Lisa Gay & The Gentlemen Of Thrill, The Mamas Boys, Joe Ortiz, Eddie Daniels ( The Platters ), Lady GG, Janette Turner ( Ike Turner ) Deacon Jones, Johnny Dyer, Archie Lee Hooker, Smokey Wilson ,The Intruders ,Kirk Fletcher , J.J. Bad Boy Jones, Morris Wade ( The Drifters ). Bernard Purdie. Quentin Dennard, Rosie & The Originals. Roy Hamilton Jr.
Records. Productions: Finis Tasby (Keeping The Blues Company 2006 ) Don Affleck ( In A Moment 2004 ) The Mamas Boys (Pretty Good 2000 ) The Mamas Boys ( 6 by 4 1999 ) Al Wilson ( Spice Of Life ( Co-Producer 1999) A Wish For Christmas( Producer 1998 ) Needle In The Groove; Say You Don't, Sure Sound Music Productions 1985.
What compromises have you had to make regarding your career choice? At the beginning I didn’t recognize any but as I progressed also with age I realized many along with my path!
Do you consider yourself a role model to this younger generation? If so how?
Absolutely! I am fortunate to have younger members performing with my band and I am currently working with a group of younger artists! I have been found by them to be very much a role model & bridge builder!
Have you ever had to compromise your moral values for success and what are your boundaries? No! (Though I have been presented with apparent opportunities to do so) I do not necessarily believe in boundaries, I know what is appropriate to myself! Music is just an extension of my being!
What are some of the life’s lessons you have learned while in pursuance of your lifelong dreams? Many things will have to coincide and can very well be of a positive nature! Family being the most important on my list!
How has Covid-19 affected your career in a positive way? Yes! Enlightening my ability to communicate with Our Heavenly Father!
Tell us about your current and future projects? My current & future projects usually run concurrently as being a songwriter & producer! Also I look forward to venues re-opening so I can resume performing live as The Stanley Butler Band!
What steps does someone have taken to reach their greatest potential?
Believe in your dreams, thoughts & voice!
What advice would you like to give those traveling in the same direction as yourself? Well if younger; If you feel pushed down take the time before you jump back up to allow yourself to gather the proper direction that you may or may not need to change! For all I would say to think about discernment as we navigate our surroundings! My personal thoughts of music is something I can only say is a gift from God to man and of Him, it is too great to explain but I will say that along with love, it is the lifeline of the universe.
I believe that music is a main facet of life and it is endless in its potential. There are so many gifts that music brings as it interchanges with love. It is a source that connects us all in mind and spirit. It also can serve in the barest form of animal life as birds sing to each other and to the most intellect within our human society in which we see in forms of jazz and classical music. As I stated, I believe it is God’s gift to mankind and as far back as the beginning man has used music as a form of communication and rituals and in many cases healing. I do not think any of us could ever imagine a world without music. It serves me best to realize its origin and its main purpose to link us all in communication and worship to God.
The future of young people in music can be viewed as an interesting topic. I many ways people for different generations can be judgmental both positively and negatively. My personal views are of and art getting lost. I think that the direction of most of today’s popular music is losing its historic form and based on trends and peer pressure as I also think that the now generation has become judgmental of musical styles that preceded. I think that this is not a good sign for future musicians as they seem not to make any use of the true art form of music. There are some who try but what I have seen that they are usually pushed of into some eclectic category of pushed off the side or seen as uncool. I would like to see the young stars of today break from the projected mainstream and bring some of the true classic forms of songwriting back into the mainstream. If so, I believe that it would impact the creativity of future musicians for generations to come. I personally feel a need to do all that I can in this area.
Visit Stanley's Website : www.stanleybutlerjr.com