22-year-old New York-born singer Stanaj comes through on Monday with his debut EP, The Preview, marking the first time his fans will hear his full sound as an artist.
If you remember, Stanaj first jumped on everyone’s radar back in 2015 when he popped up in pictures and videos with Drake while playing piano at the YOLO Mansion. He linked up with the likes of Jay Z, coveted a healthy online following, and transformed that momentum into an inked contract with LAVA/Republic Records. Since that time, he has been honing his sound with some of the top producers in the game.
“This past year has been a whirlwind for a kid from Yonkers who grew up playing piano and singing in church,” Stanaj told Complex over email. “After signing with the label, I was able to hit the studio with some of the most talented producers and songwriters like Justin Tranter (Justin Bieber, Britney Spears), Mattman & Robin (Ellie Goulding, Nick Jonas), and HazeBanga (Mariah Carey, Santigold).”
The EP clearly boasts an impressive line of talent, but it’s the EP track standout, “Ain’t Love Strange,” which was extremely special for Stanaj to record. “I also got to work with Sebastian Kole, who wrote Alessia Cara’s “Here,” and who also wrote “Ain’t Love Strange” for me to record. I instantly fell in love with that record, there’s so much soul to it.”
The most exciting aspect about The Preview is that Stanaj is finally getting his music out there in a way that represents him from start to finish. “I honestly couldn’t wait to release this EP, because it’s really the first time I’m sharing my thoughts and my sound, outside of just my voice, with fans. Being my first project, I really wanted to create something powerful and cinematic, I want it to effect people. But like the title says, it’s just the preview—I’m just getting started and looking forward to where the music takes me next.”
Stream the exclusive premiere of Stanaj’s The Preview EP below and look for it to officially drop August 9 on Republic Records, which you can pre-order here.