Trib Photo/Cheryl Hartz
Talented singers don't have to be discovered on television's American Idol.
Prescott Valley's own Joshua Stallings released his first iTunes song, "Disaster," a cover of the song by JoJo, at midnight on Aug. 3. He's working on an original album of music he describes as "pop with elements of soul."
The soft-spoken 21-year-old singer is doing it the hard way - on his own.
"I want to build up fans the most natural way I can," Stallings said. "Hear my voice first, hear my name, look me up, then see my picture."
Born and raised in southern California, Stallings first moved to Prescott Valley in 2005, and attended Bradshaw Mountain High School for a year.
"Bradshaw was my favorite of the three high schools I went to," he said.
But at age 15 he returned to California to live with his older sister and break into the acting profession. "That was the first thing I aspired to do," he said.
He got hired for a couple of episodes of the remake of the Night Rider TV series.
"It's weird to walk into a room where everyone looks like you," he said of the audition process.
The work was a variety of jobs, not just speaking roles.
"It's a very awkward industry," Stallings said. "You go in and you're doing 50 things: stand-ins, body doubles, extras," he explained. "It got very fast-paced in a horrible direction. Sing like this or talk like that, lose weight, cut your hair."
The demands wore on the teenager. He took a break to finish high school, and by the time he turned 20, he sought the sanctuary of Prescott Valley.
"I had to take a step back to a different area and get my head clear," Stallings said. "I came back here to find myself."
Already he's discovered, "I love music so much more (than acting)."
Seeking an everyday job - he works at Kohl's - in a small town has helped with his inspiration and songwriting.
"I want to be one of those people who brings back what you're supposed to do, brings back emotion," Stallings said. "A song is supposed to be about something. Whatever happened to classic love songs, music that means something? Not just let's party, do drugs, and such."
He said those hard core songs might have catchy music, but, "I don't want to be just catchy."
The songs on his websites include some he's written and some he's covered from well-known artists' releases.
"I like to slow things down and customize," he said. "I like to be experimental."
He doesn't put up full songs, because that would spoil the surprise of his inaugural album.
Shoppers won't hear his music over the Kohl's sound system, because he's not allowed to publicize it at work. But it very well could be included someday. He plans to audition potential band members and go on a mini-tour.
For now, many of his original demos are on several websites, including a featurette about the making of Disaster at www.youtube.com/user/joshuastallings?feature.
To illustrate how things are starting to come together for Disaster, United Kingdom musician Jamie Cleaton allowed Stallings to use a piano cover he had recorded just two months before Stallings requested the collaboration.
The most updated source to hear Stallings' music is www.joshuastallings.bandcamp.com. Others are www.reverbnation.com/joshuastallings; and www.facebook.com/joshuastallingsmusic.
Contact Stallings via email: email@example.com; or through publicist Sarah Broome, firstname.lastname@example.org.