Stanley Roy's on Uke, Beyonce's on Watch!
The GayPlace talks trash with soulful uke songster.
By Andy Campbell, 4:10PM, Thu. Jan. 31
Speaking of Ukes… What happens when we have a tête-à-tête with our favorite local ukulele player? Um, magic. Magic happens. Witness and testify.
Austin Chronicle: So tell me about your uke. How did you two meet? Was it love at first sight? Or one of those one-night-stand-turned-relationship things?
Stanley Roy: My friend Rio, who was in The Heart Project with me, she used to sing a couple ukelele songs during our sets. One day she let me borrow one of her ukeleles, and I started playing on it and quickly figured it out. I immediately wrote a song that… I don’t play anymore.
AC: What was the song about?
SR: "Hair From the Dog That Bit Me" was the title, it was some cheesy love metaphor.
AC: So it wasn’t love at first sight or a one-night-stand, you stole your best friend’s uke? That's low.
SR: Well, I borrowed it for a while and then she asked for it back. At that point I went and bought a $30 ukelele. At that time I would walk to work jamming to Mariah Carey’s “Fantasy” – and I loved it, but I thought it was over-produced, and I just sat down one night and re-interpreted that.
AC: So this brings up the question, do you like to rock it hard or stroke it gently?
SR: I like to rock it hard, but I often stroke it gently, probably more often than I rock it hard.
AC: Would you consider doing a duet with Mariah Carey or Beyonce Knowles?
SR: Yeah. Wait, do I have to choose?
AC: Is that like Sophie’s Choice for you?
SR: Basically. If I had to choose it would be Beyonce; Mariah would be crazy. But actually Solange is my jam these days.
AC: Analogy time: Guitar:Rock::Uke:______?
SR: Soul. The Uke has made me feel more soulful as a performer.
AC: What’s your favorite chord on the ukelele?
SR: Gmaj7. That’s the spot. The Gmaj7 Spot.
AC: You get tender onstage sometimes – is that intentional? Or does it just come out that way?
SR: A little bit of both. Sometimes it’s something I know is going to happen, but other times it’s a surprise. Especially at the end of songs, I just click, and suddenly I’m doing something I’ve never done. I have to push myself on recordings. I’m definitely different, when I’m by myself I’m more about lyrics, and playing of actual instrument. I save the emoting.
AC: You’ve been in Austin for awhile doing various and sundry things, do you get recognized on the street?
SR: Yeah. I mean it’s not like a daily occurrence. Especially at Lucy In Disguise where I work, I get recognized. I would say it’s been happening more, since I started to invest more heart, soul, blood, and tears into the Fantasy persona. Yet, I still get more recognition from Little Stolen Moments. I’ve definitely had boyfriends who hated that.
AC: What earnest advice would you give to a young uke-player starting out?
SR: The only thing you have to do is learn three chords and learn or write a song with those three or four. The rest is repetition, doing it over and over again, until it’s body memory.
AC: Now, what subterfuge advice would you give a young uke-player, to ensure that they never steal your throne, Showgirls-style
SR: Try playing with no strings – it’s actually better if you don’t have strings. It’s like The Music Man. Just sing it, you don’t have to play. It’s all in your costume.
Stanley Roy is currently shooting a video for his song “Imaginary Friend”, the title track from his recent EP available for purchase via CD Baby.