Floating Down the River: Interview with Music Artist Simon Stanley

“Floating Down the River” is a new album by three-time New Zealand Music Award winner Simon Stanley that will be released by 8 Pound Gorilla Records on October 8, 2021.

“Floating Down the River” is a new album by three-time New Zealand Music Award winner Simon Stanley that will be released by 8 Pound Gorilla Records on October 8, 2021. Simon’s songs tell vivid stories, many of which are inspired by nature. This latest album was inspired by a river trip he took with his family.

Simon currently lives and works in Tennessee. He recently discussed his music, career, and more via an exclusive interview.

Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you get interested in music and songwriting and did you always gravitate towards the children’s genre?

Simon Stanley (SS): I started playing guitar when I was around 9, and around 13 I started really practicing and playing in earnest.  I’ve been profession since I was 18 and only started in children’s music when my niece was born a few years ago.  Her name is Marley and my first single ‘Marley Sitting on a Pumpkin Seed’ was written for her.  I’ve kept with that theme, and she is the one constant in my songs thus far.

MM: How did you break into the industry and how would you describe your style?

SS: It was around the time I moved to Nashville (8 years ago) that I became serious about songwriting, before that I played a lot but didn’t have such a strong lyrical leaning.  My style is quite narrative/story heavy, while trying to incorporate some of the fun and bounce of country/Americana artists Roger Miller and John Hartford.

MM: You grew up in New Zealand and now live in America, so what were some of the biggest cultural differences you experienced?

SS: Driving! As I work a lot on the road, I’ve never been in a car so much!  It’s just so much bigger here which means more time traveling, but also more people and more different scenes to be involved with which I love.  I’ve always spent a lot of time outside, and I trail run a lot – I love it when I get to go to Colorado or Utah and run on those massive mountains.

MM: Why did you decide to focus on comedy and nature as a central theme in so much of your work?

SimonSS: I’ve always had a slightly tongue-in-cheek touch to my songwriting, I think I got that from John Prine.  Nature is a huge part of my life and a very grounding and enchanting force.  I think also that which such a shift to digital/phones and now COVID, there is real pull to be inside, but we mustn’t forget that we are creatures of the wild!

MM: How long did it take you to complete this recent album?

SS: It’s just one single, but it took about 3 months to pull together. Around April 2020, I finished the song, recorded my parts, then sent them out to a handful of different players to record their parts at home.  They sent them back and I compiled and edited it all myself. The artwork was completely by New Zealand artists that I worked with via zoom and email.

MM: What are you thinking music-video-wise for this song?

SS: I have a book that’s following the release by a few weeks, so I decided to get the illustrations from the book animated by a good friend of mine in New Zealand. The video just follows the story of the song, about a family taking a river trip.

MM: What’s the best fan feedback you’ve gotten about your music?

SS: I’ve had people say the lyrics of Floating Down the River really make them feel like they’re on the water.  Which is exactly the effect I’m trying to conjure!

MM: How would you describe your live performances?

SS: In addition to my own songs, I like to play a bunch of old goofy country songs and have people sing call and response lines.  I would say the performance is energetic but with a couple of a nice tender dips in there too.

SimonMM: How do you hope your career evolves over the next five years?

SS: I hope to keep writing more songs and release a full-length album in 2022.  I also really love the book approach, so I also want to keep doing that.

MM: What are your ultimate goals for the future and is there anything else that you would like to mention?

SS: I want to keep encouraging kids to get outside, enjoy nature and be respectful and in awe of the environment.


Visit Simon Stanley’s website HERE. He can also be found on Facebook and Instagram.