By Elizabeth Keys
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Adley Stump takes the stage tonight at the Wes Watkins center on the Oklahoma State University campus.
“I'm excited about coming home,” Stump said from her band's bus on their way to town from Nashville. The Tulsa-native graduated from OSU and her brother, Jake, is a student now.
Stump's appearance is part of Color Jam 2012 sponsored by OSU's Ad Club after presenting the Creative Lightning Awards.
Corey White will begin singing at 8 p.m. With Stump to follow with a 35-minute set of uptempo country rock. Tickets are available until noon if purchased online at www.shopokstate.com under “Event Tickets.” Tickets at the door are $20.
Stump has been on a whirlwind since graduating from OSU and heading to Nashville at the invitation of investors .
“If you would have told me a year ago, I'd be touring all over, I never would have believe it,” she said.
Her nationwide exposure as a contestant on TV's hit talent competition “The Voice” propelled her into the spotlight. Taping the show was a wild ride and a great memory that was a catalyst to opening doors for her career.
“It changed my life,” she said.
OSU is where she first found her “voice.”
“This is where it all started,” Stump said.
A guitar player since childhood, Stump began singing with her Pi Beta Phi sorority sisters in Varsity Revue and honed her craft with Meagan McDown in venue's around town performing regularly at Willie's Saloon where tonight's after party will be held.
Her grandmother, Mary McLaughlin, still owns the building. She raised her kids in Stillwater with Adley's parents, Greg and Terri Noonan Stump both graduating from Stillwater High School in 1975 with her aunt and uncle, Ronnie and Karen Kerntke Stump in the SHS class of 1976.
Her mother, Terri, cheered on the Pioneers and Cowboys and taught her the art of crowd appeal.
“She taught me how to perform and is a big influence in my life,” Stump said about her mother's help in following a musical dream.
At OSU, Cynthia Nichols, a media and strategic communications assistant professor, has always been a big supporter who helps Stump with big decisions.
“I learned more from her class in one semester than in all of my college days,” Stump said in discussing a mentor she stays in touch with on a weekly basis. Earning her degree in public relations, Stump said all of her professors in the journalism school were helpful in preparing her for a professional career.
Sometimes the music business reminds her of a duck who looks like they are skimming along with “the surface slow and smooth on the surface but underneath you're paddling like crazy.”
“Everything's happened so fast and doors continue to open,” Stump said but you realize “you're trying to swim upstream in a waterfall” with the thousands of people trying to make it in the music world.
Stump treasures the validation she received from Christina Aguilera and the mentorship of Blake Shelton and Kelly Clarkson on “The Voice.” The show helped Stump make great connections and she is devoting “110-percent of my heart” to the industry.
She is looking forward to recording more music and is grateful to do what she loves, sing. Her songs are developed from poetry which she has written throughout her life. Although she grew up on rock, Stump said the moral code is stronger in country music and she “didn't want to stray too far from the values I had growing up.”
On i-tunes, she just released her version of Leonard Cohen's “Hallelujah,” an inspirational song for the holidays which made it in the top 40 Christian songs this week. Almost all the sets the band will play at the concert are from original material. OSU student Andy Adamson, a senior studying public relations, will join the band on guitar. Stump will back on the road this weekend traveling to Canada for a concert with the global nonprofit To Write Love on Her Arms which focuses on prevention of suicide, depression and addiction. She released “Like a Lady” before appearing on “The Voice” and is now previewing material for an upcoming album for 2013.
“I am very blessed to make music full-time,” Stump said.