People always say that Nashville has more recording studios per foot than anywhere else in the world, so sometimes it’s all about getting that extra inch, that extra half a turn on the dial that can be the difference between getting your voice heard and blending into the crowd. The GRAMMY Amplifier program, in partnership with Hyundai, is all about giving independent artists a bigger voice, and this year Adley Stump has earned a spot in the winner’s circle. She was up against thousands of other talented independent artists but the GRAMMY Amplifier’s expert panel of curators—including Big Sean, Lzzy Hale, and Sam Hunt—saw something shining in Stump that they couldn’t pass up. Here’s her story.
Adley Stump has the kind of story that just may reignite your faith in dreaming big and going for it. “I was a senior, a PR/Marketing major at Oklahoma State, and like any college senior I was broke,” she told Sounds Like Nashville. “I had missed the deadline to audition for Jeopardy so I signed up for a show called The Voice. Five of my sorority sisters said, ‘Oh my God, it would be hilarious if you auditioned,’ and you know, you don’t turn down a dare in college.” You can tell where the rest of the story goes. She got call back after call back and eventually landed on the blind audition stage of the wildly successful show where Blake Shelton and Christina Aguilera both tried to claim the chance to mentor her through a season. She landed on Team Blake, signed an independent deal, and headed to Nashville where she’s been ever since. “I said to myself, ‘I think you got the wrong girl because I have no idea what the heck I’m doing.’ But then I felt like God hit me upside the head and said, ‘Ad, I gave you a stage and a microphone and a talent; it’s a gift out of nowhere. Go speak, go encourage. Go inspire people.”
Don’t let the whirlwind story fool you though, Stump is as gritty as they come. She treats her career like a caffeine-fueled startup founder treats a fledgling company. “I wake up at 5 a.m., feed my mini potbelly pig, and work my ass off every day. I’m not going to sit back and wait for somebody to realize ‘Oh she’s talented’ and give me a deal,” she explains. “Whether it’s a label, agency, publisher, whoever. It’s a matter of earning it.” That combination of inexhaustible energy, and hardcore hustle comes through in Stump’s music as well. “Fall,” the stellar opening track from her 2015 album Like This, shows off Stump’s vocal chops before crashing into bonafide country crossover hit territory. It’s that polished power that earned the young artist a roster spot in this year’s GRAMMY Amplifier program and, knowing Adley, she won’t be letting up anytime soon.