New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Tisch alum kickstarts career with solo album

Rachel Cabitt/WSN


When asked if he would rather master all the languages of the world or master every single musical instrument, Jay Stolar, a graduate of the Tisch School of the Arts in 2005, chose the latter. Stolar originally attended NYU to pursue a career in acting but found himself in the music field. Now a singer and songwriter, Stolar is about to release his first solo album “More Than We Think” on Oct. 8. After two years of musical theater, the musician attended NYU’s International Theater Workshop in Amsterdam. The time he spent in Holland and the interactions he had with professors, such as Elizabeth Swados, convinced Stolar that his true path was music.

Stolar joined a band called Julius C after college and played at venues such as The Bitter End, as well as other NYU-populated venues. After the band separated in 2011, the eager artist started the Happiness and Connection Project, a kickstarter-funded endeavor to fund his first album. He spent the next two years writing songs, traveling and experimenting with his music in an attempt to leave his comfort zone and write powerful, honest music.

“I used techniques I learned at NYU to write my songs,” Stolar said. “Half the songs on the record came from that process.”

To those who worked with Stolar, they said he portrayed himself as a talented and dedicated student. His drive did not cease after graduation.

“Recently I started working with him again,” Stolar’s ITW professor Kevin Kuhlke said. “It has been a great pleasure to see how fully he has developed the potential I saw when we first met.”

Stolar’s musical inspirations vary from artists such as Paul McCartney and Jeff Buckley to old school soul musicians like James Brown and Aretha Franklin. As for modern influences, Stolar appreciates the likes of Mumford & Sons and Adele.

“It’s inspiring to see these artists on top of the charts playing real [and] simple music,” Stolar said. “That was inspiring to me.”

Listeners can expect acoustic, folk and even a taste of gospel from Stolar’s new album.

“It is an album played by real people with real instruments,” Stolar said. “There are sonically chill songs that you could just listen to if you’re at a party or, if you want to really sit down and listen to all the lyrics you could do that too.”

Drawing from his experiences, Stolar gave words of encouragement to other young aspiring musicians.

“Play, write and record as much as possible, and don’t be defensive about anything negative anyone says about your music,” Stolar said. “Just decide whether or not you agree, and see what you can do to get closer to reaching your potential as an artist.”

A version of this article appeared in the Monday Oct. 7 print edition. Ilona Tuominen is a contributing writer. Email her at [email protected]

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  • E

    Erin ChaseOct 10, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    it’s such a great album, check it out!

  • M

    Melissa McMindesOct 10, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    The album is so amazing! Everyone should check Jay’s music out!