From research scientist to singer-songwriter; Max Stalling to take the stage at LJT

Photo courtesy of Max Stalling's website.

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Many people carry a passion for a talent or a craft. In many cases, this talent is left as a hobby rather than a full-time profession. For singer-songwriter Max Stalling, this was the case until a life-changing event taught him to grab life by the horns and pursue his passion.

Stalling has performed his best on-stage since the early nineties, with his first record releasing in 1997. Stalling’s passion for music has its origins as far as his junior high days.

“I’ve always written prose all the way back into junior high” Stalling said. This passion has carried him through junior high and into graduate school, where he’s, “added a guitar to the equation.”

While Stalling held a passion during his early days, his motive to begin to preform on a professional level was sparked after the World Trade Center attack on Sept. 11 2001.

“I’d already been gigging for a while but (I) decided to leave my day job and pursue music full-time on the day the attacks on the World Trade Center happened in September 11, 2001,” said Stalling. “I had already been thinking about quitting my really good day job at Frito Lay (as a research scientist). Any one of us could have been on those planes or buildings. The drama and trauma of that day just reinforced my belief that life is too short to miss an opportunity to do what you really love to do…I love to write songs.”

With this newly-reinforced belief in tow, Stalling made preparations and resigned from his job near the beginning of 2002. Following his resignation, Stalling had an interesting jump-start into his new career.

“That first weekend as a ‘self-employed singer-songwriter’ I played Bass Hall on Friday night (opening for Bruce and Charlie Robison),” Stalling said. “Then headlined Gruene Hall for the first time on Saturday night.”

During his first few days as a singer-songwriter, Stalling looked up to many artist for inspiration and ideas, namely Guy Clark, Robert Earl Keen, Lyle Lovett, Merle Haggard, Tom Petty, James Taylor, Jimmy Buffett, Jim Croce, Tommy Alverson and Larry Joe Taylor.

As he’s carried on his career over the years Stalling has faced many challenges but his biggest one was the ever changing music industry.

“Keeping up with the fast-moving changes in the way music is consumed and marketed,” Stalling said. “The move to digital has been exciting and fun but the landscape changes constantly. It takes a lot of energy and creativity to try and keep up while a t the same time finding time to be writing and putting out new music.”

As he finds himself overcoming these challenges, Stalling has found himself with the challenge of writing new songs.

“When I first started, I knew NOTHING about songwriting and so everything was new and exciting and interesting. Now that I’ve been doing it for a while, it seems like I’ve put more ‘do’s and don’ts’ into the process and that can take a tiny bit of the fun out of it,” Stalling said. “I try to remember what Guy Clark said about songwriting: ‘There’s three rules to songwriting….unfortunately, nobody knows what they are’.”

Despite this challenge, Stalling does not intend to stall the creation of his new songs.

“I consider myself a songwriter before the singer or performer part,” said Stalling. “My songs are like kids to me…I try to raise them right and hope they go out in the world and make a difference in other people’s lives.”

He reports that a new live project is in the works towards mastery alongside with a new studio project that may begin later this year.

For the time being, Stalling is much anticipating the fruits of his labor coming to fruition in 2019.

“Getting some new material out and playing some new venues,” Stalling said. “We are going to be doing a little more out of state this year…Oklahoma, North Carolina, Georgia, etc.”

As LJT stems closer, Stalling looks forward to his performance, the good times, being able to see everyone and feels happy to make new memories.

Don’t miss out on seeing Max Stalling at LJT Wednesday April 24 on the Allsup’s stage.