As an actress onstage and on television, Asbury Park, New Jersey-based performer Anjelia Pelay has stolen the heart of wrestler Randy Orton, charmed Gene Simmons, and channeled both Britney Spears and the Beatles with equal aplomb. But Anjelia (say it anj-uh-LEE-uh!), all that acting was just a warm-up for her true passion: music.
To pursue a songwriting habit that developed at the tender age of five, Pelay returned from Hollywood to New Jersey to join the white-hot Asbury Park music scene. As a true quintuple threat -- actress, dancer, singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist -- she's quickly risen through the region's ranks.
As a true performer at heart, she's bringing an excitingly theatrical flair to the often-staid world of singer-songwriter fare. Anjelia's soulful, hook-laden contemporary pop-rock has won industry kudos from the likes of producer Rodney Jerkins and former Styx bassist/vocalist Glen Burtnik, with whom she regularly performs in his celebrated Beatlemania shows.
In the past year that she's devoted full time to music, besides guest starring frequently in Burtnik's productions, she's sung backup for Patty Smyth, and opened for Jeffrey Gaines and Bess Rogers. The Aquarian dubbed her "worth watching" after one of her early performances in Manhattan, and the Trentonian recently called her a "multi-talented" "statuesque beauty" who is "the total package."
In other words, Anjelia is no ordinary somber girl at the guitar or piano. While backed by a full band, she seamlessly transitions from piano, to keyboard, to even melodica and ukulele and back. Her sound touches on everything from heartland roots rock to eccentric Norwegian pop, but it all comes together in radio-ready, but 100 percent honest, earworm songs. Think the dramatic and melodic knack of Freddie Mercury (one of Anjelia's biggest influences), the lyrical immediacy of Joni Mitchell, the smart, broad appeal of Gavin Degraw, and even a little bit of the blue-eyed soul-pop of Justin Timberlake.
On Friday, November 11 (11-11-11!) Anjelia will headline the legendary Stone Pony, of course, the Asbury Park venue made famous worldwide by Bruce Springsteen. The occasion is the release of 'Believe,' her debut full-length album, on New Jersey-based Indigo Planet Records. The eight tracks comprise both adult contemporary rock singles like the original "A Long Way" and heartfelt ballads like "Forever Gone." Also included are carefully selected covers that have become fan favorites, including a goosebump-inducing reinterpretation of Tom Petty's "Walls."
The show also promises to be unlike any other local artist's CD release show. With her sights set on conquering the entertainment world at large, she's put together a spectacle worthy of huge stages. Besides the full band, Anjelia also promises backup singers, dancers, and even short films and choreography for an unforgettable evening.
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