Around 12 years ago Chicago-based singer-songwriter Rebecca Stoelinga went from performing for drunk college crowds to children’s birthday parties, but found that both groups had a lot in common.
“An adult drinking crowd is very comparable to children,” said the singer, who goes by the stage name Stolie. “They want to be entertained, they want to dance and get up and be loud and they all kind of stumble around a little bit.”
Stolie made the change because she found she was living an unsustainable lifestyle playing concerts and hosting open mikes almost every night and not getting home until sunrise.
“It got to a point where I was like, ‘I need to figure out what’s next in my career because this isn’t going to work forever.’” she said.
“As you get older, earlier bedtimes sound a lot better, so I decided, ‘I’m going to see if I can get into the kids market.’”
In the decade that followed, Stolie recorded three children’s albums and mostly performed for young audiences. Last year she waded back into grown-up music with the release of Follow Me, her first “adult” album since 2008, and this summer she’s playing a mix of children’s and adult shows for the first time. She makes her Nanaimo debut at the Dinghy Dock Pub on Aug. 14.
She said her experience playing “more animated” kids’ shows has affected how she approaches grown-up gigs.
“I know we’re all there to have a good time and I’m just the facilitator through music,” she said.
“And so I want to make sure people are leaving with a smile and that whatever they’re listening to kind of takes them out of whatever problems they’re having in their life. Just live in the moment. Let’s have a musical experience together and have a good time and that kind of transcends both demographics.”
Stolie has been spending her winters in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, learning Spanish and performing for tourists. On her next trip she plans on recording a bilingual kids’ album with the musical friends she’s made in the coastal resort town.
“It’s something that I’m passionate about as much as music so it’s just really exciting for me that I get to fuel the things that make me excited about life into my next project,” she said, adding that she would like to bring her English-Spanish show to Central and South America.
“I really just love travelling and so I’m trying to figure out how I can mesh travelling with playing music, learning Spanish, being creative and just doing all the things I love wherever I go.”
WHAT’S ON … Stolie performs at the Dinghy Dock Pub, 8 Pirates Ln., on Tuesday, Aug. 14. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets are $22 in advance and include ferry fare. Available at the venue or online at www.myshowpass.com.