There's a good chance you have no idea who Albert Stanaj is, and admittedly we didn't either until we saw him recently popping up in pictures and videos with Drake at the YOLO Mansion. Naturally, we decided to dig a little deeper for more information on the 20-year-old singer/songwriter who might just be the next up-and-coming talent that Drake introduces to the world.
Hailing from Albania, Stanaj is currently based out of New York where he graduated from Archbishop Stepinac high school and received a scholarship for his outstanding work in theater. Most recently, Stanaj has appeared as a singer on ABC's Dancing With The Stars while hitting the studio with the production teams, Da Internz and The Stereotypes. He has also done work as a model for a site that specializes in personalities from Albania.
After a quick search on Stanaj's Instagram page, you will see his last two posts—one from Jan. 22 and one from Jan. 5—are both with Drizzy, and the earlier one is a video of him playing the piano at Drake's residence. There's also a photo of Stanaj and Jay Z from Nov. 27 with the caption, "2015 Just be ready," which is basically the same message he had with the photo of Drake from earlier this week.
So, though Stanaj is a relative unknown right now, it looks like he's gearing up to have an eventful year. Over on his personal YouTube page are a few covers—one of which is Drake's "Marvin Room" but no original material. Either way, the kid can sing. He recently appeared in a feature piece with Creative Recreations where he performed a cover of "Am I Wrong" by pop duo Nico & Vinz. During an interview with the site, Stanaj talked about Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and Maxwell being his greatest musical inspirations at this point in his career. One of his latest covers is of Kanye West's "Only One," which was shared on Instagram by Mario Dedivanovic, who is one of Kim Kardashian's makeup artists.
As a songwriter, Stanaj's work is currently a mystery, and though he is registered on the official ASCAP site directory, his page has no results. The production teams—Da Internz and The Stereotypes—that Stanaj has been working with have previously worked with the likes of Rihanna, Chris Brown, Justin Bieber, Big Sean, and more, which opens plenty of possibilities for future collaborations. So while Stanaj, the Albanian soulful singer with a vocal range for days, has yet to break out into the mainstream, it seems like the question isn't if he eventually will, but rather when.