May 20, 2022
It’s safe to say Stacy Gabel ’98 knows the entertainment industry inside out. Since graduating from KU with a degree in telecommunications (this program is now called Cinema, Television and Media Production) and a minor in speech and theatre (now Communication Studies), she’s gone on to pursue acting, voiceover work and TV production (at MTV Networks), and to launch her own career as an award-winning recording artist and songwriter. She manages all of this while giving back to the community, often volunteering her time, directing theater and providing private online music lessons or coaching students of all ages for auditions or performances. Gabel loved to perform from an early age – in fact, she transferred to Kutztown University after studying musical theater in New York City for two years.
“I was always interested in theater, music and dance,” said Gabel. “Once I completed the program in New York, I wanted to further my education by completing my degree. It was the TV and radio department that sold me on KU.”
During her last semester at KU, Gabel interned at Nickelodeon, taking the bus into New York City every day. That internship led to a job offer upon graduation. She started in the promotions department in Manhattan and eventually moved to Los Angeles as a producer. While working full-time in television, she still pursued acting, ultimately landing several gigs and becoming a Screen Actors Guild member.
“Kutztown served me well,” said Gabel, who was an anchor on KUTV and voted homecoming queen during her time on campus. “I made a lot of friends and a lot of connections. KU gave me my introduction to producing, which set me up for success after graduation.”
Throughout all of this, Gabel’s love for singing never wavered. While in LA, she purchased her first guitar and started writing music and performing it live. She considers her sound “theatrical pop” – catchy hooks and clever lyrics sung by a classically trained vocalist. Gabel moved back to Pennsylvania where she took off as a singer-songwriter, growing a following and racking up accolades. She has won Lehigh Valley Music Awards multiple years in a row, taking home the top Fan’s Choice Award twice, along with Best Female Artist, Best Singer Songwriter, and Outstanding All-Around Performer. She won Outstanding Song and Outstanding Video for “Straight to Voicemail.” Her songs have been streamed, downloaded and heard on radio stations around the world.
And then the pandemic hit. Suddenly, live performances weren’t an option. Many would have slowed down, but not Gabel. “To succeed in this industry, you have to be open to re-invention,” she said. “Just because the game has changed doesn’t mean you can’t stay in it.” Gabel quickly pivoted and began to stream live performances from her home studio. Her release, “Stir Crazy,” is a song about the early stages of the global pandemic, which led her to be a finalist in a national songwriting contest, and also climb up the charts in Europe. After hearing “Stir Crazy,” an independent filmmaker approached Gabel about writing a song for “Sanitize This,” a short film about dating during quarantine. Always open to new collaborations, Gabel penned “Mask On” – and went on to win the top Diamond Award for Best Original Score at the Pinnacle Film Awards in Los Angeles.
Gabel was named Best Local Musician by Lehigh Valley Style magazine and won Best Virtual Performance for the aforementioned series of concerts from her home studio. As the world slowly returns to “normal,” Gabel is once again out performing.
“I’m trying to get out there as much as possible,” she said. She has plans to travel up and down the East Coast for gigs at a variety of venues, restaurants and wineries – in addition to singing the National Anthem at sports events.
“The best advice I could give anyone looking to make a career as a musician is to always keep a positive attitude and, of course, to never stop practicing,” said Gabel. “It’s so important to give back and share what you have learned through your own education and experiences. I will always continue to be a student myself...and there’s always so much more to learn.”
Gabel’s music and videos can be found at www.youtube.com/stacygabel.
This article appeared in the 2021 Tower Magazine