Shelby Darrall Interview

Shelby Darrall Interview

By Amber Otto for Country Music News International Magazine

A new face and voice within the country scene that one should surely add to their playlist is California-native Shelby Darrall. Her strong vocals that punch out the lyrical content of her music with conviction, sprinkled with an edgy tone reminiscent to that of Miley Cyrus, is enough to make any listener “melt” once hearing her deliver an unforgettable serenade. Not only was her second EP “Melt” just released on September 22nd 2023, but the Napa Valley singer also got the opportunity to debut her latest music at the Ryman Auditorium the same day when opening for Larry Fleet. Her latest EP consists of six tracks total including “Melt” and another “must listen to,” “Little Man” which according to Darrall is a powerful song she hopes will remind listeners to take charge of your life. “I honestly wrote little man because I wanted my chance to fight back against being treated like I was insignificant. The song, for me, is about a specific man that made me feel two feet tall simply because he had “more” than me, more clout, more money, more status, more support.” Other tracks on the EP include, “Hope He Hears This,” “Three Words,” “Dancer,” and “Three Words (Sunset Demo).”

Country Music News International Magazine was fortunate enough to be able to get a Q& A interview with the up-and-coming singer to hear more about her starts in music, as well as what opportunities lie ahead for her within the industry.

 

When did you begin singing and performing?

“Professionally I’d say when I moved to Nashville, but I’d been performing and writing songs since I was 13!”

What drew you into, to want to begin singing?

“Probably seeing my dad play with his band. I always remembered feeling so inspired and feeling like it was a dream I could really achieve because I watched him do it! It also had a lot to do with me beginning to write songs, because all I wanted to do was sing them for other people (not just for my family in my living room), to see if I actually had a shot at it for real.”

Who are some of your favorite music artists and if you could collaborate with anyone who would it be and why?

“I have such a wide variety of favorites, so this question is always really hard for me! I tend to always gravitate towards older music. Right now, I’m on a huge Bryan Adams kick. I’m also a massive Taylor Swift fan forever and always. In the country music world right now, I’m most interested in what Zach Bryan is putting out. I think he’s really carved a new path in the genre and it’s just so honest and genuine. I’d collaborate with Taylor (duh). Or Cher.”

Is country your favorite genre to perform or do you have other genres you would like to do or crossover to?

“Country is definitely my favorite, but I love to throw a rock or 90’s pop punk edge into my shows. I’ve also covered some Miley (Cyrus) here and there which has been fun.”

When did you begin songwriting? And when did you begin co-writing? Was that a hard transition since you began writing alone?

“I started writing songs when I was about twelve and learned about co-writing once I moved to Nashville. I immediately loved co-writes because it was really fun getting to create something with another person and much easier too, honestly. I also still really enjoy writing alone sometimes. I think that I tend to get the most vulnerable material that way. Then I’ll take a chorus or verse idea I started alone to a co-write to see if they can add a little genius and help me finish it!”

When did you move to Nashville and was this always the place you saw yourself venturing to, to pursue your music? California is such a big area and big into music as well. Why not California vs. Nashville?

“Nashville was aways the dream. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love northern California where I’m from. In my head nothing beats that place. I just knew that for me to pursue my dreams and country music in a real way, I needed to be there. Nashville is also where so many of my heroes got their start, so I think a part of me wanted to follow in their footsteps. Nashville is a songwriter’s dream, and I really wanted to be integrated into the songwriting world.”

How did you make connections with some of the biggest names in Country such as Jake Owen’s, Morgan Wallen, Luke Combs etc.?

“Nashville is a small town at its core, and you tend to run into other artists in a pretty natural way. Or you play the same festivals, open for them once in  awhile. Everyone is so genuinely sweet in this community.”

I noticed you had the opportunity to open at the Ryman on Sept. 22nd. What an awesome opportunity! Was this your first time performing there? How was that experience and what did you do to prepare for it? What was your favorite part of your performance?

“Yes it was my first time and I seriously think it was the best day of my life so far. That place is unlike any venue ever! I think the Ryman offers a certain amount of respect, the audience understands what it means for an artist to play there, and the artist understands as well. It’s such an honor and so many of my heroes have played that same stage so it was pretty emotional for me. I think my favorite part was during the last song we played (which was already an emotional song about my career). Everyone put up their lights and then I got a standing ovation which made me sob. I’ve just never felt that type of support and love at a show and it was so overwhelming/affirming. Ugh just unreal.”

What other performances do you have lined up for the upcoming year?

“I’m pretty excited about next year! Some really exciting festivals are in California which I cannot WAIT for! I’m playing a festival in Maui as well! Both very special places to me so I’m pumped for those. Still hoping to get on a big tour so hopefully that comes soon!”

I noticed “Melt” is your second EP and I love “Little Man” and “Melt.” Off of the EP, is there a certain song that resonates with you more than any other and why? Could you give us some insight on your favorite song and what it’s about?

“Thank you! This is always a hard question because I love them all. I think because they’re all little pieces of me! The song that resonates with me most kind of changes with my mood. Right now, I think Dancer is my favorite. I wrote Dancer with my producer Jake Mitchell and then Lori McKenna (who just happens to be my all-time favorite songwriter). This song means a lot to me because I feel every single word of it. I’m sure most people think it’s about a romantic relationship but it’s actually about my relationship with the music business as an artist. That’s something I obviously deal with every day and Dancer is really a song about remembering to be who you are, and not who people want you to be.”

You’ve had some great successes within a short amount of time since your first EP. You collectively have 7 million streams of your music which is huge! What have you observed to be the best way to advertise and see numbers like these? (Social media, sponsored ads, live performances, Kickstarter, crowd funding etc.)

“I kind of hate to say it because I have such a love hate relationship with it, but definitely social media/Tik Tok. It’s such a huge platform and it can really help to push your music out there. What I WANT my answer to be is live shows, which for sure helps, but social media just offers a bigger crowd.”

I read that you began performing alongside your father’s band SilverCreek when you were first starting music. Would you ever consider having your father collaborate on a song with you in the future?

“YES. I would love that so much. I grew up performing and playing music with him so it would mean so much to me to have him on a song at some point. He’s crazy talented and taught me everything I know so I think it would be a pretty great song 🙂 or maybe having him perform with me at an awards show one day?? That would be amazing.”

 Are there any other family members besides you and your father who have musical ability? Do you play any instruments besides the guitar?

“My grandma Jody on my dad’s side can sing. She used to out sing all of us at church. I can play a little piano! Just basic stuff though.”

What do you hope your music does for your listeners? Have you had fans reach out sharing how your music has helped them through a rough time or even just made them happy?

“I have had so many fans reach out which really means so much to me. One of my main goals with my music is that it reaches others in some way. To me, music is and always has been my escape and my therapist. I hope that if my fans are going through something that my music can be a place to go where they can feel safe and understood.”

Do you have any words of wisdom for those out there wanting to do what you do or become a successful singer-songwriter like yourself?

“I think the main thing is to stay true to yourself and be your own person.”

Where can listeners go to listen to your music and follow you to keep up with your latest and greatest news?

“My music is on all streaming services so pick your poison there and all my handles for socials are @shelbydarrall.”

More fun facts about Shelby are besides collectively reaching 7 million streams since her first release in 2022 entitled “Love Me When I’m Leaving,” this particular song was added to Sirius XM’s “The Highway” and dubbed as “the perfect heartbreak anthem” by People. Darrall has also earned opening slots for country A-listers such as Sam Hunt, Little Big Town, Jake Owen, Brett Eldrege and Restless Road’s Bar Friends Tour. She has also been Featured by American Songwriter, Country Next,, People,, Hollywood Life and more, Again to keep up with promising new talent follow her on all social media handles at @shelbydarrall or visit her website at https://shelbydarrall.com.

 

 

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