After several years of exploring the country (and exploring various interests), Nebraska native Shannon Labrie decided to settle in the country music capital of the world to focus on a career in music.
Even though she’s based in Nashville, Tenn., Labrie isn’t aiming to become a country starlet. The singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has settled into Nashville’s independent music scene, releasing her debut album, Just Be Honest, in early 2013. One of its standout tracks is the airy, dreamy “I Remember a Boy,” which sounds like what might have happened if a young Sarah McLachlan had worked with producer Daniel Lanois.
Earlier this week, Labrie called to talk about some significant personal and musical firsts in her life.
Her first concert: “My first show was James Taylor in Omaha, Nebraska, with my dad. We sat in the nosebleeds, for sure. I was maybe around 10 years old. It’s a phenomenal memory of my father, and I just love James Taylor. I’ve always wanted to be an artist, so it was like watching something I knew I’d be one day.”
First song she ever wrote: “It didn’t have a title, but there was a song I wrote around the time my dad died [after battling cancer], and all I can think of is the melody. That was probably when I was 14 or 15. It was written using the first two chords I ever knew, which were E minor and G. That was just the first of many songs.”
First words that come to mind when thinking about her hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska: “My mother — and corn (laughs). I haven’t been there in a really long time.”
First impression of Nashville’s independent music scene: “My first impression was it was exciting that there was a music element to Nashville that wasn’t country. I feel like the indie-music side of Nashville is still very small, but growing, and I’m excited to be part of it.”
First song written for Just Be Honest: “ ‘I Remember a Boy,’ ‘Headlines’ and ‘Gettin’ Tired’ were all songs that were pulled from my [self-titled 2012] EP for the album. … ‘I Remember a Boy’ was the first extremely honest and vulnerable song I had written. As a songwriter, you write a lot about other people. This song was about one of the most intimate, heartbreaking moments of my life. I wrote that song, and that was the beginning of writing all of the other songs on the album, ultimately.”
— Introduction and interview by Chris M. Junior
Shannon Labrie on tour (schedule subject to change):
* May 11: Musicians Corner/Centennial Park — Nashville, Tenn.
* May 14: Rockwood Music Hall — New York
* May 15: Non-COMMvention — Philadelphia
* May 16: Tin Angel — Philadelphia
* May 17: House of Harmony — Pittsburgh