Shannon Lilly has two exciting careers. She's a singer-songwriter and a reporter. Shannon grew up in a musical household. Her mother was a music major, singer, piano player and choir director. While in high- school, she studied guitar with Dan Tucker who encouraged her songwriting ambitions. After graduating from The University of Arizona with a major in Broadcast Journalism, Shannon and her younger sister moved to Nashville to pursue a music career. She worked for CMT (Country Music Television) and eventually landed her first broadcasting job. While in Macon, Shannon met a blind musician and producer named Joey Stuckey and began working with him in his studio, Shadowsound Studio. Joey played a major role and produced her recent release “Light It Up” which was finished in May of 2018 right before Shannon became a reporter for CBS 6 in Richmond. In Richmond, she met a talented photographer at the station who produced a music video for the song. The video and single of “Light It Up” were officially released in February of 2019. Let's take a mintue to get to know this extraordinary singer-songwriter through 10 questions.
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it. Yes. When I was in high school I began taking guitar lessons from a man named Dan Tucker. I had already been interested in writing music, and had experimented some with it before. But Dan showed me how easy it was to play around with chords and start writing lyrics over them. I would come to him with a song idea, and as an expert guitarist, he began making those songs come to life. I found it was an amazing outlet to vent, or write about things I couldn't always talk about in my daily life.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career? I would say the craziest thing that's happened was straight out of college, when I decided to pick up and move to Nashville to pursue music. I moved there on a whim with my sister. We wanted to do music together, but had no connections in the city, or anything. Just decided we wouldn't start making them until we moved there. Within just a few months, somehow I landed an internship with CMT (Country Music Television) and was meeting all the country music stars I had grown up listening to. My sister and I also landed a few gigs playing on Broadway. It was a surreal experience.
What has been the high point of your music path?
So far there have been lots of high points! I experienced a high point just in the past week with the release of my new single, 'Light It Up.' It had been a while since I released original music, and I couldn't have imagined the amount of support I got from the people around me. I work for a CBS affiliate news station and the day of the release, they played my song on the morning show, then shared it on several of the station social media pages. Had so many friends doing the same thing. Truly at a loss for words at all the love I've been getting!
Please take a moment ot check out Shannon's stellar video and performance:
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
The process isn't always the same for me every time. Sometimes I'll have a moment of inspiration and just start writing down lyrics, or sometimes I'll play with chords on my guitar -- and again have a moment of inspiration for lyrics or a melody. Other times, I have to really sit down and commit to coming up with an idea -- whether I have a moment of inspiration or not. I like to write about experiences I've had, or experiences I imagine having -- and try to make those experiences come to life through lyrics and music.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
I think just how difficult it can be for young, independent artists to get their music out there/heard. You could release a truly incredible song, but without a large platform or a lot of money, it can be difficult to make sure it gets heard by people who are outside your inner circle.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
I know it sounds cliche, but sharing the stage with Taylor Swift would be surreal. Just seeing how far she's come as an artist -- watching her grow and overcome doubters. I kind of just grew up listening to her music, and I really respect her ability to capture listeners and tell a story with her music. I think the fact that she is constantly evolving as an artist is one of the biggest reasons she's become so successful. I really look up to her as an artist.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
Honestly, just going over the music again and again. Playing, singing -- making sure I know it so well that it's just instinct. I also like to go over a little bit what I plan to say between each song beforehand. Sometimes I'll just wing it when I get up there -- but I like to have an idea of how I want to introduce my music. Of course, vocal warm-ups too -- especially before a show.
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
A song that I wrote called 'High Tide' -- has probably been the biggest challenge to write. It took me years to get the lyrics just right. The song has actually not been released yet. But it's one that I wrote about a hard time in my life -- and has layers of metaphors. The song itself I actually created as a 'letter' or note to my younger self. It's one that means a lot to me and that's why it took me so long to get the lyrics the way I wanted them.
What's coming up in the future?
More music! I intend to promote my latest single, 'Light It Up,' for some time, but I definitely have already been working on ideas for new music. I think next I'll plan to release an EP rather than just a single, so people can get more of a feel for my music.
Tell us where fans can access your music?
You can find my new single, 'Light It Up,' at the following links, as well as on Itunes/ Apple Music/ Spotify.