A little over three years ago, Shellee Coley found herself sitting on the sofa at the home of music producer, Jeffrey Armstreet, discussing the possibility of recording her first album. Coley hadn’t thought about it since college, which found the former Belmont University alumna living the Nashville life while gigging around town with a band, co-write sessions on the side and a record deal on the table.
After several life altering events, including marriage (of now over 14 years), the birth of her two children and a serious car accident, her music career went on a temporary hiatus. When her husband took a job in the music industry and relocated their family to Texas, Coley discovered a tight-knit music community in Magnolia Red that led to rediscovering her passion and intrigue for music.
In 2009, she signed with Magnolia Red and released her debut EP “The Girl the Stencil Drew,” with the assistance of Armstreet, whom Coley credits with helping find her sound. The EP received high critical acclaim and adoration from all around the region.
At the heart of it, Coley considers herself to be a songwriter first. “I don’t write songs to fit into a specific category,” said Coley. “I love all sorts of music, so a lot of different styles tend to show up in my songs.”
As she entered the studio for a second time, with Armstreet once again at the helm, to begin work on the upcoming “Where It Began,” the emphasis on songwriting became the focus of the sessions. Instead of trying to fit each song into a genre, the sonic qualities lend themselves to the contents of each composition. The resulting sound presents itself in the form of Coley’s own custom brew of folk, Americana, country with pop undertones all tied together by the accessible sound of Coley’s dusky vocals.
Throughout the album, Coley expresses a perspective and message that becomes universal to the listener. With songs such as “All I Want” and “Bright Idea,” that describe the feelings of fear and frustration with accumulating bills and financial obstacles to “Home to You” and “The Trees” that show gratitude for the people that mean the most, Coley writes about every-day battles and sentiments that help define the transition and permeates throughout adulthood. One idea that is expressed throughout the album are the moments that happen in between life’s big events.
“I think we tend to forget about all the little stuff that gets us through every day and so that’s what tends to come up in my songs,” said Coley. “Marriage, birth and death are huge events that we measure life by, but the memories surrounding those events are what I like to celebrate in my music.”
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