With all sincerity, I will say that I’ve never been to a city quite like Nashville, TN. The city never sleeps; music and neon signs navigate the streets inviting urbanites into bars and venues for every variety of sounds. There’s a certain electric buzz, both literally and metaphorically, that flows around this metropolis. Many talented musicians see Nashville as the musical mecca of the south and have migrated here in hopes of making their dreams a reality. Tommy and Shanna are two such musicians who have made it their life’s ambition to pursue music. They migrated to Nashville, considering it the quintessential stepping stone to a full time gig.
I met up with these two at Barista Parlor, one of Nashville’s premier coffee shops. The interior boasts of antique lights, exotic coffee apparatuses, and bohemian decorations, deer antlers to be exact. A fleet of vintage motorcycles line aligned at the front, and an American flag draped triumphantly in the background. It is there that I begin to learn of their individual journeys to Nashville, their musical beginnings, and current inspirations.
Although Shanna came to be a singer, and Tommy a guitar player, they are both here for the same reason: seeing their music reach the world. Shanna has a voice that soars, and yet respectfully compliments the dynamics of the song. Her voice carries the maturity of Adele, but with a country twang. However, it’s an authentic twang, not one steeped in the commercialism of production and glamour. Tommy plays the guitar with the same efficacy that an Olympian would perform; he trains similarly, too. Like many dreams though, they started small – and, for Shanna, in the country.
Shanna’s vocal career began at the age of three in the small rural town of Reeltown, AL. Her first performance? Amazing Grace in her grandparent’s country church. Her grandparents raised her and she attributes her talent to her Granddad. “With him being my father figure, I naturally looked up to him. He played piano like Jerry Lee Louis and sang like Johnny Cash.” I instantly imagine Shanna’s home being filled with deep vocal bass tones and rowdy, swinging piano parts – effectively, bootstompin’ music. Shanna’s performance soon earned her a part as the youngest member in her churches’ choir. While other kids were playing with their pets, Shanna set up stage in the backyard singing her heart out to her attentive, stuffed animal audience.
Despite the lack of applause, these performances were the start of a passionate vocal career.