“We’re married, but we met through an ad I placed in a music store looking to jam with other musicians,” laughs Shannon Marsyada. “Mike [Marsyada, drums] answered it. And Mike worked with Lisa [Welch, bass] through his day job, and I met Lisa in a music store, not knowing Mike knew her, and everything fell together.”
Shannon and Mike joined with Lisa Welch, and the genesis of the project came together. Lisa had formerly played with Black Creek, but Shannon and Mike actually hadn’t performed in any groups before they hooked up on this project.
While it’s often difficult to collaborate with a “significant other,” as they say, in this case it seems to work for the couple. Shannon describes their music as a cross between Amy Winehouse and Adele. “With a hint of happy,” she adds. “Sometimes I hear a melody first, sometimes it’s the words. It’s hard to say, mostly it’s an emotional experience that brings it on. When there’s not much going on, I practice with noodling, and going over old songs to improve on them.”
Indeed, Shannon’s voice is a combination of the gaiety of Colbie Callait and Karen Carpenter, with snippets of a country and blues-tinge reminiscent of Sheryl Crow or even Jennifer Nettles.
There are a number of songs that seem to have connected with fans. “Well, ‘Sappy Luvv Song’ always gets people up and moving,” says Shannon. “My personal favorites are ‘Where Dreams Come In,’ because it’s about never giving up on yourself, and ‘Paper Flower,’ because it’s based on a simple, single act of kindness that totally changed my outlook. My husband made it for me, and it’s featured on our album cover, my way of ‘paying it forward.’”
Shannon’s background wasn’t limited to any particular type of artist or genre of music. She was heavily influenced by her mother and father, who exposed her to artists such as Harry Bellefonte, Willie Nelson, Dire Straits and Peter, Paul And Mary, and from her brothers and sisters, who brought home music from artists ranging from Berlin and John Mellencamp to Kiss, Samantha Fox and Bruce Springsteen. “I enjoyed the emotion that the songs captured, and the many different experiences,” she says. “I believe that’s what makes a great song, happy or sad, excited or lazy.”
An interesting aspect of Shannon’s musical endeavors is her association with the Songwriters Hall Of Fame. After submitting to them online, one of her songs, “Where Dreams Come In,” will be featured on their New Writers disc, which is out this fall.
Shannon’s live performances include a great many free concerts for charities, church picnics and the like, under the moniker the Shannon Marsyada Trio, but her real goals are in the area of songwriting. “I love writing,” she exclaims. “Playing out is a nice change now and then, but my goal is to pitch my music in film and TV, or even get other artists to perform the songs.”
Their live shows may be limited in number, but they do seem to have a common theme. “Well, our track record of playing in the rain seems to be outstanding,” Shannon laughs. “It never fails, whenever we have an outside gig, we get rain. And if it’s not raining, bees are always coming after me. Imagine playing piano and singing, and trying not to get stung! It’s so fun!”
While the shows may not be numerous at this point, they have managed to perform in some prestigious venues. They’ve hit The Bitter End, the Parkside Lounge, and Characters in New York City, the “Live at Best Buy” concert series, the September 11th Concerts, and the Songwriter’s Circle and Songwriter’s Hall of Fame showcases.
The new CD, which is called For You, was partially produced by the renowned Peter Bliss, who has credits that include million selling albums with the likes of N’Sync and Barbra Streisand. Some of the CD was also done with Jason Shaffer of Full Tilt Productions, and some of it by Michael Marsyada.
For further information about Shannon Marsyada, and to check out some of her music, search her on Facebook, MySpace or go to shannonmarsyada.com.