Shelly Fairchild instantly wowed critics with her 2005 recording debut, "Ride," which spawned the Billboard Hot Country Songs top 40 hit "You Don't Lie Here Anymore." The ferocious stage performer blew her fans away once again in 2011 with "Ruby's Money," her sophomore record release —with her intent to transform the sound of modern soul.
The seasoned stage veteran (who carried leading roles in the musicals "Beehive: The 60s Musical" and "Always Patsy Cline" and has supported superstars like Trace Adkins and Rascal Flatts in concert) easily converted followers with the blues- and R&B-infused testimony she was born to spread. Growing up in Jackson, Miss., where Aretha Franklin once recorded at Malaco Studios, Fairchild absorbed the blues throughout her childhood. "It was kind of everywhere you went," she recalls. "I grew up in a family where they loved music and my dad listened to a lot of country, and then I was raised in a Southern Baptist church, so that's where gospel really came in."
When she hit Nashville to kick off her music career, she landed on Columbia thanks to performing a live rendition of Fiona Apple's "Criminal" and a few Patty Griffin songs in the label's office. "I had this bluesy, soulful element that I always wanted to bring to my music no matter what, and they let me do that. But I had to stay within certain parameters on my first record," Fairchild says of "Ride," which brought her mainstream attention and praise from such publications as People and American Songwriter Magazine. "It was a good first project for me. It was really amazing to make a record in Nashville." She compares her departure from the label "to graduating from high school to college. I feel like I learned so much. It was like my school and then I developed who I was as a songwriter and got on to the next phase of my life."
With the release of "Ruby's Money" on her own Revelation Nation Records, Fairchild took complete control of her music. For the project, Fairchild and Smith (who acted as producer) erected a new-millennium soul sound that's housed within a framework established by icons like Ike & Tina Turner, Sly & the Family Stone, Isaac Hayes and Barry White. "I hear music a certain way, certain syncopations and things that are a lot different than the feel in the '70s. But I want to have songs that have the same sort of impact of those songs from that era," Fairchild says. "That's what I try to do: take what I know now and what I feel I know now with what I know about then and how I feel listening to music from back then."
"I used to be so scared of being independent," she admits of deciding to release "Ruby's Money" on her own instead of shopping it to a major label. "But as soon as I became independent I felt like every possibility, every opportunity, everything was so open. Making "Ruby's Money" and all of the current music that I am working on makes me feel as if my soul is unleashed. I am able to sing how I sing and make choices that I make in a 'LIVE' setting. I feel so open and I feel so many acts—so many great, solid artists that we know and love—are finding themselves somehow independent and making it work in a BIG way. I think the possibilities for them, and for me, are endless."
Booking: Jodi Joyce at Shellyfairchildbooking@gmail.com
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