Feature Artist Interview | Shell Marie
By Candice Anne Marshall
IMM – Hello Shell! We are pleased to have you on the front page of our site at Indie Music Monday. Can you tell us how you found out about us?
I’m honored for the opportunity! I found out about you through ReverbNation. I applied to the offer you had there and was selected.
IMM – Can you tell us a little bit about your background in music and how you arrived at this point in your career? What was the driving force behind your career?
I started off singing in church when I was little, and from there I went on to do musical theatre for several years, along with singing at a few events around town. We started posting videos on YouTube for my family to see, and the videos caught the eye of a web-magazine. A few great things came out of that, including a trip to Nashville to perform in front of industry professionals. That led to me having to make the decision between continuing musical theatre at a career, or pursuing a solo career. What helped me make that decision was my call to make a difference in the world, which has been the driving force behind both my career and everything I’ve done – I’m doing it in hopes of making a positive difference in people’s lives. After making that decision, I signed with a company called PCG Nashville, and from there things have just been going at full speed in my career.
IMM – Can you tell us when was your ‘ah ha’ moment when you realized that music would be a significant part of your future?
Music has always been a part of my life in many ways. I’ve been singing and doing music all my life, so there wasn’t really an ‘ah ha’ moment for me. It’s just something I’ve always felt and known, that no matter what I did with my life, music would be involved.
IMM – I read that you played ‘Annie’ in musical theatre! That’s exciting – can you tell us how that came about and what was this experience like for you?
Yes, I did! It was a great experience. I got the opportunity to do it with a local professional theatre company in Louisiana. Annie was probably one of my favorite roles, simply because I’ve always admired her character, and it was like a dream come true when I got to play her part in the musical.
IMM – Which theater experience was your most favorite and why?
I’m going to have to choose when I got to play Annie in ‘Annie: The Musical’, mainly because that role really helped me open up as a person and as a performer, and it pushed me past my limits in terms of acting. I got the opportunity to take part in many amazing musicals, such as ‘Cats’, ‘Shrek’, ‘Willy Wonka’, and others. But Annie, by far, was my favorite.
IMM – How do you feel working in theatre has helped to shape your music career?
Theatre really helped me come into myself when I was younger, and it helped me find my confidence. I think it’s helped shaped my career most in terms of performance. I’m able to incorporate the things that I learned in theatre into my concerts, such as stage technique, movements, expressions, etc.
IMM – When was the moment you knew you needed to break out and do your ‘own thing’ in terms of your music career as a solo artist?
It came to a point where I had to make a decision between musical theatre and a solo career, because we weren’t able to go further in either realm without choosing one or the other. The deciding factor for me was that, as a solo artist, I have more of a voice to make a difference than if I was just a character in a play; and overall, that’s what I want to do – make a difference, and be a positive influence for my generation.
IMM – What do you feel is the most important thing an artist can do to accelerate their career?
I think the most important thing is to always be real. If you’re putting on a front, people can see through it from a mile away. Whenever you post music, videos, or pictures of yourself, let it show the real you – and also make sure you’re not compromising who you are in doing so. Fans love seeing the person behind the music, so don’t be afraid to show it. Also, make connections with other artists and people in the industry. It’s always helpful having a few people you can trust in the music industry to turn to and ask for questions and advice.
IMM – Which social media platform(s) are you most active on and why?
I like to intersperse my time between all of the social medias, but the one I’ve been focusing on recently has been Instagram. Most of my generations, teens and such, are on Instagram, so it’s the place where I’ve seen the most results in trying to reach that audience.
IMM – Your new music video ‘Follow My Heart’ has already gotten over 6000 views on your YouTube Channel! It’s a great video – where was it filmed?
Thank you so much! It was so much fun filming it. We shot it in Shreveport, Louisiana, and we went all over downtown filming it. Some of it was even filmed at the Shreveport boardwalk.
IMM – Who is your ‘go-to’ team for creation of your music videos?
Each of my videos has been created by a different team, but the most recent group I’ve worked with is called 190 Productions, and they’re based out of Shreveport, Louisiana. I loved working when them because I happened to know them personally, and also, I love being able to work on things with people based out of my home state.
IMM – Who is your ‘go-to- team in terms of your music career?
My go-to team depends on the project I’m working on, but generally it’s my producers and the company I’m with (PCG Universal).
IMM – Your self-titled album launched in May of this year…what has been the fan reaction to it?
The fan reaction has been amazing! Everyone seems to enjoy it a lot, which is very reassuring. I’m so glad it’s gotten the great reaction it has.
IMM – Have you received radio play with your new music?
I’ve had quite a few independent radio stations playing my new music, yes. Mostly online stations.
IMM- Who would you like to give a ‘shout-out’ to for support of your music and/or career?
I’d like to shout-out each and every single person who has helped me throughout the course of my career. My incredible fans, my great friends, my awesome team, and most of all, my family. I wouldn’t be able to do this without my family, my parents especially.
IMM – Can you tell us the ‘theme’ of your new album?
The theme of my new album is very fun, thoughtful, and inspiring in my opinion. I tried to give a nice mix of upbeat and slower songs, but all of them have a continuing positive theme.
IMM – What is the song-writing process like for you? Is there something you naturally gravitate toward when creating?
Song-writing, for me, varies every time I write. It depends a lot on my mood and who I’m working with. It also depends on the mood whether or not I start with the lyrics or the melody first, so there’s nothing I really gravitate towards when writing.
IMM – Do you write your own songs?
Yes, I do! I write and co-write all of them.
IMM – Which song off the new album has received the most traction on radio or with fans?
The song off my new album that’s had the most traction and the most positive response has to be ‘Follow My Heart’. It’s almost always the crowd favorite at shows, and it’s the single that’s being played the most on stations.
IMM – What do the next 6 months look like for you in terms of live performance and tours?
A lot can change in 6 months, but as of right now, my plan is to just keep playing at as many events as I can. Both locally and outside of the state.
IMM – You have played alongside some of the greats in the music industry too! Which experience is most memorable for you and why?
I’ve gotten to open for and sing with some incredible people, such as Larry Gatlin and Little Texas. But my favorite experience was when I got to do a Back To School joint-concert with Taylor Mathews, who was a top 10 finalist on season 5 of America’s Got Talent. We both grew up in the same city, and we got to do a concert with all of the people we’d known and grown up with there, and it was such a fun experience.
IMM – What are the three things that are most important to you when marketing your music?
Three of the most important things about marketing music for me, are being authentic, keeping my fans engaged with what I’m doing, and using my music to create a relationship with my fans.
IMM – What are your thoughts on the music industry today and mental health? We have lost some pretty amazing people this year to suicide and I am curious to hear what the younger generation thinks of this topic and the importance of it in the music industry.
Suicide is a last resort, and I just hate that so many people have been pushed to the edge of feeling like they have nothing left. Life can be hard, andfor some people, the amount of pressure put on them in the music business is so intense that it becomes too much. It’s terrible, and I think I can speak for the rest of my generation that we all agree that it is.
IMM – Are there any charities or organizations you support or which you would like to support?
I currently support an organization called Dysautonomia International, specifically because of my brother. He has a rare disease called Hyperadrenergic POTS, which is an incurable dysautonomic disorder affecting the central nervous system. My hope with supporting Dysautonomia International is that we can raise awareness for this very rare, incurable disease, and to get people to support this cause, along with others. Their website is: dysautonomiainternational.org
IMM – Are there any collaborations in music you are or have been interested in?
I’d love to work with so many people. Such as Taylor Swift, Christina Perri, Tori Kelly, and I’d also love to collaborate with Mike Tompkins.
IMM – What is something a music industry peer has said to you which affected you in a positive way?
I love all of my music industry peers, and we’re constantly sharing tips and advice with each other. Nothing in particular has been said, but something that always affects me positively is when I find those people in the industry I can trust. Because they’re few and far between, unfortunately.
IMM – Have you ever had a negative experience in the music industry? If so, how did you overcome that challenge?
The music industry has been incredibly good to me so far, and for that I’m grateful. But whenever I do come across a bump in the road or someone who it’s just not going well with, I can always overcome it by staying true to myself and trusting the people closest to me.
IMM – Tell us 5 important things you feel are essential when travelling on tour?
First and foremost, taking care of yourself is the most important thing. That doesn’t just mean taking care of voice, which is definitely a major asset you have to protect; it means taking care of yourself as a whole. Get plenty of rest instead of staying out super late, try to eat healthy as much as possible, and make smart decisions. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for what you need.
IMM – Do you see a future for yourself in film being that you have acted in theater?
I definitely see my future in music, not the film industry, but it has always been a dream of mine to act in a movie or series. I love acting, and even though I no longer do theatre, acting will always be a part of me.
IMM – Okay, final question: Can you tell us what the term ‘Success’ means to you?
In my opinion, success is when you accomplish what you set out do; and for me, that means making a difference with what I’m doing. It’s not about fame and money; that’s not what I think of when I think of success. I believe it’s when you’ve played as big a part as you can in making the world a better place.