”I WANT YOUR JOB”
Written by Megan Button
FAIRLADY, AUGUST 2012
We chat to Shannon Hope, musician and songwriter who has recently released her new album Fight A New Day.
How did you get into the music industry?
I’ve wanted to be a musician for as long as I can remember, and it was inevitable that it would be my chosen career. A school friend introduced me to a band that was looking for someone to play keyboard and sing backing vocals during my first year at varsity in 1998, and I fronted a rock band very shortly after that. Those bands were a great introduction to the industry and played an important role in preparing me for what I do now.
What was the best show you ever played?
I launched my latest album at The Fugard Theatre in Cape Town in November 2011. It was a dream come true to perform in that space, and a watershed moment for me as a performer.
Where is your favourite venue in SA to perform?
Again, the Fugard Theatre in Cape Town – it’s an exquisite space which perfectly complements what I do.
Beatles or Rolling Stones?
Who are your musical icons?
Nat King Cole, Skin (from Skunk Anansie) and Muse.
Have you ever had fans stalk you?
Yes, but thankfully he turned out to be quite a nice guy…
When can we expect another album?
I’m still promoting my latest album, ‘Fight A New Day’, but I’m hoping to record an acoustic record in the near future. I’ve started writing the next album but I’d like to get some international touring under my belt before I get back into the studio.
What track on your latest album are you most proud of?
The single, ‘Being Brave’, which captures so much about who I’ve become as a result of taking a few more chances than I thought I was capable of taking. It says a lot about the nature of this industry, and the courage and fight that it demands. The version on the album is everything I heard in my head when I first wrote it, and so much more, and that’s where the magic is for me as a songwriter – to create something that exceeds what you intended on various levels.
The lyrics in your songs are very personal. Do you draw from your own experiences when writing lyrics to a song?
Yes, I write from my own experience of life and love and everything in between. I try to do that as honestly as I can without being too protective of my own story, so that I serve the song itself and the listener who connects with it.
What’s a day in the life of a musician really like?
There’s nothing typical about any of my days. Every single day is so different to the next. I’m self-managed, so many of my days are filled with tour management, and some are spent online updating various profiles. I could be driving across the country one day, and performing in towns I’ve never heard of the next. Some days I spend writing, rehearsing or scripting for new shows, and some days are spent in studio. It can be any combination of so many things, which certainly keeps me out of trouble.
What do you love most about your job?
All of it. From studio, to stage, to writing, to jamming, to planning and dreaming about what comes next.
You left your day job to pursue music full-time. Do you have any advice to people who are considering doing the same?
“It’s not brave if you’re not scared.” You only get one chance to live the life you want to live, but all the motivational quotes in the world don’t make it any easier to actually take the chances you need to take, and to keep taking them. You have to be honest with yourself about what you want, and about what you’re willing to sacrifice for it, because we’re capable of more than we think we are.