Featured Artist

Collen Shanley Colleen

This could be titled: “An Unlikely Success Story”. Between family life and the outrageous costs of running a musical empire Colleen has not only survived but succeeded as well. There is one very simple reason for this: sheer irrefutable talent. As a writer she is far removed from any formulas that seem to exist in the music business. She explains this phenomenon: “I avoided the idea of thinking I was influenced by anybody. Casey [her husband and musical partner] and I would argue over it. He would say: ‘Colleen, you have to listen to other people.’ I was bound and determined not to let anyone influence me. I guess I still operate that way because I’ve always taken my own path. If anyone has influenced me at all I would have to say it’s been Casey.”

For this reason their music cannot be pegged into any one category. It is also refreshing to listen to an artist who at the first note you don’t say: “She sounds like…” Colleen sings with a passion that is not only apparent, it’s believable. She changes genres effortlessly, and brings her distinctive vocal quality to each song.

One huge obstacle is not being able to tour extensively to support their albums. Being dedicated to family life have kept them close to home. All the more reason to admire the success they have built together. “It’s been difficult to keep a band together, trying to find the right people who were also talented.” This also makes radio air play hard to come by. “If you’re not touring they might play your album a couple of times because you’re not ‘promoting’ it.” This factor has made finding artists that want to play original material scarce. “It takes a great deal of work to do original material. We were finding players that just wanted to show up at the gigs and that’s it.” Even with these monumental impediments they have produced two outstanding albums, with exceedingly competent players.

While she does admit that she would love to go on the road, she has no regrets over the choices she has made musically. She embodies the main element that is missing in much of the music on the market: she plays out of passion and enjoyment. There is no grandiose plan beyond producing pure, honest music. Whether this was a carefully devised strategy, or simply the way life turned out the result is something extraordinary.

Article written by: Leslie Sallee
Leslie Sallee is a former audio engineer and is currently trying to figure out what to do with the rest of her life.

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Colleen Shanley
Colleen Shanley and Casey O'Neal