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Shelby Raye – Spreading the Love Through Her Music

Photo courtesy of Shelby Raye Facebook

Don’t let her size fool you.  Country artist Shelby Raye stands under five feet tall, but she doesn’t let a lack of height get in her way.  This singer/songwriter from Lexington, South Carolina has a lot going on and she can see all of it from right where she stands.

Image courtesy of TownMapsUSA.com

From the age of two, Shelby was destined to be a singer.  Much to her parents’ surprise, she was heard belting out Martina McBride’s “Broken Wings” in the family car.  From there it was school talent competitions, piano and voice lessons and finally she picked up a guitar to start writing her own songs.  What really kick started her desire to get in front of an audience was karaoke at the Dam Bar & Grill in Lexington. Her go-to karaoke song?  “Broken Wings”, that tune she began singing when she was only two.

Since Shelby was still a kid, her mother had to take her in to the Dam Bar & Grill, a local place where a talented artist named J Edwards used to play.  One time, while Shelby was doing her karaoke thing, Edwards heard her and remarked how good he thought she was and asked her to come up and sing with him.  The song was “Wagon Wheel”, which has since become of a sign of good things to come every time Shelby hears it. 

A mentorship was formed between J Edwards and Shelby Raye, as was a family friendship between J Edwards, his wife, Diana and Shelby and her mom.  Shelby says she has learned so much, “everything really,” about songwriting from J and his daughter Cricket Davis (also a singer/songwriter in Nashville).

Now 18 and a recent high school graduate, Shelby still lives in South Carolina,  but she makes semi-regular trips to Nashville to write and play music. She’s been writing with J and Cricket as she normally does, and most recently, Debbie Pascarella and Jordan Barry.  As of right now, Shelby plays most of her gigs in the Southeast and has a strong fan base in that part of the country, but thanks to the power of digital platforms and social media, she also has fans in places like Greece and Czechoslovakia.  For the moment, current fans and music lovers that would like to see Shelby play live can check her tour schedule on Facebook (link listed below).  

Most days she said she thrives on the music industry, but there are days she thinks about giving up.  It’s when people send her messages or come up to her after a show, and tell her that a certain song means so much to them, that giving up goes right off the table.  She remembers why she does this. “If I can help people through my music, that’s what I love.”  

Shelby understands how much music matters.  She lost her mom in October 2018. At only 46-years old her mom suffered a sudden heart attack during one of Shelby’s shows and passed away.  Thankfully, Shelby had the support of her musical family who helped her through, although she still misses her mom and always will.  

Shelby’s most current song, “Can’t Rain Everyday” (Shelby Raye, J Edwards, Cricket Davis) was written before her mom died, but has since become a key means of coping with her untimely passing.  It’s one everyone needs to add to their playlists. A truly well-crafted song and a wonderful introduction to Shelby Raye’s work.  

Writing can be therapeutic, and every artist looks forward to the day they can share new music with their fans.  Shelby is working hard to do just that. She wrote new songs while in Nashville and hopes to have enough to go into the studio soon.  She’s unsure whether her new material will be recorded in South Carolina or in Nashville. “It’s a long process. It will depend on a lot of factors.  I’d love to record in Nashville, but it would depend on how much time I could spend here. Recording takes a toll. It’s a lot of lost sleep. It takes time.  I guess we’ll see when the time comes.”

I wondered if a move to Nashville was in the cards for Shelby.  She said it might be, but definitely not right in the city. “I’m a country girl.  It would have to be on the outskirts. I need space. Green grass. Maybe Mount Juliet, something like that.”  That wouldn’t be uncommon for an artist either. Living directly in the city is not only expensive, it’s good for them to have a place to escape to, out of the fray.  

I asked if there were any particular cities she would like to bring her new music to once she has it out, and she quickly blurted out, “Houston, Texas.”  She has never been to Texas and followed up with, “Austin maybe, too.” So, Texans, go find yourselves Shelby Raye on social media. Introduce yourselves.  She may be coming your way.

It’s a name that pops up again and again, and with good reason.  Ashley McBryde is one hot property these days. If Shelby Raye could have just one wish on who to collaborate with, it would be with Ashley McBryde.  “I love her voice, I love her writing. I love her stage presence.” I can’t disagree with any of that. McBryde has all of that and more going for her.  

Photo courtesy of 90 East Photography and Think Country

I try to come up with a new question as often as I can.  I tried a brand new one out on Shelby. I wrote it right before I visited with her, not sure how it would go over.  It went over exceedingly well, far better than I could have dreamed. I asked her if she could design a new product to be used on stage, anything, gear, stagewear, just something, what would it be?  

She was so excited to answer that question!  “I am so glad you asked me that! It would be dresses with holes cut into them for type-1 diabetes pumps.  They make them now, sort of, but they’re no good. Nothing stays where it’s supposed to. I have to keep readjusting everything.  I would know exactly how to do it.” A type-1 diabetic who needs to use a pump, as shots don’t work for her, I thought that was brilliant.  I’m sure she’s not the only artist that could use this type of stagewear. There must be a fashion designer somewhere that would be willing to consult with her and come up with something.  Shelby said the few dresses designed for this purpose that are now on the market aren’t very fashionable, and who wants to go on stage and look dumpy. You want to look good! Clearly this is something that needs to be done and this is the girl for the job.  Anyone else tries to steal her idea is going to hear from me. She thought of it first right here.  

We had just enough time for some fun.  We did some “lasts”.  

Last book I read:  Islands and Insulin: A Diabetic Sailor’s Memoir

Image courtesy of amazon.com

Last TV show I watched:  Grey’s Anatomy

Last restaurant I ate at:  Maki of Japan in Opry Mills

Last phone app I used:  Snapchat

Last person I wasn’t so nice to but felt bad about it after:  “My dog, who I consider a person. He’s my best friend.”

Photo courtesy of Shelby Raye Facebook

Then we did some quick music questions just for fun.

A female singer with a voice I absolutely love:  Morgane Stapleton

My go-to playlist is called:  Partayyy

A song I can remember hearing when I was little:  “Broken Wings” by Martina McBride

A country song that’s popular right now, but I feel will become timeless is:  Chris Stapleton’s version of “Tennessee Whiskey”

One of the best songwriters ever is:  Chris Stapleton because he’s done so much and written so many songs for so many people.  I feel like he’s underrated just because of that. He’s had success with other bands before he had solo success, not many people even talk about that.  He’s just so good at what he does.

Photo courtesy of 90 East Photography and Think Country

Finally, when Shelby Raye “Thinks Country”, what does she think?  “Country isn’t cowboy boots or riding horses. It’s in your heart.  It’s how you’re raised. It’s who you are. It’s a way of life.”

Photo courtesy of Patti McClintic and Think Country

Shelby Raye can be found:

Instagram:  shelbyrayeofficial

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/ShelbyRayeMusic/

*Featured image courtesy of Shelby Raye

 

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Patti McClintic
I’m Patti. Rock music is my first love. My daughter, who was a country fan as a teenager, dragged me in when I'd drive her to school and we would have radio wars in the car. I'd have on my rock station and she would switch it to the country station. Guess who always won? As they say, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, so I did. patti@thinkcountrymusic.com First it was all modern country, but my parents were big Merle Haggard fans. I went along with them to a Merle Haggard/Phil Vassar show at the local fair and that was it. I was hooked on the Hag. Since that day, I've become a fan of bluegrass and I continue to explore all facets of the country genre. I guess you could say, I'm all in. When I'm not up to my neck in any kind of music, I enjoy genealogy, history, my granddaughters and my addiction, SongPop. I guess it could be worse, right? I'm a Buffalo, New York girl living in a Nashville, Tennessee world, and I'm livin' the dream with my husband, my dog and my two cats.
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