Shannon Hurley: happiness is a warm song
I know this is a music blog, but before we talk about the american artist Shannon Hurley, we need to highlight the human person called Shannon Hurley. That’s because, unlike many (fabricated) artists out there, Shannon is a woman faithful to her feelings, and more than that, faithful to what she really wants to express, be it the loss of her pet, or a health condition that took her by surprise.
The most difficult thing for me that happened during the pandemic was the loss of our cat, Donut, who passed away in 2021.
“Happiness”, Shannon Hurley’s first full album in five years, was written-recorded during the pandemic, and ended up serving as a kind of catalyst for all these diverse emotions, as Shannon herself declares: “I feel like I pretty much got out the emotions I needed to on this album”. The curious thing, or perhaps the result of all the magic that Shannon delivers in her compositions, is that despite writing about themes like loss, “Happiness” sounds like a breeze of relief over an ocean of anxiety.
Containing only 9 tracks, “Happiness” is a beautiful and comprehensive demonstration of the artist’s versatility, who transits through indie-folk influences such as Aimee Mann, in addition to bringing versions of classics by Kim Carnes and …. yup, even Oasis. “I randomly put on a Brit Pop playlist a few months back, and “Stop Crying Your Heart Out” was on it, and I felt this beautiful sadness wash over me when I heard it“, Shannon recalls * watch her version bellow.
More about Shannon Hurley:
Shannon has released 5 solo albums and 2 albums with the electronic duo Lovers & Poets (with her husband Ben Eisen). She is currently putting out digital singles both solo and with Lovers & Poets. Shannon also toured the U.S. as a keyboard player for the future Captain Marvel – Brie Larson (who, by the way, also sings perfectly on the “Scott Pilgrim” soundtrack along with the band Metric).
2 5 Things about Shannon Hurley
RC – Hi Shannon, how are you? Feeling happy lately?
SH – Hi Marcos, thank you for interviewing me! Yes, I am feeling extreme gratitude and happiness right now. I am learning to take it easy and not push as hard as I did in the past, and that is really working for me.
RC – On your album, you present a cathartic and therapeutic version of a band we all follow, Oasis. Tell us the importance of “Stop Crying Your Heart Out” to you and the production process of this album.
SH – I randomly put on a Brit Pop playlist a few months back, and “Stop Crying Your Heart Out” was on it, and I felt this beautiful sadness wash over me when I heard it. I posted the video on Facebook and then two of my friends commented on it, as it had resonated with them too. I thought, we should all cover it, seeing as we all felt connected to it. I laid down the piano and vocals, then sent it to each of them in their respective states, and they laid down their tracks and I mixed it all together. It was the easiest song I ever recorded! It was only later that I found out that Liam Gallagher of Oasis was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditus these last couple of years, a condition I currently have, so now I feel even more connected with the song somehow.
RC – Despite the name, “Happiness” is an album developed in the midst of very difficult moments in your life and at the same time in the pandemic period. Listening to the tracks again today, what can you say you learned from writing these songs? Feeling much better now?
SH – Yes, I feel like I pretty much got out the emotions I needed to on this album. The most difficult thing for me that happened during the pandemic was the loss of our cat, Donut, who passed away in 2021. I wrote “Goodbye, Baby” for her, as a way for me to both grieve her and give myself permission to be happy again. Eventually we adopted a new cat, Simone, and she is bringing us so much joy.
RC – You have a history with electronic music, however, “Happiness” brings diverse references, not only Oasis, but Carole King, 10,000 Maniacs, to The Carpenters. We also have a beautiful version of “Bette Davis Eyes” an 80’s classic. Tell us a little about your musical background and why you chose this Kim Carnes cover.
SH – I am an 80s fanatic and I feel like this song can be covered in so many ways. I just sat down at the piano at that version just kind of rolled out. What’s funny is if you listen to the original Jackie De Shannon version, it sounds nothing like the Kim Carnes version, so there’s a huge spectrum and the song is incredibly versatile, and that is fascinating to me.
RC – Speaking of Kim Carnes, what’s your opinion about Kate Bush’s recent rescue in “Running up That Hill”? Do you think that the young audience is more apt to find songs like this and “Bette Davis Eyes” that marked (our) time?
SH – I LOVE Kate Bush and I am so proud that a new generation is discovering her genius. I hope the Duffer Brothers continue to use great 80s songs for Stranger Things because that music never goes out of style.
Happiness is available on all platforms.
And now, you tell me: what did you think about Shannon’s work?