We met up with one of our favorite folk artists, Marty Shannon, to chat about being a singer / songwriter, finding inspiration, dream collaborations, and a new project he is working on.
The LA-based soulful singer has recently released his third studio album “Twenty Six Hundred”, with the help of Kenny Carkeet from AWOL Nation, and the legendary lead singer of Eve6, Max Collins, and we have it on heavy-rotation. “Twenty Six Hundred”, is one of those very rare recordings that is literally without a bad song. Shannon’s hypnotic voice and masterful songwriting are both in fine form, with songs that span a range of emotion from haunting to hopeful.
Check out our chat with Marty and download “Twenty Six Hundred”, here.
1. What inspired you to want to write music and sing? Girls. At least that’s originally how this all started. I was the cliche teenager just WAITING for someone to ask me to get the guitar out at a party. But it quickly became something way bigger and way more important to me than being a mediocre singer with sexual ambitions. Being a musician capable of writing something that punches you in the gut is as close to having superpowers as a person can get. Why people feel the way they feel and how they feel the way they feel has always been extremely fascinating to me, and to be able to make someone feel is all I’m ever trying to achieve. I write for people going through something. Even in my sillier, more up-tempo songs, I’m trying to communicate with the listener; “look, I’ve been through this too. See?” If the guys and gals that listen to my stuff can find some solace in knowing that I’ve been through it too, whether that’s being broken hearted or just hungover – and maybe I’m able to articulate it in a way that helps, then my career has all the meaning I need it to. Sorry, what was the question?
2. If you could work with any artist – who would it be? I know this is a cop-out, but I wouldn’t be able to name just one. Especially since I love working with everyone I can. Of course there’s John Mayer, Jason Mraz, Sturgil Simpson, Dallas Green, Ray Lamontagne, and a thousand others, but I just want to work with anyone passionate and willing to make good stuff. I’ll help you throw rocks at the moon if you are passionate about it and can convince me its a worthy endeavor. Also, I’m easily convinced.
3. What helps you with your writing process? I like to talk it out first. Say what I’m feeling as a long-form sentence. Make it a really strong and heavy hitting couple of lines, and then try and mold that into the structure of a verse or chorus. I also like to be specific. If I’m sad, I don’t say “I’m a sad boy and am sad.” One, because that sounds like something a killer would say, and two because it’s way too broad to give you anything. The language is boring and vague and falls flat. Instead, I like to talk about what being sad makes me do or feel. Do I sit on the couch? Forget my exit cause I can’t stop thinking about what is making me sad? Gain weight? There’s a thousand things people do as a result of any emotion, and that’s what I like to put the spotlight on.
4. Are there any upcoming projects you can share with us? Other than being a sad boy who is sad? Funny you should ask! I’m working on a new album as I answer these questions! It doesn’t have a title or a release date, but I’m doing all the voodoo I can to make it available by middle of next year, if not sooner. Just keep up with me on the socials and I’ll fill ya in! Also I’m building this sweet bookshelf. You can see all of my sweet woodworking on Instagram or, if I invite you over, inside of my house.