Our Women in Music series continues with this spotlight on Shannon Hurley, a singer-songwriter, producer, collaborator and music DIY guru. Hurley was born in South Bend, Indiana but now lives in Los Angeles, California. Her amazing songwriting skills have landed her placements on numerous television series, including The Young & The Restless, 90210, American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance.
Hurley just released her newest solo album Switch It On, which ranges from upbeat pop (“Heartbeat On The Radio”) to straight-up country (“Behind The Clouds”) to retro jazz pop (“Sweet Lovin’ Ways”). She will be launching a Kickstarter campaign on Tuesday for a music video of “Heartbeat on the Radio, which is being done like an old science fiction serial. Says Hurley, “For the last four months I have been trapped in the studio (by my own volition) but now I feel it is time to venture out into the world again. Playing shows always gets me inspired because I love the immediate feedback when performing a new song. It will be fun to get back into that groove.”
She released her first full length album Ready to Wake Up in 2007 after being voted by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the “Top 25 Artists on MySpace” the previous year. In its article on Hurley, Rolling Stone called her music “Something you could see playing in a college dorm room of the girl you’re making a move on.” The album featured tracks produced by Guy Erez and Michael Woodrum, receiving critical acclaim from music blogs like Lyrical Venus and online radio stations like KGRL and SiriusXM Radio, and being picked up for licensing by Muzak, which began playing tracks from it in thousands of stores, malls and restaurants throughout the world.
Her second album California was released independently on her imprint For Lenore Records in July 2011. Hurley produced all but three tracks on California, which featured the singles “California” and “Slow Down,” both produced by Erez. Shannon’s third full-length album The Light was released in February 2014. She had previously released two EPs, a self-titled one in 2003 and Sunrise in 2006.
Along the way, Hurley found time for other projects like the co-creation of “Don’t Call us Tori,” a showcase featuring the best female singer-songwriters in Los Angeles, including such up and coming artists as Kyler England of The Rescues, Kat Parsons, and Marina V, performing as a touring keyboardist for former Disney Channel star Brie Larson and was seen on the Showtime series United States of Tara and the film Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. In addition, she was a featured vocalist on Protoculture’s 2011 track, “Sun Gone Down,” and has since become a sought-after vocalist and songwriter in the Trance (music genre) community. She has collaborated with trance producers such as Giuseppe Ottaviani, Ronski Speed and Alex M.O.R.P.H.
Even when writing, Hurley found time to perform live and tour with Russian-born singer songwriter Marina V and was featured on her albums Live at Soundmoves, Modern Fairytale and My Star. In 2008, Hurley also decided to submit tracks from Ready To Wake Up to the music sampling and remixing site CCmixter, inviting fans to cut up pieces of her songs and remix them. She received hundreds of entries, the best of which were released as the album Second Light: The Ready To Wake Up Remixes.
Hurley and Eisen took a break from Los Angeles and moved to Nashville, Tennessee in April 2009. While working on songs for her follow-up album, she responded to an ad on Craigslist which had been posted by local producer Bryan Talbot, who was looking for a pop songwriter with songs with which he could add electronic and ambient beats. Inspired by the overwhelming response to her remix contest, Hurley took him up on the project, which became the band Lovers and Poets, and featured the production efforts of Talbot and Hurley, Eisen’s bass lines and Hurley’s pop songs. Although Hurley and Talbot eventually parted ways over creative differences, the project continued with just Hurley and Eisen. They released their self-titled debut album in August 2010. The album received critical praise from blog sites like We All Want Someone To Shout For and Keeping An Ear Out. In addition, several tracks from the album were featured on the ACE Broadcasting Network podcast The Film Vault in October 2010.
After spending three months as a lounge performer at the Park Hyatt in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam from December 2009 to March 2010, where she performed six nights a week to packed audiences. she watched the devastation of the earthquake that ravaged Haiti in January 2010, and decided to team up with her musician friends all over the world. Together they created Songs For Haiti, a compilation of songs of hope, with all proceeds going to OXFAM America, a non-profit organization dedicated to ending poverty and aiding in disaster relief. Songs For Haiti featured many well-known artists, such as Peter Murphy, Leigh Nash and Jenni Alpert.
After moving back to Los Angeles in April 2010, Hurley and Eisen began work on the second Lovers and Poets album, and Hurley’s own fourth solo album. An early single from the new album called “Beg Steal Borrow” was used in the web soap opera Venice: The Series in November 2010. Hurley summed it up best: “I am writing a new Lovers and Poets album with Ben. Right now we are just collecting ideas and making playlists of songs from other artists to get the juices flowing. Eventually we’ll have an idea of what shape the album will take. We’re going to let it happen organically, but right now I can tell you it will be a bit more experimental than the previous album.”
For more information on Hurley, check out her Facebook page, follow her on Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest, and subscribe to her YouTube and SoundCloud channels.