Shirley's : About Song Writing
I try to convey different emotions. Life can't always be happy but Life is not always sad either! You have to have a little bit of both on each album. Each melody is a different journey for me. I start with something personal in my life, then embroider the specific sounds to create the mood."
Even though I do not sing on my album's, I do write lyrics for most of my ballads. Lyrics helps me complete the story & give the melody life and meaning. People love something with heart. All the songs on my albums are the ones I can play forever & love the heart felt stories they tell. That is because the songs mean so much to me personally.
I try to write songs about personal events in my life that either moved me to tears or laughter. Robert Frost once said, "If a story does not make the writer laugh or cry, it will not make anyone else laugh or cry either !" I truly agree ...
HOW THE MUSIC STARTED
Shirley's talent was discovered by accident when her brother injured his hand. Her parents bought him a theater organ to help rebuild the dexterity in his hand. It was during that time Shirley took an interest in music from listening to her brother. Years later, her Mom decided to purchase Shirley her first synthesizer. then four more keyboards followed, enabling her to expand her sounds. From then on, Shirley had all the sounds she ever needed to play her music.
THE EARLY YEARS
Loss of Shirley's Parents
Life dealt Shirley her first tragic blow, at age 16, her Mom became ill and passed away. At age 20, Shirley joined a rock band, called QUEST, and toured the U.S. and the Virgin Islands. Shortly after coming home from the Quest tour, life once again would be unkind.
Shirley lost her major source of inspiration, at age 21, her Dad passed away. He was very supportive of her music and also designed all her keyboard's frames to stack & set up Shirley's keyboards on stage. When he passed, the music died within her. She retired from the music industry and pursued a college degree in accounting finance.
While attending college, a good friend mentioned that the university had a grand piano in the mansion's ballroom at FDU. From that point on, a secret marriage developed between Cason and that baby grand piano. At night, after class, she would go to the ballroom when no one was there and fill that grand ballroom with one spirited soulful song after another. During this time is when she was able to heal her wounded spirit to be able to return to her world of music.
After college, Shirley then went on to build her recording studio, at the lake, and started her own music company, PEACEFUL WORLD MUSIC to record music that was calming to her soul.
THE MIDDLE YEARS
Loss of Shirley's Sister
After recording her first two albums, Forever In Bloom and Simply Christmas, life again would be unkind... her oldest sister Carol passed away. Shirley had to choose between recording another, "calming peaceful album" or "record the truth about what was going on in her life". What a commercial risk to her new company. But being truthful to herself as an artist, Shirley believes that art should reflect the "heart" of the writer. The next album, dedicated to her sister emerged... A Summer Dream recorded from all the tears that her soul could bear... Much to Shirley's surprised, A Summer Dream went on to get high reviews for being so brave to "wear her heart out on her sleeve". From that point on Shirley promised herself to only record music that she felt with all her heart and emotions when she records her music.
After that album, Shirley recorded, Winter Mornings, that received such wonderful CD reviews and letters from fans from all over the world. Shirley knew that recording what moves her emotionally is definitely what people love and enjoyed about her music! The inspiration for every Winter song came during the early winter mornings hours while looking out her recording studio windows.
THE GAP IN TIME
Loss of Shirley's Life friend
Shirley shared, "After I recorded my Winter Mornings CD... I lost my best friend of 25 years to cancer. It was a real blow to my heart. During that time, I kept trying to record another album, but I just couldn't focus. Everything that was I was recording was like "Blue Picasso's paintings". . I just didn't have the strength to record anymore of what I was feeling inside my heart. The pain was too much to bear, too much crying while trying to record the songs..."
NEW MUSIC a few years later ...
Finally the musical gates from Shirley's recording studio were open again... The music was flowing.... and a brighter sounding album, Inner Peace, was born with uplifting music with a story behind it. Enjoy reading the heart's felt story behind Shirley's emotional break through album. Shirley states, "I want to thank everyone for all the wonderful letters & most of all... waiting for a new album. I learned again that... All hearts do heal with time ~:~ "
Following her Inner Peace album, it was decided it would be the right time to release Spa Music Collection, a compilation CD, of the most requested songs from her fans, that are peaceful & relaxing
After the Spa album, Shirley recorded Relaxing Piano Music for a fan that wrote, "Shirley... My deceased father was a fabulous pianist... I miss him terribly. He died when I was sixteen of a massive heart attack. Things have never been the same since in my life. My question is do you have a CD of strictly piano recorded ?" Since Shirley could relate so well from losing both her parents and sister & best friend, this e-mail really inspired her to record an "acoustic piano" version of songs from her previous albums. This album has become one of Shirley's best selling album.
THE 2 EXPERIMENTAL ALBUMS
Shirley explored all the sounds in her keyboards
Peaceful Sunrise - Shirley shares, "I moved my studio to the front of the house & then each day I got up, at Sunrise, just looked out over the lake and then recorded with the sounds on how I thought each Sunrise looked. Since I was just having my first cup of coffee I feel these recordings came from a higher source! ". "I still love getting up now & taking pictures of Sunrises that you can see on my Instagram & Facebook. "
Stories from The Beach - This album has a romance story in it. "Stories from The Beach" is a more upbeat than my other albums. All of the music on this album was recorded "Live in the studio" without any edits, cuts or re-takes. I played all the keyboardist for each sound from start to finish on each song. On the track, "Catching Your Wave", I imagine "Chris Botti" or "Herb Albert" playing the horn parts with me in the studio. This song really has a groove to it! "
Shirley's music influences :
Favorite Album :
Joni Mitchell's COURT and SPARKS album. This is the album I listen to when my personal world needs a sanity check :)
Favorite Singer : Barbra Streisand for her fabulous voice & wonderful music orchestra arrangements.
Favorite Songwriter : Janis Ian for her brilliant song writing & her piano playing on her Columbia records albums. James Taylor for his wonderful story telling in his songs.
Favorite Keyboardist :
Vangelis & Jim Brickman
Favorite Artists :
Georgia O'keeffe and Lucelle Raad