Monday, October 17, 2011

Pheaturing Shelly Fairchild

Hello, and welcome to another entry of the Phile, everybody. How are you? I am grumpy. Every morning when I work on the Phile I drink a bottle of Starbuck's mocha Frappuccino, except this morning. I have fourteen bottles sitting in the pantry in the kitchen and I didn't put one in the fridge for me to drink. I am out of my routine. Oh, well, I can't blame anybody else but me. What else is going on? Officials in Venezuela have hired 120 mimes to help direct traffic. It’s confusing. You can never tell if the mimes are telling you to stop, or if they’re just trapped in a box. A Papa John’s delivery guy called the cops on a man who was using medical marijuana. Yeah, a pizza guy called the cops on a stoner. It’s all part of Papa John’s new business plan... trying to put themselves out of business. A team of American scientists just traveled to Russia to search for the Abominable Snowman. That's right, a mythical creature who probably doesn’t exist. Or as Republicans call that, “a presidential candidate.” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced that he’s endorsing Mitt Romney for president. It’s good news for Romney. I mean, you always want Chris Christie on your side. Unless you're in a canoe. A new survey found that people in the U.S. will spend a record $50 billion on their pets this year. That's crazy! Fifty billion dollars on pet's. I am so glad we don't have pet's, unless you count my pet rock. A new study found that washing your hands can help you solve problems. Yeah, especially if the problem is, “stuff on hands.” President Obama was in Orlando this past week and had beer with four unemployed construction workers. And Obama asked the guys what was it like to lose their jobs, and they were like, “Oh, you’ll see.” When the check came, Obama was like, “Do you guys want to split this five ways?” Angelina Jolie apparently made a secret trip to Libya, which explains her newest adopted kid, Moammar Gadhafi Pitt Jolie. This is sad, Big Ben is leaning to one side, but they think that it might be able to somehow correct itself. And I thought well, yeah, look at Mitt Romney. He used to lean to the left, now he leans to the right. The Occupy Wall Street protests continued in New York City. Today the protests have been going on for four weeks now. That's longer than most NBC sitcoms last. The CEO of Citigroup said that he can understand why all these Occupy Wall Street protesters are so frustrated. In fact, he felt so bad for them, he gave himself a $10 million sympathy bonus. The White House is apparently pushing to create more Latino-themed landmarks. Now that's in addition to our current Latino-themed landmark, California. The Bronx Zoo has a new Halloween exhibit that features rare bugs and rodents. They're all indigenous to the same exotic location: The dumpster outside a New York Chinese restaurant. I just mentioned the Occupy Wall Street protester's, and I was thinking they really thought hard what to write on their signs. Take this lady for example.

LOL. It looks like she's protesting by herself. Anyway, it's spreading all over, these protester's. The other day "Sesame Street" did a spot about it. Here is a screen shot.

Man, I wish I had a bottle of Starbuck's mocha Frappuccino right now. 

Okay, I feel a little better. Still thirsty though. Alright, from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is this week's...

Top Ten Least Popular Theme Restaurants
10. Snooki's House of Crabs. 
9. The Warren Buffet. 
8. Cheap Plastic Edibles From China. 
7. Anthony's Weiners. 
6. Chuck E. Sheen's. 
5. Red Sox All-You-Can-Eat-Until-You-Collapse Buffet. 
4. Lady Gaga's Recently Worn Meat BBQ. 
3. Michele Bachmann's Let's-Take-The Country-Back-To-Medieval Times. 
2. Rick Perry's Last Meal Bistro.
And the number one least popular theme restaurant is...
1. Chris Christie's All-You-Can-Eat-After-Me Buffet. 

This Mark Rothko-looking blotch of color is the Grand Prismatic Spring, which supposedly gets its colors from bacteria that grow around the water. Since this explanation seems far too simple for something so brilliant, I'll go ahead and assume it's really an alien spacecraft landing site being covered up by the government.

You know, some interviews I do are so-so, and lots of times I never heard of the band or musician before I interview them, but today's interview is different. She is an American music recording artist who signed to Columbia Records in 2004, releasing her debut album "Ride" in early 2005. It produced the single "You Don't Lie Here Anymore", a #35 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks. Her new album "Ruby' Money" is out now available on iTunes and she'll be next appearing tomorrow at The Shrine Bar and Restaurant in New York City. Please welcome to the Phile, the lovely and talented... Shelly Fairchild.

Me: Hello, Shelly, welcome to the Phile. I am very excited that you're here and a bit nervous. How are you?

Shelly: ARE YOU KIDDING!?!!?! I am so happy to be chatting with you! I'm doing fantastic!!!! And... NERVOUS... what do you mean NERVOUS?!?! That's crazy talk. ;-)

Me: I have been a big fan of yours ever since I first heard the single "Tiny Town" and saw your first video. My wife even gave me a hall pass if I ever met you. Anyway, I have been following your career ever since, and am so happy you finally have a new album out. It took awhile, right?

Shelly: Well, LORDDDD YESSS!! It seems like it has taken FOREVER since I've put music out. It kinda has... it's been 6 YEARS!!!! WELL, I sold some EP's out of the trunk of my car in 2007. That counts for a tiny something. Ok, well #1 let me address you being a big fan of mine since "Tiny Town"... THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THHHANKKK YOU! I so loved that little record of mine and I hoped it would reach a whole whole lot of people! It did reach a faithful few and for that I am SUPER grateful! So, thank you for listening and supporting me from the beginning! As for the hall pass... yeah, let me just say... I'm a SINGER/SONGWRITER... SERIOUSLY... RUN!!!!!! .... kidding... NOW... about the NEW RECORD... I am so so so so happy to have this new music out! I hope the world LOVES it as much as I do. It has been a true labor of love and a true collaborative effort... no lie... each of my co-writers, my producer, my band members, friends, family, fans... literally I feel like EVERYONE I've ever met had something to do with this record in some way. It's been an emotional journey over the past few years and I'm ready to get this phase of my musical life OUT TO DA WORRRLLDDDD!!!! SO thanks for askin' about it...

Me: I was surprised and pissed off when I found out that Columbia dropped you, Shelly. Fuck 'em, you are better off. Your first album, which was really good, called "Ride" was one of my favorite albums to come out in 2005, when I was really into country music. Did you want to be a country musician originally, or did you just fall into that?

Shelly: Hey look, Columbia dropped Johnny Cash!!!!!! What more can I say...??!?! I mean, not that I'm comparing myself to Johnny Cash... I'm simply stating a fact that could possibly make one decide that record labels sometimes don't, well... (insert your own thought here). As for me making a country record as my first album... I see it kinda like I was in high school and I graduated to college (which would be the EP phase) and now I'm out in the FREE WORLD!!! So, I def believe this new record is ME... WHOLEHEARTEDLY! 100% where I'm headed... I reserve the right to grow and change and put out whatever kinda of record I'm feeling at the moment... so, who knows what you will hear over the years... I just hope people dig it... ya know??!

Me: Did Columbia give you a good reason to drop you, or was it just a load of bullshit?

Shelly: As for being dropped... there are a few things you gotta know... I mean, I was touring with a 4 piece band at the time and there were ZERO country instruments involved. I used basically a ROCK setup, so everywhere I went people would tell me that it sounded more like rock than country. So, I was already leaning in that direction from the start. So, after a few failed radio singles ("Tiny Town" and "Kiss Me") the label had to evaluate whether or not they really wanted to keep me. They had spent a lot of money on me and I'm sure they were questioning whether or not I was truly a "country" artist. So, we parted ways. It's really all about business at some point. I get that. I must say, at that point, I was ready to move on. I had SOOOO much more to say and be. So, all is well... no hard feelings. Word.

Me: Anyway, like I said, I am glad you have a new album out and a new band. I purchased the new album "Ruby's Money" from iTunes and really enjoyed it. It's a lot different then "Ride" is. Was your goal to break away from the country mold and release a hard rocking soul album?

Shelly: You know what... my goal was just to find ME. Find my voice, what I really really wanted to say and be. It was a musical journey for sure. I have always had soul music in my soul. I have always loved to entertain and rock onstage. I just went with what I thought I did best and how I wanted to be presented to the world... and it translated to songs like "Love Everybody" (first single released to iTunes). I'm sure I will be releasing singles over the next few years... that say what I'm wanting to say, ya know?! I'm super excited that the music world is so OPEN now. I mean, people say that the music biz has gone to shit... I think it's AMAZING that we have so so many opportunities now! I mean, I can control ALL OF ME! Wooohoo!!! Nice...

Me: How would you describe your new music?

Shelly: My new music... to me... is a mix between EARLY Ike and Tina, Sly and the Family Stone, Steven Tyler, and Alicia Keys. It's like "Rock Funkin' Soul Music"...hahaha.

Me: With this album you almost didn't release it under Shelly Fairchild, but under a band name Ruby's Money. Is that to differenate from your country past, or did you plan to form a band?

Shelly: I actually went back and forth on that a bit. I had a band for a while called Shelly Fairchild & The People. After finding a few new members, my bass player came up with this killer name for our band... "Ruby Go Go". THAT name then changed to Ruby's Money. I've now decided to release the record under my name "Shelly Fairchild"... and call the record "Ruby's Money"... yeah. Seems cool to me. Seems full circle. Have I confused you yet??? Ahhahaa....

Me: Who else is in the band with you, Shelly?

Shelly: Well, we play LIVE in a few different configurations... BUT, on the record... we have: Myron Howell on DRUMS, Rob Cureton on BASS, Cade Doyle on GUITAR (electric and acoustic), Kenny Greenberg on GUITAR (electric and acoustic), Philip "Philthy" Lassiter on KEYS and HORN ARRANGER and STRING ARRANGER, Vinnie Ciesielski on TRUMPET, Mike Haynes on TRUMPET, Rahsaan Barber on SAX, Jimmy Bowland on BARI-SAX, Roy Agee on TROMBONE, Randy Cantor on SOME CRAZY STRINGS and PROGRAMMING, Eric Darkin and Branden Newson on PERCUSSION, Chip Davis and myself on BACKGROUND VOCALS. Oh, and Stephony Smith produced the whole thing and also partnered with Philip on string arrangements.

Me: Where was the album recorded and how long did it take to record?

Shelly: The album was recorded in Nashville at a place called LOUD STUDIOS. It really took us about 4 weeks to record all of the tracks and vocals... then we moved to mixing the first half of the record in Los Angeles with the famous Chris Lord-Alge. The second half of the record was mixed in Nashville with my friend, the GREAT Mills Logan. We also mastered in Nashville with my buddy Hank Williams (no...not that one...) All in we probably worked on the record for about 6 months. ;-)

Me: Your first single "Love Everybody" was hand-picked by the fans to be the first single. Did I get that right? How did you decide to let the fan's choose?

Shelly: YES! You are correct sir! I just thought it was important to hear from my friends and fans... like, I had never done that before and I thought it would be super cool to find out what other people thought! You know... what they actually WANTED to hear. That's why I let 'em choose!

Me: I think it's cool when band's and singer's let the fan's help out, and be a part of the whole project. A few times different Phile readers hooked me up with different interviews, so having the fans take part in your career and music is a great idea. Said that, have you had any feedback from your country fan's that wish you would do another countryish album?

Shelly: Well, yes. Most of my fans are going right along with me... and I'm super thankful for that! There are a few people that have expressed their desire to hear me do more country stuff, but mostly people are digging what I'm doing now so it seems to be all good!!

Me: Would you ever do another country album?

Shelly: In the words of the great Justin Beiber..."NEVER SAY NEVER!" hahhahahahah...

Me: There's one song that jumps out from "Ruby's Money" that I have to ask you about, Shelly. "Here's Your Box" is a political song, right? Are you into politics? What is the message behind this song?

Shelly: I learned while I was in cosmetology school to NEVER talk about religion or politics!!! SO... I will keep my political opinions to myself. However, I will say that this song, "Here's Your Box", speaks more to the nature of society's CRAZY way of trying to keep people in boxes. Like, it seems to me that anything new and different is SOOOO SCARY to people. So much so that we have HORRIFIC hate crimes, and discrimination on SOO MANY LEVELS!!!!! I feel like so many leaders (in all different businesses) feel MUCH more comfortable when one just falls right into line and does the very same thing that has ALWAYS been done... never drawing outside of the lines or taking a chance on a new line of thinking. It's quite frightening to me. I think it will be the end of us as a human race if we don't start to respect and honor the gifts and differences in each other.

Me: I have to admit, when I first glanced at the title of said song I thought it said "Here's My Box", and a whole different thought crossed my mind. Anyway, moving on quickly, did you write all the songs on the new album?

Shelly: HAHHAHAHAHAAAHAHAHAHHHAH!!!! Funny... we made jokes (yes those kinds) about that title for hours. YES I did write all of the songs on this record except one. I did a cover of a Mother's Finest song called "Baby Love". I love love love that band and an old drummer of mine actually suggested that we start doing that tune LIVE when I was on the road promoting my country record. So, we worked it up and I've been playing it LIVE since. So, I just couldn't do this record without also recording that song! Other than that one, I co-wrote all of the songs on the record. Stephony Smith (who also produced the record) wrote each of the songs with me and we added a 3rd writer on some of the tunes.

Me: Oh, I didn't get to ask you about the album's name. Where did it come from, and who is Ruby?

Shelly: There IS a bit of a story behind the name, "Ruby's Money". You see, my great grandmother's name was Ruby. She used to be a contractor back in the day that lived a pretty humble existence (meaning... she didn't have much)... and when she passed on... the family found all kinds of money stuffed in her mattresses, purses, holes in walls, etc... to the tune of around $60,000. SO, thus the name "Ruby's Money".

Me: Shelly, you grew up in Mississippi, right? Where do you live now? I am guessing you moved away from Nashville.

Shelly: YES, I grew up in Mississippi. I was born in Jackson, MS. When I was in the 3rd grade we moved to a town called Clinton, MS, and stayed there until I moved to Nashville. I stayed in Nashville for about 10 years and now I'm kinda TRI-COASTAL. I spend about 1/3 of my time in Nashville, 1/3 in Los Angeles, and 1/3 in NYC! That's a new thing for me but I'm enjoying it THOROUGHLY!

Me: What kinda music did you listen to growing up?

Shelly: My daddy always listened to Hank Jr., The Oak Ridge Boys, Chicago, Air Supply, Willy. MY aunt listened to Dolly Parton ALL OF THE TIME!!, and my mama really loved James Taylor, The Beatles, and whatever was super popular on the radio in the 70's. When I got into middle school I was obsessed with listening to Amy Grant and Madonna! HA... I mean, you don't get any more diverse than that, huh? Oh, and then there was high school where I was all about Joplin, Marley, Morrison, Kravitz, Aerosmith, Trisha Yearwood, Garth Brooks, and GOSPEL. College hit and I couldn't get ENOUGH of Joni Mitchell, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Lauren Hill, The Fugees, Eryka Badu, Missy Elliot, Patty Griffin, Jonatha Brooke, The Dixie Chicks. Now I'm allllll about Drake, JayZ, Eminem, Jessi J, Adele, Amy Winehouse, Alicia Keys, Niki Minaj, and SOOOO much more. Seriously... I LOVE MUSIC!!!! ALL KINDS!!!!!

Me: I read that you were into the blues. My dad, was big time into the Blues. Did you have a favorite singer growing up?

Shelly: Well, as for my FAVORITE... I have to say that I can't really answer that question. I mean, being from Mississippi you're kinda born with the blues, but I wasn't super schooled by the blues or anything. I bought my first Mississippi Fred McDowell record when I was in high school along with some Mahalia Jackson, John Lee Hooker, Jimmy Reed, Robert Johnson, and of course Mr. B.B. King. I feel like when you're born in the South, you can't help but have soul. You know, there's just so much in the water. So much in the dirt and clay. A lot of pain... a lot of stuff. It's very hard to explain.

Me: So, Shelly, what's next? Are you planning a tour? Will you be coming down to Florida any time soon? If you play here in Orlando, I am there.

Shelly: WELL... I am hoping to put a string of dates together for SURE! No dates set YET. Stay tuned! And please visit my website ( every now and then to keep up to date on what's goin down in my world. That's where I will post EVERYTHING as it happens.

Me: Thanks so much for being on the Phile, Shelly. 

Shelly: THANK YOU SO MUUUUUUUCHHHHH for having me! I have enjoyed answering your questions! I hope they weren't all TOO F'N LONG WINDED... I get that way a lot. I also use WAY TOO MANY CAPS AND EXCLAMATIONS!!! AND PERIODS!!!! Whatever....

Me: So, will you come back again again? Please say yes. All the best, and keep making music!

Shelly: I will always come back... as long as I'm invited! Thanks again for your support. You have no idea what that means to me. From the bottom of my heart... thank you! ;-)

Well, that about does it for another entry. Thanks to Shelly for a great interview. I really do hope she'll come back onto the Phile again. Speaking of, I will be on vacation, so next weekend they'll be no entries. The Phile will be back on October 30th with the lead singer for the soul band Roxy Roca and then on the 31st, it's Johnny Beauford from the band Bravo, Max! So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

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