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Meet Shelby (SHELBYY) Strickfaden of SAS Recordings in Manhattan Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shelby (SHELBYY) Strickfaden.

Shelby, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
It all starts in a quiet beach town. Growing up by the ocean, I was heavily influenced by the water and beach culture. At home, I watched my mom paint, and I’d want to get messy and create art just like her. She would set me and my brother up at the kitchen table with all sorts of crafts to keep out curious tiny hands busy. Ever since I could speak, I was constantly humming, singing, babbling nonsensical noise, but it wasn’t until late elementary school where I would pick up an instrument.

My musical journey started when I picked up a guitar in 8th grade, and started piano lessons. At a very young age, I always liked creative writing and found myself to be quite good at it. But it wasn’t until middle school when I had finally had a good grasp at guitar and piano when I started to write songs before I even knew songwriting was a thing. I just combined my two favorite parts of myself; music and creative writing.

My freshman year of high school was when I actually started to take songwriting seriously after attending a Songwriting 101 seminar taught by a senior. I played the seminar class a song I had written and the first I ever finished that resembled a generic pop structure, and I was amazed by all the positive feedback and praise I got from everyone in the class. For the first time, I started gaining confidence in my ability and decided I wanted to learn more about songwriting.

When my mom told me about Idyllwild Arts Academy, initially I rejected the idea. But my opinion changed after she explained it to me. There was a two-week songwriting intensive program over the summer that acted like a summer school sleep away camp for the arts. Little did I know those two weeks would change my life. I loved every second of it. I learned more about the fine details about songwriting, the creative process, the music industry, copyrights, song structures, and types and even got to collaborate with the other songwriters there and write new original songs with them!

We learned about recording music and equipment, and had two performances to showcase our new original music. I made life long friends and loved the instructors and the camp, so I did it all over again the following summer. Idyllwild really helped me solidify my love and passion for songwriting. So much so that I am now attending Belmont University as a Songwriting major and am pursuing a life long career in the music industry.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Growing as a songwriter has its ups and downs. I’ve had to really hone in on my craft in the last two-three years trying to solidify my own unique sound instead of trying to be a carbon copy of an existing artist I look up to or am inspired by. Being myself has never been easier today than it ever was before, mainly because I moved across the country to Belmont University in Nashville, TN for college. The change allowed me to branch out of my comfort zone, and grow as an artist, songwriter, and individual.

I had a harder time in high school because the programs I was involved in were looking for a certain type of person and talent to be an influential member in those departments. I was involved in drama and choir, but as an indie-pop songwriter, I wasn’t exactly the quintessential powerhouse or classically trained vocalist, like many of the choral and theatre kids were. I liked to sing, write, dance and act, but I was nowhere close to wanting to pursue careers in professional choirs, opera, or Broadway.

I kind of floated through, with minimal involvement in both departments, while mainly focusing on my own thing that I loved most; songwriting. Sure, it was hard to be an outsider in a world of creative people that I looked up to, but never truly cared about me or understood what I did as a songwriter. Towards the end of my four years, I didn’t care anymore. I embraced the fact that I was never going to be like them came to terms with that and found more confidence in myself being more individualistic.

Please tell us about SAS Recordings.
I’m an independent singer-songwriter, which means I am not currently signed to any major label/record company. I write my own music and work with producers to help bring my acoustic songs to life. My strong suit is my lyric and melody writing. I rely on my ears to guide me to what sounds best when I am writing or mixing my music.

I’m a very visual person, imaginatively and musically. I love listening to music, finding where different sounds and beats are located to keep the listener engaged. I am unapologetically myself. I am proud of my music that I make and am confident when saying so. I was not able to say that a few years ago. I am not perfect, I am still growing, and I love what I do with my whole heart.

The Songwriting program at Belmont University has helped me evolve as a songwriter, providing so many opportunities to collaborate with other artists. My professors critique and provide feedback to my work, allowing me to hone in on my sound. Many of them are working professionals in the music industry and are in tune to the latest music scene. They are very excited about my newest single “Childish” that just released on all music platforms January 8th of this year (2019).

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I wouldn’t change much. Maybe pick up the instruments I played now a few years earlier and started vocal training younger. I was very shy with my music and would rarely play for people because I was nervous or anxious in front of strangers. Looking back, I wish I had performed publicly a bit more and become more comfortable on stage.

  • Buy my new single “Childish” on iTunes for $1.29

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