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MP3 Laura Shay - Bittersweet

Acoustic, piano and guitar based singer/songwriter with honest lyrics, a sultry voice, and a gamut of emotions through music.

14 MP3 Songs in this album (60:45) !
Related styles: EASY LISTENING: Adult contemporary, FOLK: Alternative Folk

People who are interested in Alanis Morissette Tori Amos Natalie Merchant should consider this download.

Laura Shay Bio

Often in life, the most beautiful things spring forth from the tension-- and ultimate blending-- of opposites. For Philadelphia native Laura Shay, her new album,
Bittersweet, encompasses just that: walking the fine line between love and loss, dark and light, dreams and reality. Passionate and introspective in her craft, Shay explains, “I''m a singer/songwriter, but I color outside the lines if I want.”

With the October 2008 release of Bittersweet, her third album, Laura Shay has come into her own with a new level of confidence that has translated into a new level of candor in her songwriting and of freedom in her delivery of the fourteen songs on the album. “I''m definitely writing what I want right now. This album is pure me. No one else was involved in the thought process behind these songs. I didn''t worry that there aren''t enough "upbeat" tunes on this, and I didn''t worry that some of the songs are six minutes long,” Shay says. With the same kind vulnerability and openness reminiscent of some of her musical influences, Shay credits Tori Amos and Stevie Nicks as “two of the most powerful people I’ve ever seen on stage. The minute I heard Tori Amos, I knew that''s what music was supposed to be-- raw emotion through song. I''m a big Ryan Adams fan, too. The man blinks songs. He''s a wonderful songwriter.” Of her own creative process, Shay’s describes her songs as her own raw reactions to stimuli around her. “I just let the music play me, and I follow. It''s weird hearing the songs back after they''re recorded because I''m separated from them at that point, and I can really listen and analyze what I''m saying lyrically, and it''s surreal. I never know what the song is really about until after the fact.”

While Laura Shay has been aware of the invisible, but very real, pressure of the music industry to fit into a certain mold, she has actively chosen both to live her own life and create her music on her own terms. “Sometimes, I feel like I should write what people want to hear, and I can''t. I''d be faking the orgasm,” she emphasizes. Still in her mid-twenties, Shay had earned a BA and MA from West Chester University in Communication Studies by age 23, and is currently working on a Master''s Degree in Speech-Language Pathology with La Salle University, while working full time in the healthcare field. “I feel like I''m not quite in the scene and in the niche as much as some other folks, but at the same time, I don''t fully commit to this life because I have about three others lives I''m simultaneously living,” Shay explains, aware of the subtle criticism she’s received for not pursuing music solely full-time. But, her perspective remains on the bigger picture and on the life she’s creating for herself. Beautifully balancing the seemingly opposite worlds, Shay finds both stability and inspiration in the space in between. “I’m happy straddling the line between "real life" and "professional musician." It''s a hell of a lot of work, but I think long-term.”

Recorded at Turtle Studios in Old City in Philadelphia, PA, Bittersweet, was engineered and co-produced by Jeff Hiatt, whose input was instrumental in aiding Laura Shay in bringing her songs to life, while remaining true to her original vision. “He is a pretty solid person to work with, and I need that because my emotions can run rampant.” Shay’s bandmates, Dominic Cole (guitar), Andy McGowan (bass) and Michael Litt (drums) all contributed valuable parts to the making of Bittersweet. “They know me very well, and they know me musically. They respect that I had certain ideas of where songs should go, but they also bring their own interpretations to the table and we sort it out. It’s a good relationship,” Shay muses. Other notable local Philadelphia musicians contributed for specific instrumentation that Shay knew would add to the fullness of the sound of the album. These included: Andy Keenan (electric/pedal steel), Krista Nielsen (cello), Nate Gonzales (accordion), Hoagy Wing (percussion), and Patrick Hughes (trumpet). Andrew Lipke, Todd Barneson and Pittsburgh musician Bill Deasy added vocal harmony parts.

When performing live, Laura Shay remains focused on the musical conversation that she is sharing with the audience. “It’s all about feeling something,” she begins before explaining a particular extra touch of authenticity she adds to her performances. “And my shoes have to be off. Because I get so nervous, playing barefoot makes me feel like I''m home at the piano in the living room. It''s not a gimmick. It''s me trying to feel at home on the stage.” In bringing together the wide array of emotions and experiences that fill her life and distilling them into her music, Shay has created a collection of songs that clearly define her and her sound. In Sound of the Rain, she proclaims: I am dirty, I am clean / I am strong and I am weak / I am bound and I am free / I believe what I don’t see / I am lovely, I am mean / I want war and I want peace / I am bitter, I am sweet . . . Indeed, Laura Shay is all of this and more.

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