Having hit the ground running after winning Songwriter of The Year at Telstra Road to Discovery, Perth acoustic folk artist, Helen Shanahan has announced the release of her new single, Across The Sea (June 12) lifted from her third EP, Finding Gold, set for release on July 3. The story telling performer will celebrate her new releases with shows at Mojo’s in Fremantle on July 9, The Newsagency in Sydney on July 14 and The Spotted Mallard in Melbourne on July 17. Helen took some time out to answer a short Q&A for us.
What was your first gig?
My first gig was at an open mic night at a bar in Perth called ‘Mojos’. I remember clutching my guitar for dear life and mumbling incoherently before each song! I was a bundle of nerves, but it sparked my desire to keep playing and keep getting my music heard!
What microphone do you use on stage generally?
Generally I use a Shure SM58 for gigs where I provide my own PA.
Is it the same for recording?
For my own demo recordings I just use the same mic. In the studio, I trust whatever the sound engineer has for me!
What’s your latest recording and when will you be back in the studio?
My latest recording is an EP titled ‘Finding Gold’, set for release on July 3rd. I recorded it in Melbourne in September last year, with producer Pip Norman (AKA countbounce). He was amazing and it was great to work with someone with such a creative mind! I’m currently writing songs for my next recording, I think I’ll be back in the studio in early 2016!
What gigs have you been playing lately?
Lately I’ve been playing a few gigs with my band to try and test run the songs from my new EP. We played a few gigs in April to showcase the new EP tracks, firstly at one of my favourite Perth venues ‘The Ellington Jazz Club’. The band and I also traveled to Melbourne to play at ‘The Toff in Town’, which was a beautiful venue! I also recently played at the ‘State of the Art’ festival here in Perth, which was a great celebration of WA music.
Most memorable gig?
The most memorable gig for me was probably when I was asked by one of my favourite singer/songwriters Clare Bowditch to sing a duet with her on stage! However I don’t actually remember much as I was so star struck! Although it will definitely go down as one of my most favourite moments on stage.
Worst stage nightmare?
The worst stage nightmare for me, is having either my strings snap in my face (it has happened before) or my capo snapping mid – song (this has also happened before). I learnt my lesson from this by always carrying spares of everything to prevent such horrific things occurring again!
Album that changed your life?
One of the albums that changed my life, was definitely Missy Higgins ‘The Sound of White’. That album inspired me to pursue my passion for singing and songwriting, and her music is a great influence on my own.
What gigs are coming up in the next few months?
My next few gigs will be in support of my new EP ‘Finding Gold’. I’m playing the following shows:
9th July: Mojos Bar Fremantle, WA
14th July: The Newsagency, NSW
17th July: The Spotted Mallard, VIC
A vocal tip for the kids?
I would make sure that you drink plenty of water, get enough sleep and warm up your voice before any performance. Take care of your voice as it’s not like a guitar string that can be replaced if it’s worn out.