Canadian Music Network Magazine
12 “Hit Picks”
How Do I Get Outta This Dream
This New Brunswick native began singing at a tender young age and has since endeared herself to Canadian country music fans by performing across the country. Her latest single is a rockin’ track that reminds listeners of how much fun country music can be. Solid guitar and drumming back Myers’ strong and unique vocals. She sounds like no-one else, and yet you can still hear the Nashville influence in her voice. Country listeners are challenged to listen to this song without feeling the urge to do a two-step.
On The Inside Track
Shirley Myers – Feature
Country Music News
The headlines and the spotlights for the current crop of ladies in Canadian country music have been monopolized by Shania, Terri and Michelle, and now Carolyn Dawn, with a boiling pot filled with dozens of ‘bubbling under’ female artists. There is no question that the female talent pool in Canadian country music is at it’s all time highest and most productive. Just to keep your name amongst the dozens of ladies vying for success requires enormous energy and dedication. It also helps if you have some special talent to offer.
Shirley Myers has all of that, and lots more. Perhaps the most ‘complete’ artist on the Canadian country female scene. The Moncton, New Brunswick native is a natural singer (her dad, Gerry Myers, was part of the famous N.B. group The Bunkhouse Boys, her sister Debbie Myers scored with several national chart hits in Canada during the mid 80s). She is also a gifted songwriter having written or co-written many of her songs, and she supports her voice and songs by being one of the most talented female musicians on stage today. Shirley Myers plays guitar, bass, keyboards, banjo, lap steel and drums, and more ~ she’ll soon add her saxophone talents to the show.
Shirley Myers, The Entertainer
Shirley Myers is Canada’s answer to Barbara Mandrel – an on stage dynamo, capable of mesmerizing her audience with song, her music talents, and the most important ingredient of all, showmanship. She is, after all, an ‘entertainer’ which is several rungs higher on the ladder than being a ‘singer of songs’.
Still, with all that going for her, it remains a constant struggle to break the ‘magic circle’, an invisible barrier that goes with being a major label artist. Shirley Myers remains an independent artist, without the trappings and promotion hype that major label acts are supported with.
But, she’s a damn good ‘independent artist’!
Manager Peter Leggett of the Nashville-based Leggett Music Group puts the situation into perspective.
“You know, we’ve worked our butts off collectively to attract that ‘major label’ support, and I’ve had several labels show interest, but there’s always been a stumbling block. To be honest, with all the downsizing we see happening at the major label level these days, it may be to our advantage to stick it out at the independent level. We have complete control over our destiny, and that’s a better position than to one day, without warning, get pink slipped and left looking for another major to sign you or worse yet, have to start from scratch. I kind of like where we’re sitting today. And so does Shirley.
Music Career has Been a Lifelong Ambition
One thing for certain, Shirley Myers has paid her dues. She’s done everything for her career, and for the Canadian music industry. She deserves a better fate than just being one of the girls in that ‘melting pot’ of talent. If you are judges by talent alone, Shirley Myers is a star.
If there’s a good side to the career frustrations that Shirley has faced, it is that she has never become bitter. She has never lost the smile. She’s a trouper.
“Hey, I’ve got nothing to gripe about”, says Shirley. “Since I was 3 years old, the only thing I ever wanted to do was entertain. So here I am, still entertaining. And it’s still fun!”
Shirley tells a wonderful story of her first experience as a ‘drummer’. “I was about 9 years old. I borrowed Mom’s Tupperware, some pots and pans, and a cardboard box, and made myself my first drum set. I used tree branches for sticks, and I played inside an aluminum garden shed in the backyard. On my 15th birthday, I was still at it. My uncle came in from Trenton, Ontario with a special gift. He brought me a professional drum kit. Oh boy, I was so happy, I cried on my birthday!”
And The Hits Just Keep on Coming
Of course, the road to stardom has shown some pretty amazing results, even as an independent. Shirley has two hit-filled albums to her credit, the 1997 Let it Rain CD and a follow-up 1999 There Will Come A Day album both released on Stony Plain Records, one of Canadas top Indie labels. Shirley has had a constant presence on national radio and hit carts with an impressive string of hit singles including Let it Rain, One Last Step, Haven’t You Heard, I’m Missin’ You, the #1 smash, Real True Love, and the current success Do You Love Me.
The run of hits has led to a Rising Star nomination in the 1999 Canadian Country Music Awards as well as several Independent Artist nominations. Again this year Shirley is nominated for Independent Female Artist, and her song Real True Love, co-written with long-time partner Rod Nicholson, is up for Independent Song of the Year honours.
“Rod and I have been a team for some time now, and we are comfortable working together”, says Shirley. “Rod has just put finishing touches on his own home studio – he’s named it MackTrax, and we’ll be cutting a lot of our upcoming projects there. He’s also inviting anyone from Canada to droop by while in Nashville. Call him at (615) 584-3129. Drop in and cut your demos. There, I just gave him a plug to keep him happy”, chuckles Shirley.
New Projects Include “Legends Duets”
Album Shirley has several projects underway. There’s a “Duets” album featuring some of country’s legends, including tunes with Billy Walker, Ferlin Husky, Johnny Lee, Mickey Gilley, Gene Watson, Ray Griff and several others to be confirmed. “I’m also working on songs for a new solo album” says Shirley, “and we’re forever tweaking parts of live show. So there’s never a dull moment”.
Shirley also has an album of French songs recorded, which will be marketed in Canada for her live Francophone audiences. “That was quite difficult to do properly. I am fluently bilingual, but translating some of my songs into French requires a special touch, as the terminology differs. I had a friend, Roland Bryar, in Moncton who helped me get the songs translated correctly without losing the meaning. It’s harder than you might think, as rhyming and meaning can get lost in the translation, if you know what I mean”.
While in Moncton recently, she taped a segment of a new French language TV series, hosted by popular Quebec country singer Patrick Norman, and she also taped a French language TV special, Un Air Du Famille, shot in Regina by CBC-TV which aired nationally in the spring.
Shirley is also constantly on the road working show dates in Canada and the U.S. She recently came off a tour of U.S. military bases, something that has become an annual trip for her.
“The one thing I’m looking forward to again, is our return to Australia. It’s such a beautiful, almost tropical, country. We were there last year for the Tamworth Country Music Festival. Boy, that was really something. They just closed all the streets in downtown, and had music on every corner. Our Country Music Week in Canada could learn something from the Tamworth people”.
Shirley will be returning to Australia in October for shows in Brisbane and Sydney. She will also be returning to the Tamworth Festival next January. Her music is being well received in Australia and manager Leggett has an Australian record label deal in the works for Shirley.
“We’re looking at the Australia opportunity as optimistically as we are with anything happening stateside or in Canada”, says Peter Leggett.
“You know, right now, in America, there’s just not a lot of passion being shown towards country music, from either the record labels or radio. The industry here seems more concerned with demographics, they are force feeding the marketplace. There’s a trend to market young kids to an adult consumer. They should let real artists create the music.
To be honest, right now, I’m hearing a lot better music coming from independent artists, and not from the mainstream people who are cloning themselves into obscurity. The really sad part is that they are scaring off the true country music fan, and maybe even creating permanent damage to the country music industry itself. Time will tell”.
While the industry at large is spinning its wheels, Shirley is moving fast-forward. With the new recording projects underway, a calendar filled with special show dates, tours overseas, it all remains a very hectic lifestyle for Shirley. In fact, so hectic, her upcoming single, You Left Me, was written from a true-life experience that mirrored the frantic pace of an entertainer. Shirley relates the story best.
“We had just finished a show in Nashville, and the band and I were driving non-stop to Alberta for some shows there. I was exhausted and was catching some sleep in the van we were travelling in. Somewhere in North Dakota, the boys stopped for a breakfast break, but nobody wanted to wake me. While they were in the restaurant, I did wake up and found I was all alone in a van, in a parking lot, in the middle of North Dakota. The first words I uttered were ‘you left me’. It dawned on me that was a neat idea for a song, by the time the boys got back in the van I was singing the chorus to the song. By the time we reached the Canadian border, I had the song finished”.
Sometimes, it’s just better to be ‘independent’.
Shirley Myers Down Under:
Moncton native showcases her talent at huge Australian country music festival
By Julie Clinton
Times & Transcript Saturday, January 13, 2001
Country music artist Shirley Myers is a vivacious person – she projects an air of excitement and happiness that can be felt even during a phone call all the way from her home in Nashville, Tenn.
Then again, what musician wouldn’t be thrilled at the prospect of broadening their fan base in another country? As her fame in North America continues to grow, strengthened by the success of her two CDs, the Moncton native is broadening her horizons – all the way to Australia. She leaves today to take part in the Tamworth Country Music Festival which runs Jan.19-28.
“I’m kind of like the new artist on the scene in Australia so it’s pretty exciting,” she said. “I’m looking forward to it because I’ve never been to Australia.” “I’m a little nervous about the 14-hour flight,” she added. Tamworth is a city in New South Wales with a population of more than 30,000 and is known as Australia’s equivalent of Nashville. Likely because the festival is similar to Fan Fair, an annual week-long country music festival of live performances in Nashville where fans can meet artists for autographs and photos and see live performances. The Tamworth festival and awards is so big, Myers heard the city’s hotels are booked two years ahead of time to accommodate the some 50,000 people expected.
In addition to a showcase performance, she’ll be putting on shows Jan. 19, 20, 25, 26 and at the festival awards show; taking part in a celebrity golf tournament and doing numerous radio and television interviews. With such a busy schedule, Myers is still optimistic she’ll be able to have a little fun aside from work. “I’m looking forward to holding a Koala bear,” she said, adding “I’m hoping in the two weeks to see the beach, do some shopping and go to Sydney. We’re going to be really busy.”
The opportunity to travel half-way around the world came about after she signed a record deal with Stallion Records, an Australian company. “I did a show last summer at the Calgary Stampede and the owner of the label happened to be there and approved us to sign to his label,” Myers explained. “I thought it’d be a good experience to market to a new country.”
She has since released her first single there called I’m Missing You, which is from her second album and Australian television has also started playing her video for the song. “It’s the number one most added single to all radio stations in Australia and has done this kind of crossing to the pop market as well, which is pretty cool.” The CD she’s releasing there is a combination of her first two albums Let it Rain and There Will Come a Day. Using a different mix of songs from both albums, Myers also put out a a Francophone record, available at Sam the Record Man, on which she did all of her own translations.
Aside from her trip down under, Myers has a full plate in the coming months; she’s getting ready to shoot her sixth video at the end of February which will be released in Canada and – along with her other videos – in Australia. Myers is also writing and co-writing songs for upcoming albums and putting out a new CD called Shirley Myers and Friends, featuring duets of her with older artists from the Grand Ole Opry such as Mickey Gilley, John Connolly, and Johnny Lee. But for now her latest single, Real True Love, is keeping her in high spirits. It hit number 15 on the BDS charts in Canada, a good indication of a popularity she hopes will be lasting.
“In today’s market an artist is doing very well even if they only last seven years,” she said. “But I guess the thing to do is to really keep going and connect with as many people as you can.” In that respect Myers should be immortal. She’s spent a lot of time recently trying to solidify that connection by touring military bases in Florida, Texas and New Mexico. When I perform for military people I can really see the appreciation on their faces. They’re touched; it’s really neat. They show a lot of emotion because a lot of the times, most are away from their families.”
Keeping that connection with her fans is important to Myers, so much so that she tries to keep in touch via e-mail from her website: www.shirleymyers.com. “When I do a concert for 20 or 30 thousand peopole it’s fun, but my favorite part is meeting people one on one.” The e-mails she receives cover “anything from a young artist starting out and asking for advice or looking for a song to ‘Hey, Shirley, saw your show,’”she said. Oddly enough, they’ll often send her pictures of herself on stage or on the street, which she admits is pretty bizarre.
When the day comes that there are just too many letters for her to personally reapond to each one, she’s considering putting together a newsletter. Luckily, she’s not so busy that she has to do that for her own family yet. “I talk to Mom every day on the phone so we have big long distance bills,” she said. “Oh well, she’s worth it.” Her parents, Gerry and Bernice, still live in Moncton. Besides family and friends, Myers said one big thing is missing in her Nashville life. “I love seafood,” she said. “I miss it so much.”