Hailing from Arizona, singer-songwriter Shari Rowe grew up on Country and Christian music. She released her recent EP, Moonshine, in May of this year and kindly took the time to talk about her roots, the single and more.
Growing up, what drew you to music and when did you know that you wanted to pursue it professionally?
Well, growing up, I was surrounded by a musical family--we would have talent shows in the living room every year on Christmas and were always trying to find harmonies. I participated in a few talent shows in school, and sang in church. I sang with my sister and sister-in-law in church for a service, and the pastor said something like, “There’s more going on here than a hobby, I think you should do more songs.” That was the moment where I thought that maybe I could do music.
You sang a lot in church, so where does country fit in?
The three of us would sing in local churches and after about two to three years, we got signed to Q Atlantic Records, the record label from QVC. We toured singing contemporary Christian music and performed on QVC on Easter and Good Friday where we also got to speak with the viewers. After several years, we went our separate ways professionally, but that’s how I got my start.
When people think of country music, they think of the South, but Arizona really still is the West with a huge country fan base. I was raised on country music; I remember long drives with my Dad to the outskirts of town where he would play Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings. I grew up listening to that, so country was a natural progression for me.
Your most recent EP, Moonshine, was released in May with the title cut being your current single.
I released a full length album in 2012 and, for being independent, we had some really good exposure and growth. That project landed me with Lamon Records who released the most recent EP. I started writing the title cut, “Moonshine,” then finished it over a Skype session with Aaron Rice and Luke Buishas. I had never written over Skype before and was curious as to how it would go because co-writing is a vulnerable situation and a relaxed, comfortable vibe is pretty important. I wasn’t sure that it would feel that way over Skype, but those guys were great. We finished the song in the first session in about an hour.
The video for Moonshine has a vintage feel, but also a slightly sexy edge.
Making the video was a blast! Lamon came up with concept and I love the direction they went with it. I love the vintage feel and had so much fun with the clothes. In fact, there is some cool history with the video. The car used in the video was in the original Great Gatsby and Water for Elephants and the fur wraps were owned by June Carter Cash.
It was my very first video and although I love being on stage, I’m a little camera shy. I had to separate myself from the idea [of a camera] and make myself feel like it was unfolding like a live show, so as to not have me look uncomfortable. It took a little while but then I sunk into it.
It came out really well!
Where can fans catch you perform live?
I love the live show experience! I always enjoy connecting with people--that moment of being on stage and performing a song that reaches people, it’s just an intangible thing. The Southwest is where I built my fan base, but it is starting to grow since I have been signed and my music has been on the radio. In Arizona, this is the time of year that the heat lifts; the weather is perfect, so all of the festivals start up. I will be playing Relay for Life for the fourth time, which is something that is really close to my heart because I lost my father to cancer in 2005. We do a lot of fun shows, but any time I can connect with people over a cause like that I really try to do it. We also have the Big Sting Festival and we’ll also be returning to Poland before CMA Fest next year.
A lot of bands play Europe, but it is more often Germany and Britain. Is there an appreciation in Poland for country music?
We went to Poland last summer, but couldn’t go this year because the dates conflicted with the new record. We built a relationship with a man, who is now a count, whose wife found out she was long lost royalty to the throne of Poland. Back in the day he was a worship and youth pastor, but was always interested in bringing bands along on missions. So now he has expanded his focus and he organizes tours bringing bigger name bands in to play festivals and clubs in Poland and he included us. And man, are the people there receptive to country music! They were just so great, such sweet people and I can’t wait to go back. It’s pretty cool to how music speaks beyond even a language barrier.
It surely is.
What are your plans for the remainder of the year? Will you go on a radio tour?
We released the EP and single and have seen steady growth in spin increases. So based on that, we are gathering information and planning it out. When you plan and work towards anything there’s always the moment when things seem to slow down and you think “uh oh,” but inevitably things get busy again, especially in the last few weeks. My friends and family tell me to take a breath while I can! (Laughing)
Probably good advice! Now that things are picking up speed, the obvious question would be, do you plan on moving to Nashville or remaining in Arizona?
I love Arizona; it is very unique place and has contributed so much to who I am. My husband and family are here and so is my heart, but my heart is also in moving forwards in the industry. As of now, I definitely feel the pull to get to Nashville more and more, but we have to see how it all unfolds.
For more information visit her official website
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Purchase Moonshine here