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Shannon Quinn’s Latest “The Exception”

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Born and raised in the small town of Saint Thomas, Pennsylvania, Shannon Quinn grew up on a ten acre “mini farm” with cows, chickens and the occasional pigeon. Her artistry began around the age of twelve when she became influenced by Taylor Swift. Reading articles and watching videos helped spark her idea to start writing songs — and she hasn’t stopped since.

Writing during the quarantine at home. Saw you were using your piano because your guitar was back in Nashville. Why do you feel you write better using a piano when you find yourself more emotional than usual?

A piano has a much more somber tone than a guitar (at least that’s what I’ve found). It sets the mood and the tone for whatever I’m thinking about, and for me, the words and phrases just seem to flow better for me. For example, both of my singles “Rearview” and “Reminded” were both written on piano before I put them to guitar.

Working on your fall EP release with producer Paul Bennett. How have you had to adapt the process while working from separate locations?

The great thing about working with Paul, is that he’s done it before, so he really knows what he’s doing and he knows how to create an awesome project even when we are in different states. We did a lot of FaceTime meetings, and we created a google drive with all the lyrics and chords to the new songs. Along with that, we had a whole dropbox full of the potential songs I would be using. I record every song I write on my phone using the voice memo app, so it was super easy to just transfer those songs into the dropbox. When it was time to record, Paul (and the drummer who is also just as awesome, his name is Fran Gleason) both came to Nashville with all their equipment and we spent 10 days making the EP in an Airbnb. It was honestly so much fun, and I’m so grateful they both took the time to drive to Nashville to help me create this EP.

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Then a hiatus before its release. Hiking with Tally, horseback riding, what else did you do this summer?

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I feel like I didn’t even have a summer! The “summer” I had kind of happened before I got back to Nashville. My sister and I drove to Sedona, Arizona from PA at the end of April and spent 5 days hiking and adventuring around there. It was incredible, and the scenery was gorgeous! It was also nice to spend some quality time with just her. Don’t worry, we were safe. We had our masks and all, luckily not too many people were there since nothing was open, but it was still nice to hike and see nature. Once I got back to Nashville, I basically just started working and really focusing on the EP. I am planning on starting to do writer’s rounds again, hopefully very soon. I really miss playing for the public!

Your latest single, “The Exception”. For me, I loved how the drum beat gave strength to the emotions behind the words/lyrics. How difficult is it to match lyrics with music?

I also really love the drum in that song! I’ve been very fortunate to have extremely talented musicians play on all of my singles, so once I tell them the general idea of what I want a song to sound like, or how I want certain instruments to line up with the lyrics (the drums for example), they can take that idea and put their own spin on it. It’s amazing to watch these musicians work and just do their thing in 3 or 4 takes.

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“Reminded” was your previous single. The raw emotions behind letting go. How did you choose the words and design of the single’s artwork?

The picture of me itself, was taken on my iPhone in my house believe it or not. Once I decided on the picture, I got in touch with a graphic designer (Anna Vaus) who does amazing work (she also designed my logo) and I told her exactly what I wanted. The words in the picture are actually things that have been said to me by the person who I was in the relationship with, that inspired “Reminded”. I always try to keep it as real as I can with my music, artwork, so that people can really identify with the song.

Covering songs. What song has been the most challenging to put your own spin on and why?

I’d have to say House of the Rising Sunby The Animals, everyone knows that song. When I play it, I slow it down a whole bunch, and I really dig into the belting range of my voice.

In just months after moving to Nashville you had played in 17 writers rounds. What’s the best writing advice you’ve taken from these?

The best writing advice I take away from rounds, is to write from the heart ALWAYS. It’s your story, and your story is never wrong, it’s never stupid, because it is a piece of your life. It can be funny, sad, angry, or all of it put together, it truly doesn’t matter. Just always write what you want to write, and take the opinion of other people with a grain of salt.

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You posted that Loretta Blue is your favorite guitar. What makes it so special?

First of all, it’s blue! I don’t come across dark blue guitars often so I just had to get it. It also is the first guitar that I bought on my own. My other guitar (which is also lovely) was a hand-me-down from my cousin, so it was mine, but it also wasn’t. This new guitar is specifically mine because I bought it.

Back to Nashville. What have you missed the most … foods, venues, outdoor activities?

I love my family, but I definitely missed being independent and being on my own. As for being back in Nashville, I am super happy that the nearest Dunkin is only 5 minutes away. Back home in PA, the nearest Starbucks/Dunkin was about 20–25 minutes away and that made me so sad. I am obsessed with coffee (especially iced coffee). I also missed all the BBQ places around Nashville, truly nothing can compete with Martin’s Bar-B-Que or Edley’s Bar-B-Que, it’s just so good. I also recently got super into running (which is very strange because I used to hate it), and I prefer to run outside. At home I would go running down the back roads near our house but I grew up there, so I never really appreciated the scenery. In Nashville, I’ll go running at Percy Priest or near Harpeth and it’s all still new to me, so it keeps me occupied while I run!

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