Emily Shirley is quickly increasing her already impressive catalogue of songs! With a myriad of singles under her belt in recent years, Shirley reflects a variety of issues and current events in the current world — some through Austin’s prestigious 11:59 Songwriting Group. Though her topics are variable, from thanking first responders for their bravery (evident in her song, “Everyday Heroes”) to surviving a severe Texas storm (in “Survivors”), Emily’s brand of conscious pop rock is consistently as finely tuned and polished as her freelance graphic design projects. Her most recent single, “The Last Time”, taps into the cycle of life and the fleeting nature of relationships.
Growing up in Connecticut, Emily was immersed in church choir, musical theater and Debbie Gibson at a young age.
She was classically trained on piano and became a seasoned singer in a capella groups, finding her footing as a vocalist and writer when she joined the Boston-based soulful pop and electronica band, Amun Ra. The band toured the northeast, after releasing two full-length albums in her six years with them. In 2006, Emily moved to Austin to realign her musicality. Now a mother and in the midst of starting her own business, Emily “had to carve out solo space and find a way to let music work with my lifestyle”. It was in Austin where Emily rediscovered a love for piano and began writing, gigging and even teaching for a stint at Red Lead School of Music.
Emily’s Tiny Truths EP was released in 2010, produced by Daniel Barrett. In 2013, Emily joined Austin pop sensation, The Belle Sounds, on piano, synth and vocals. The band has toured Texas and the west, as well as performing at iconic venues like the ACL Moody Theater in Austin and The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. In 2017, Shirley also joined The Big Fix, a harmony-driven indie rock band founded by Nathan Harlan. Over the next few years, Emily released a series of singles that culminated in the releases of two EPs: Duotone (2015) and Courage Up (2018), both produced by Mark Hallman and engineered by Andre Moran at The Congress House Studio in Austin.
Whether performing solo, with The Belle Sounds or via her latest project (a cover trio, entitled Sister Golden Hair), Emily has established herself as a vibrant and talented force in the Austin music scene. In this episode of Eclectic Soundtrax, Shirley tells life stories through song, while revealing interesting characters and settings in a way that the listener still finds relatable. Emily Shirley’s artistic point of view and skillful sonic experimentation make for a varied and stirring repertoire. “My formative years are still happening,” she jokes when describing her musical life, the honest response of a musician and creator — always on the lookout for the next spark.
About the podcasters
Skunk is a musician, primarily known as the frontman and guitarist for eclectic heavy-rock band A Good Rogering. Since moving to Austin in 2004, he has recorded and performed with a wide variety of bands and solo artists over a career spanning more than 20 years and has shared the stage with notable acts, such as Skid Row, Marty Friedman, Uli Jon Roth, George Lynch and Metal Church among others. Skunk not only works as a performing musician and recording artist, but also as a producer and music teacher. With two decades of insight into what it means to be a professional musician and a passion for not only music, but comedy and general chatter, Skunk was quick to jump at the opportunity to co-host a podcast with longtime friend, Victor Ramos.
A Texas native, Victor’s early musical influences are a mixture of classic rock albums played by his Vietnam vet father and a whole lot of ‘the Fab Four’ via his Beatles-loving mother. Sprinkle in some classic country and Motown, and you have a man that would say “¿que?” when other Tejanos would ask what his favorite cumbia was. After a stint in the Marines, Victor moved to Austin in 2000 and began working in the tech industry. He met Skunk in a Spanish class in 2005 and the two discovered a shared passion for not only beer, but music. After years of collectively attending concerts and talking music, the idea to start a podcast centering around such topics seemed like a logical endeavor.