Creating ripples of change through song
Shan Curry is drawing on her musical talents to be her own boss while giving voice to the pressing issues of mental health and the environment.
The Jan Juc musician has just released her first album and the title, The Age of Convenience, tells us much about the messaging to be found within the lyrics of her songs.
Shan, who is artistically known as SheisArjuna, was born into a musical family and sang with bands for many years before taking the leap as a solo artist.
She says it was the pandemic which gave her the breathing space and impetus to explore her own music in more depth.
“I was working from home and I was thoroughly enjoying it and I didn’t really want to have to return to the workplace, which I knew was going to happen as restrictions eased,” Shan explains.
“So, I released a song in July last year and that was received very well. I had been off social media for about three or four years so I came back to social media with a song.
“I kind of got wrapped up in the idea that I could do my music professionally.
“I’ve been playing music for about 20 years but I never really wanted anything professional from it.
“Then when I released Rhythms and it was going really well, I thought ‘if I don’t want to go back to an office and have my reality dictated to me, maybe I can try to make my music a career.”
Shan released two more singles before setting her mind on bringing together her first album.
A little over a year later and she has achieved what she would describe as an “unexpected project” but one that feels aligned with her purpose.
Shan struggles to pinpoint her musical style but settles on “conscious pop”.
“Pop but with a bit of a deeper message going behind it,” she says.
“I’m pretty genre fluid so you’ll find on the album each song has got its own genre, even though there is a similar theme across the whole thing.
“It’s hard to pinpoint a specific sound.”
The album’s cover art features photos by Kellan Orrock and the song titles include Age of Convenience, Vessel, Settle Down, Rewild, Come What May, I’m Not Breathing for Them, Drink Your Fears and Echoes of Tomorrow.
The music video for Vessel was filmed at the Barwon Estuary and the stunning backdrop complements her powerhouse and emotion-filled vocals.
“Everything that I really think about spills out into my music,” Shan says of her writing process.
“Just the state of the world today and our need to focus on sustainability, not just for the planet but for people’s mental and physical health.
“So it’s really a focus on that and wanting people to be aware and more conscious of their impact and the ripple effect of those things.
“It’s saying we are all looking for fast and convenient but maybe it’s not the best thing that we should be doing.”
Shan, who moved to the Surf Coast from Melbourne eight years ago, plays piano and guitar – flicking between the two instruments depending on her mood. The past 18 months brought her love of music and songwriting into focus and put her on the path to chasing a creative dream.
“I stopped playing with other musicians about five or so years ago and just started using music to meditate at home really, just on the piano to relax after work.
“During those five or so years I found that I was starting to develop my own sounds purely influenced by my musical style.
“It’s just an age thing as well, I’m in my early 30s and I think I just feel ready to take it on.
“Not to discredit anyone’s experience with COVID that have been negative but mine has predominantly been positive.
“I’ve had space in my life to dedicate to something that was probably always important to me but I just never had the time to do it.”
Shan says producing an album is exhausting and exhilarating and now she hopes listeners will enjoy and share the album with others.
“It has been kind of huge and I’ve been wearing all the hats as well because I’m doing it independently,” she says of the process.
“There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes that people don’t really see.
“I’m a very determined individual. When I jumped back on social media I thought ‘if I am going to do this, I am going to do this with real intentions and try to make the best of it’.
“I kind of saw it as having one shot, I don’t want to be a struggling musician so if it goes it goes and if it doesn’t that’s cool.”
Now that her music has moved out from beyond her lounge room walls, she hopes it resonates and inspires those who hear it.
“There’s a really strong environmental message in my music.
“Looking after the health of the planet and the health of ourselves.
“My ultimate goal with my music is to make people sit with that thought and maybe reflect on what that means to them.
“I hope that they feel a sense of empowerment to calm down in this fast-paced world and minimalise everything a bit.
“I think that’s my main message, to strip everything back.”
Follow Shan’s journey at @sheisarjuna on Instagram and visit the ‘sheisarjuna’ website. Listen here: https://listen.sheisarjuna.com/taoc