In spite of my mother’s noble attempts to bribe me when I was little by allowing me to order something from the Avon catalog if I had a good report from my piano teacher, I am what you might call musically illiterate. I don’t read music…I hear it. I can chord on the piano a little; enough to find a tune to go with what’s in my head. I can still hear my mother now when I was suppose to be practicing my lessons, “Shelleen Sue, that is not the song you are suppose to be working on…” No, I was writing my own. My brother, the self-taught musician, whom I affectionately call my “Simon Cowell”, says that I play drums on the piano. Admittedly, he is correct, and although I wish I was, I am no musician.
When I was a kid, whenever I felt intense emotion, be it good, bad, or ugly, I wrote a poem about it. Sometimes I couldn’t write as fast as the words would come. Writing poetry was an emotional outlet for me.
About four years before the release of my album, “Rough Tracks”, I had written about that many songs; just silly little songs; nothing special. I was in my church choir, but probably sang about five solos in my whole life, including the time I played the Old Testament character, Naaman’s wife in my 5th grade musical. Over the next year and a half, however, I wrote about forty. I went through a season of deep emotional pain as I experienced what I can only describe as my whole world being knocked off its axis. I found myself coping through prayer, reading God’s Word, and dumping my raw emotions at my grandmother’s out-of-tune, broken-keyed piano in my drafty, little, rented, Pennsylvania farmhouse living room.
I love the Psalms because David was comfortable enough with God to express how he felt no matter what the emotion. When he was joyful, he was jubilant! When he was hurting, he candy-coated nothing. When he was angry, he had an attitude. He candidly expressed his feelings to his Lord with freedom, honesty, and passion. I absolutely relate to that.
I titled my album Rough Tracks because the road I traveled that brought the music out of me was exactly that. Also, because I had never done this before, and like me, my music felt rough around the edges.
What’s so amazing to me about all of this is that I never set out to do it. I was just singing in my living room, spending time with God…healing. It all got started with a few random invites to sing, never having offered. People kept asking me for a CD to which I’d respond, “…But I don’t do this.” It’s mind-blowing and humbling to see how God, in His mercy, has turned “what was meant for evil” to not only my good, but the good of others, and His glory.
Although my songwriting began in a time of grief and pain, it didn’t end there. I believe you will not only be entertained, but more importantly, my prayer is that you can relate to the honesty of my emotions, and be inspired. You will hear the heart of a woman, who thankfully responded to her pain by letting go of the reigns of her life, and falling back into the arms of Jesus, experienced comfort, healing, restoration, and unspeakable joy!
Rough Tracks is really my testimony, and evidence I present to you of a loving Savior. My vision for this album is to point people to Him, and my prayer is that the music will do for others what it did for me … Helped me heal and learn to rejoice in the midst of my circumstances, taught me the power of worship, and provided an outlet for the release of my emotion….just like my poetry…. be it good, bad, or ugly.
For more information or to purchase Shelleen’s music visit www.shelleensings.com.