After several months of writing and recording, singer-songwriter, Shelly Fraley, has finally released her first full-length album entitled "Into the Sun." The collection of songs includes ten tracks ranging from piano ballads to upbeat pop music with a lyrical emphasis on change, love and moving forward.
Moving forward is exactly what the artist did in 2007 when she moved to Nashville, Tennessee from a small town in Kansas in an effort to pursue music as a full-time career. After taking a year-long break from performing to explore what she really wanted to do musically, Fraley recorded her freshman solo EP, Up Up and Away. The EP landed her numerous placements on major network television shows and movies including One Tree Hill, Knight Rider, Ghost Whisperer, Plain Jane, the recently-released Free Willy 4, and more. Fraley was also the featured "Needle in the Haystack" artist on MtvMusic.com as a result of the EP.
Pulling inspiration from artists such as The Cardigans, Josh Ritter, John Mayer, Sheryl Crow, Sara Bareilles, Ingrid Michaelson, and many others, the new album includes seven new songs mixed with three of the original songs from the EP. The music takes broad stylistic leaps, moving from piano-based, mid-tempo songs such as "Sway," to acoustic-driven, upbeat songs such as "Uh Oh, I'm Falllin'."
Hailing from a small town in Kansas, Fraley recalls the age when she first began to take an interest in writing and playing music:
"I would say I was around four or five, probably five since I could write... I was sitting in the 'pink room' in my childhood house, leaning over a notebook, and I came up with the lyrics 'you keep cracking me up.' I couldn’t understand why my mom laughed when I used the phrase in a breakup song... it seemed like such a serious phrase to me. From those first lyrics until now, I have been a songwriter at heart.
I never thought of myself as a great singer, but I always loved the process of writing and creating something that was my own. I first began learning piano on a Casio keyboard with little sticker letters on the keys to learn the notes when I was about eight years old. Growing up in the country lent to plenty of creative time to learn the piano and make music, silly as it may have been. My first semi 'official' recordings were done at my church in my tiny town on a slightly out of tune piano. They were piano ballads, mostly. I still have the cassette tapes stored away!"
After high school, Fraley continued on down the path of higher education at a small, private school in Winfield Kansas, where she studied music and mass communications. Three semesters in, however, she left college to work full-time at a design firm in Wichita. For the next two years, Fraley concentrated solely on graphic design, putting music to the side. These years of desk jobs and nine-to-five hours proved pivotal in helping the singer songwriter decide which path she wanted to take. The need to create music never went away, and eventually, Fraley started writing and playing music again.
"At some point, I realized that 'now was not the time to be sitting behind a desk.' I knew there would always be that opportunity later on in life. Although I had fun with music and loved creating it as a kid, I had a pretty sheltered childhood as far as my musical influences go. I listened to a lot of pop radio and a just a few rock records from my dad's collection. Not that any of that music was bad, I still love it all, but my musical knowledge didn't expand much further than top 40 radio. It wasn’t until I started writing and playing with other musicians that I began discovering music that I had no idea existed, music that pushed me to want to write better, more interesting songs. I started working harder at guitar and exercising writing by co-writing on a regular basis."
For a couple of years, Fraley continued playing in local Wichita bands, acting as singer and one of the songwriters in the bands. But it wasn't until her dad was diagnosed with cancer and passed away in 2004 that the singer songwriter decided it was time to take her own musical path and pursue music as a solo-artist.
"I just remember feeling stunned, and then really really numb for the next year or so. It was like the head space I was in when writing music was the only place that I was able to feel anything. And then there was that stark reality that, life CAN actually be just that short. I knew I wasn't doing what I really wanted to be doing, I knew I wasn't using my time wisely. So, I started writing on my own again, and eventually recorded a solo project under the band name Adora Rising. I'm still proud of that album, although, listening back, it is definitely clear that I hadn't quite discovered my sound."
After conquering the initial feat of recording a full-length album, Fraley continued the process of promoting the album, and her band, by playing as often as possible, including doing a small amount of touring the summer after the release. An "official band" was formed around Adora Rising, but the band split in 2007, pushing Fraley to make the move from Kansas to Music City, Nashville, Tennessee.
It was an entire year before the singer-songwriter decided to dive back into music after moving to Nashville. Finally, in 2008, after a long creative dry spell, Fraley finished several new songs. She released them under her own name on an EP entitled Up Up & Away.
Now, with both the "Up Up & Away" EP, and the "Into the Sun" album under her belt, Fraley continues to make great strides in staking her name in the indie-pop scene. Look for her to be touring and releasing more albums in the months and years to come.