Growing up right here in Portland, and singing since the first grade, 19-year-old Shelby Ann-Marie Miller has already packed more into her short music career than many musicians do in a lifetime.
From singing in the choir at St. Patrick church, to American Idol season 13 at the age of 15, to writing/co-writing and performing today, Shelby continues her drive to make her own mark in the music industry.
American Idol Season 13 premiered January 15, 2014, and according to her Facebook page, “she made it to the final judgement day of Hollywood Week just short of the Top 30.”
Since then she has opened for Chase Rice, Craig Morgan, The Band Perry, Trace Adkins, Parmalee, Kane Brown, Clint Black, Collin Raye, Steve Azar and others.
Shelby said, “The most memorable experience that I have had since American Idol was probably my first concert after the show. I opened for Craig Morgan and Chase Rice at Fifth Third Ball Park on the first day of my senior year of high school and I really felt at home on the stage. There was around 5,000 people there and you could just feel the energy in the air and up on the stage. I had my class there to support me and family back stage as well. Even after coming off the show, I knew that this is something that I wanted to pursue with my whole heart.”
Today she says, “I am currently working at a booking agency in Nashville, TN, finishing up my college degree online, writing/co-writing around Middle Tennessee, recording new material, and performing writers rounds around the area. I have always been someone who needs to stay busy in order to feel productive so I am definitely do just that!”
She keeps herself very busy. She says, “My schedule is planned out somewhat strategically these days since I try to fit so much in. I work at the booking agency from 9:30 am - 5:30 pm Monday through Friday and do my school work on my downtime at work. Mondays I have a writing group that meets for tea and to practice new writing techniques, specializing in imagery. Tuesdays after work my boyfriend and I volunteer at the Bridge Ministry downtown which is a program set up for the homeless in the area, giving them a hot meal, church service, and groceries to take home. Wednesdays we attend a church group at Crosspoint in Nashville and meet with other young people that share in our walk of faith. Thursdays and Fridays are my days for writing and co-writing. Weekends are my free time to do my cleaning and errands as well as play rounds around town every now and then. I really need to stay on top my schedule in order to fit everything in that I need to. Working full time, going to school, and trying to make a mark on the music industry can all be very time consuming.”
When asked if there was any one thing from Portland that makes her a bit home sick, Shelby said, “I will say the small-town feel is something that I miss from time to time. Back in Portland you can't run to the store without running into at least three people that you know and their mother haha. Everyone knows your name and believes in what you're doing. They support you and build you up because you are one of their own. They have your back and will always be there when you need them. The town really looks out for one another. Out on the road, you are kind of on your own. No one cares about your story or how you are doing, they care about what you can do for them and how marketable you can be. It's a tough industry to be in so I am glad that I still have roots in Portland and can come back home to regain my focus every now and then.”
The singer has a show coming up in Nashville on February 24th. She said, “This is a winery and is a small venue that I use to try out a lot of my new material.” As for any plans on performing in Michigan any time soon, she added, “I have a few things in the works back home in Michigan but that's all top secret until the details are released.... shhhh haha.”
When I asked her is he had any advice for a young person looking to make a career in the music world, she said, “As cliché as it sounds, I would say that it is important to find yourself before putting yourself in the spotlight. Once you are in the music world everyone will have an opinion on what you should wear, how you should change your hair and makeup, what you should sing, how you should sing it, and everything in between. You really need to have a strong sense of self in order to have a backbone in these situations. Faith is also something that has been the center of my life through all of this. Knowing that God has a purpose for you and that you are his tool in bring love to others is something so humbling. Every time I get stressed or worried about what my next move is, I have to remind myself that I am only a part in God's plan. Having a deep relationship with Him allows you to become your true self and be strong in your self-awareness.”
As for anything she would like to share with readers her in Portland, she said, “I would just like to say thank you for the support and love. Since starting this journey at a young age, I have always had Portland behind me to cheer me on. Even after moving away, their love has never wavered. I hope I can make them all proud!”
You can find more information about Shelby and what she is up to at her website, www.shelbyannmarie.com.