photos courtesy of Faircraft Records
MIA ROSA Spotlight On
Professional Singer, 22, Los Angeles
Since the age of 12, Los Angeles singer/songwriter Shelby Spalione has aspired to make hit records and bring her unique talents to the stage. Through sheer hard work and persistence, Shelby has done just that and, at age 22, is well on her way to a brilliant career. She embodies the spirit of MIA ROSA with charisma, style, hard work, powerful voice and determination.
We caught up with Shelby, who is working on a new record with industry veteran and well-regarded music producer Ron Fair.
What are your current projects?
At the beginning of this year, I signed to music industry veteran Ron Fair’s new independent label, Faircraft Records. We are currently putting the finishing touches on my first solo album. It’s a collection of songs I wrote over the past couple of years. Ron is working hard on the production. I’m also signed to the BMG/Chrysalis publishing powerhouse, so I’m almost always in the studio writing and recording, whether it’s for me or other artists.
How did you become a professional singer?
I grew up in Los Angeles, so I was very lucky to have access to the industry early on. I started attending a couple different performance schools and through that, met a lot of producers and built connections. I recorded my first EP at age 12, and signed my first production deal at age 14, after being discovered by songwriter/producer Robbie Nevil at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip. Shortly after that, I was signed to Walt Disney Records as the lead singer of the all-girl rock band, KSM. That was when things really took off.
Are there one or two life moments that stand out in your mind?
The first life moment that stands out would be the day I met Ron Fair. I had a meeting with him in his office at Virgin Records in the big, round Capitol building in Hollywood. I had never been there before, so simply standing in that building was exciting. I brought in two acoustic guitar players, two guys on percussion, along with two PA speakers and a microphone, all of that into his office! I knew he was thinking, “what is going on?!” He invited practically the whole office in to watch, and I performed three of my original songs. This was so huge for me because I have always performed songs that I didn’t write myself. And, now here I was singing songs that I just wrote in my dirty old garage a few months before this, and they got a great response! It was such an amazing moment and surreal to look back, now that we are so close to the finish line!
Another moment would be working with Will.i.am. I met him very randomly while out with some girlfriends, and it was definitely being in the right place at the right time. I was able to play him some of the music I had been writing at the time and everything that happened afterwards was magical. Getting to perform with him on American Idol and then packed arenas across Europe. I got to sing one of my favorite songs from childhood, “Where is the Love?” in front of thousands of people, which gave me chills. It gave me faith that I was on the right path.
What advice you would give to aspiring singers?
First would be to seize every opportunity because you never know what you’re going to learn, who you’re going to meet, or where it’s going to take you. Perform everywhere you can. Soak up all the information you can! And write, write, write. Try to find your point of view through songwriting. It makes singing a thousand times more gratifying and allows you the ability to relate to so many people!! Your memories and stories will make you stand out.
Was there anyone you looked up to as you were getting started in the business? Mentors?
My musical influences include Gwen Stefani, Alanis Morissette, Janis Joplin, Cyndi Lauper, and Christina Aguilera, to name a few. I learned a lot from listening to their music and voices while crafting my own. The one that gave me my first real shot, (and I don’t mean of alcohol), Robbie Nevil, will always be a huge mentor of mine. Since meeting him, he has given me amazing guidance and been someone I can trust. Also, I’ve also worked closely with songwriter/influencer, Stefanie Ridel and A&R/producer, Ron Harris over the years. Having long careers in the music industry of their own, they have taught me a lot of valuable lessons and always motivate me. I’m happy to have them by my side to this day.
How do you like to relax when not working (friends? workouts? travel? anything else)?
I love being around friends, whether it’s a night in with some wine and a good television show, preferably comedy, or a day on the beach. I am a California girl, of course. I really enjoy hiking and taking walks around new places, especially with my soul mate dog.