We had the good fortune of connecting with Shantell Ogden and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shantell, we’d love to start by asking you about lessons learned. Is there a lesson you can share with us?
There are a couple of key lessons that come to mind as a songwriter. First, when you are writing songs, you are working on knowing yourself in a way. To write, you have to understand how you feel and what you think in order to share a story or an emotion. How can you write a song about dealing with a breakup, for example, if you’ve never been through it? You could guess at the emotion, but not really share a personal point of view. I believe writers are reflectors of the human experience, and what makes writers unique is our view of the world. Another big lesson I’ve learned is accepting rejection. It happens daily. One of my friends says jokingly, “I work in the music industry, I eat rejection for breakfast.” It’s one of the ironies of the business, you have to develop thick skin to survive the rejection, but you have to keep a soft heart to write songs that truly move people. It’s a tricky journey to try to balance both.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I started out as a singer/songwriter playing in coffee shops and recording in a friend’s basement in the early 2000s in Atlanta. Now, nearly 20 years later, I’m a recording artist, songwriter, and Music Supervisor living in Nashville. One of the things that sets me apart I think is my commitment to the journey – which is all about my relationship with God. I feel like music is a personal calling and that’s different than seeing it as a job. A job you can quit when it gets too hard if you need to, a calling is life-long and ‘all-in.’ When it gets tough, I hang on. I redefine success, experiment, and change my approach, but I don’t quit. Growing up on a farm has a lot to do with my work ethic. There is no ‘I don’t feel like it today’ on a farm. The work needs to get done. So, I keep doing the work and moving forward slowly. It took me five years in Nashville to have a song of mine recorded by another artist. It was seven years before I got my first song in a film. I’ve toured in the UK for six years, and each year it gets better. It’s sometimes hard when you see people get a big break early in their career while it seems like you are just chipping away year after year. But, on the other hand, I’m building this catalog of songs and the journey is rewarding. I appreciate the every success, big or small, because I’ve worked so hard for it.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
There’s a favorite spot in East Nashville where they host Honky Tonk Tuesdays. It’s great live music that is authentic, and much more like Nashville used to be back in the day. They give swing lessons, and you’ll see young and old dancing there together. Whenever I have friends in town this is a must stop on the tour. I’m also a big fan of Nashville Biscuit House, for their history and hometown cooking.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
A huge part of the credit to any success I’ve had is because of my belief in and partnership with God. It starts with having some talents that were graciously gifted, and a desire in my heart to take this journey. For me it’s a lot of leaping and knowing a net will appear, and God does not let me fall often. And if I do fall, there’s a lesson in that as well. In 2020, I kept thinking about some sage advice from my Grandpa, “There’s nothing so bad that something good can’t come from it.” With more time on my hands, one of the gifts of COVID for me was working on a new album with songs about the addiction recovery journey. There was endless leaping as I started a fan-funding campaign, booked studio time, and kept moving my feet forward. I prayed the funding would come through, and people I didn’t even know donated generously to help make the idea a reality. Not only did we have enough to record the album, we have given 600 albums so far to people in recovery programs. The entire album was made possible through answered prayers and kind hearts.
Other: My Music Supervision site is at: https://so-sync.com