Shelley Segal Is Returning To Australia
LA-based songwriter Shelley Segal has announced her latest single Somebody Like You, a rock-infused, in-your-face song about a relationship interrupted.
Somebody Like You is a heavy track, and not just in sound; it details the trauma of being told by family that your relationship must end for the sake of religion – in short, it's the perfect song to release in the midst of the polarizing and supremely topical same sex marriage debate. Electric guitars wail and drums propel the song forward with a strength that Shelley has harnessed herself, as the chorus soars to the heights of her vocal range. Somebody Like You soundtracks a confusing, difficult time in Shelley's life, as she explains, 'When I was 18 years old my family told me I needed to break up with my partner because he wasn't Jewish - in line with our religious traditions. I chose to fight for the relationship with my then-partner, leaving home and moving in with him and his family. This was an extremely painful experience for me. I am no longer religious but I know that many people still experience this tension between their families, traditions and the person they love for various reasons, religion, race, gender, orientation. The truth is, you cannot help or control who you love. You cannot love someone or stop loving someone, just because that is expected of you." Shelley continues, weighing in on the same sex marriage debate, 'I know how it feels to be told who you should love and how you should love and it's absolutely heartbreaking…having this kind of debate publicly has brought up a lot of pain and abuse for LGBTQI+ Australians; for our families and friends, and it should never have been allowed."
Shelley has been living and working in Los Angeles for over a year now, and is currently Stateside touring Somebody Like You. Since making the move overseas Shelley has achieved a lot; spending her time writing with different artists, performing non-stop, and opening her own publishing company which saw her score a sync with the Emmy-award winning webseries Venice. Shelley loves her new city, but is looking forward to her brief visit home to celebrate Somebody Like You with a few shows. She enthuses, 'These new songs have a rockier edge than I've had before and I'm excited to share that energy onstage. Coming home will be bittersweet as it makes me a bit homesick but it will be special to be at home and play these new songs to my fans and friends. As usual audiences can expect lots of stories. Maybe even a bit of the shiny sheen of shameless LA pop will make it back over the pacific with me, we'll see…!"
And Shelley would like to remind that the Australian same sex marriage vote closes soon. Don't delay, mail it back today. Forms must be received by 6pm (local time) 7 November to be incuded in the count.
Stream: SOMEBODY LIKE YOU
Buy: SOMEBODY LIKE YOU
Shelley Segal Somebody Like You Launch Show
FRI 29 DEC | YARD BIRD, BENDIGO, VIC | 18+ | Free Entry 8-11pm
THU 4 JAN | CALLY HOTEL, WARRNAMBOOL, VIC | 18+ | Free Entry 8-11pm
FRI 12 JAN | PAYNESVILLE WINE BAR, PAYNESVILLE, VIC | 18+ | Tix At The Door 7-10pm
Interview with Shelley Segal
Question: Can you tell us what inspired your move to LA?
Shelley Segal: I've been touring my music across the US for the last five years and so I've been building up to this move. As well as releasing and touring my own material I also write for other artists and projects. LA is the perfect place to do this - there are so many artists and creative projects that need music. It's been a year full of amazing collaborations. I've had my songs recorded by international artists. I've had my music played on the Emmy award winning Venice: The Series. I also co-run indie label True Music and part of the move has been to open True Music in the US to build more opportunities for myself and our artists.
Question: What have you learnt about yourself whilst living in LA?
Shelley Segal: I've learnt the extent to which I can adjust myself - living in a new place and a new culture calls for that. But it also teaches you where your hard lines are - the places where you are aren't prepared to move from.
I've learnt a lot about the way that I write from writing with so many other artists.
Learning different techniques and also when to push and when to pull which is different in every new collaboration. I'm getting better at trusting myself and at staying self-motivated.
Question: What do you miss about Australia?
Shelley Segal: I miss the usual suspects - my friends and family. I also miss the Melbourne music scene actually and playing my favourite venues like Wesley Anne. I hang out with some Aussies in LA and I think we all miss the humour a bit. Aussies tend to be self-depreciating and in an environment like LA where everyone is really pushing themselves and networking 24/7 that sort of humour doesn't seem to fly. You have to adjust and I do miss that more laid back attitude. I miss using the letter 'U' in colour, neighbour, honour, etc and spelling centre with an 'RE' instead of an 'ER'. You know, the little things!
Question: Are you able to share the story behind Somebody Like You, with us?
Shelley Segal: Somebody Like You is written about someone trying to interfere in a relationship. When I was 18 I was told that I had to break up with my then partner because he wasn't the same religion as me and my family. I was so in love and so happy and instead of this being one of the most beautiful and exciting times of my life it was one of the hardest and most painful. I chose to fight for my relationship and left home over it. Being told that your relationship is wrong is heartbreaking. I chose to release this song now because of the discussion we are currently having about marriage equality and equal rights being denied to some Australians because of their gender/sexual orientation. Nobody should be able to tell you who you can love and how you can love. I hope equality and love will prevail over fear, dogma and discrimination.
Question: How would you describe your music?
Shelley Segal: I would describe my music as folk singer songwriter with many different influences. I tend to use pop forms. Sometimes my songs have a rockier edge. This single and its coming EP I'd describe as folk rock. I like using jazzy and bluesy chords but I always come back to the story - my music is eclectic but always driven by a lyrical focus.
Question: Which is your favourite song to perform live and why?
Shelley Segal: My favourite song to perform live changes all the time. Quite often it will be the last song I wrote. Some of my favourite covers to perform are Dance Me To The End Of Love by Leonard Cohen. I've been performing that song with my Dad on violin for 15 years now - it's very special to me. We have a live version of it up on YouTube. I also love performing Phil Ochs When I'm Gone - a perfect song in my opinion. Then fun fast paced stuff like Destiny's Child.
Out of my songs, my favourite to perform at gigs is probably Saved as that's the song people know the most and are often waiting for so you get a lot of energy back from the crowd. I also love performing a piece I do in two parts - 'Etz Chaim/Eve'.
Etz Chaim is an acapella Hebrew song from the synagogue. Being a female I wasn't allowed to lead the congregation at my synagogue. I talk a bit about my experiences as a woman in a patriarchal religion then turn the reverb up and let it rip! I follow it up with my response to women's treatment in the abrahamic traditions with Eve.
Question: What should we expect from the upcoming Australian tour dates?
Shelley Segal: I've been performing as a duo in the US with guitarist Rob Robertson who will join me on acoustic and electric guitar. It's nice to have some extra layers and colours in the set. That's something to look forward to; lots of new songs and stories to share. It will be fun to share some of the pop stuff I've been writing here in the US as well.
Question: If you could have anyone, in the world, attend your shows, who would it be?
Shelley Segal: I'd love to have Ani Difranco or Mark Kozelek come to one of my gigs - they are my favourite artists, but then maybe that would be scary!
Question: Do you prefer performing live or recording?
Shelley Segal: They are different beasts and I love them both dearly. The recording process can be magical and full of growth and bring the song to life but performing is the more immediate for me. That's when the communication and connection happen in real time.
Question: What motivates you most when writing music?
Shelley Segal: Most of the time, if it's a song for myself to perform then it's getting my ideas across perfectly. Perfectly to me means in the clearest, most interesting and most beautiful way. I like ideas, pictures, feelings or stories that have deep layers. So they are conveying something to you about the moment directly but also about the way things are or have changed over time. The more layered the more beautiful the story.
When I'm writing pop music or for other projects often the perfection I'm striving for comes from form. Perfect patterns repeated. It's hard to be at once perfectly symmetrical and surprising. But it feels so good when you get there.
Question: Which music/artists are you currently listening to?
Shelley Segal: At the moment I'm listening to a lot of Mark Kozelek. He's released five new albums since I moved to the US last year. I'm listening to a lot of local artists here. Artists like Liv Slingerland who would really fit in to the Melbourne scene at home. I'm listening to future soul artist (and True Music artist) Maya!
Question: What or who was your inspiration to go into the music industry?
Shelley Segal: My father and grandfather were musicians as were a lot of their friends and I grew up performing in my father's wedding band. I've been performing since I was 11 years old.
So I've always been around working musicians who encouraged and inspired me to study and go into music. They showed me what was possible.
Question: If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be?
Shelley Segal: I would love to write with the artists I mentioned above, Mark Kozelek or Ani Difranco.
Ben Harper or Alanis Morisette - my oldest heros.
Or one of my current favourites, NZ artist Tiny Ruins.
I'd also really love to collaborate with Sia. She has been an artistic and writing inspiration to me for so many years and is able to perfectly mix the singer songwriter genre into pop.
Interview by Brooke Hunter