Interview: Helen Shanahan

Helen Shanahan is a young Perth musician celebrating the recent release of her album Every Little Sting, and we were able to find out a little about her and her music in this interview.

Hi Helen and welcome to Beauty and Lace. Thanks for talking to us.

When did you start writing songs?

I started writing songs in high school. I started with writing musicals with my friend. They were very ridiculous- I’m so glad we didn’t have YouTube back then!! I started writing songs seriously when I was in year 11 and 12.

Do you remember the first song you wrote?

I do, it was for a school assignment and it was called ‘Moving Back To The Country’. Once again, so glad I didn’t have any social media back then!!

2014 saw you win the Telstra Road to Discovery, what did you gain from that experience?

I gained so much from the Telstra Road to Discovery. Firstly I got to meet so many talented musicians from all over Australia, who I still keep in contact with today. It opened me up to a whole network of people in the industry and their knowledge was invaluable. I gained more confidence in my ability and more encouragement that I was on the right path.

How would you describe your sound?

I would describe my sound as honest, melodic, acoustic, folk!

Can you tell us about your latest single Camouflaged?

My latest single is about wondering what it would be like to not be so anxious when it comes to performing and putting myself ‘out there’. It also is about me realising that it’s up to me to take charge in being more bold, and taking chances on myself when it comes to music. The song was recorded in Nashville with producer Brad Jones; he was amazing to work with and really brought this song to life.

The video was made with Brendan Joel, can you tell us about the inspiration behind it and the making of the clip?

The inspiration behind this clip was to have me kind of ‘morphing’ into different outfits as I walked toward the camera. In the verses, I am more subdued, however in the chorus it was more about me breaking out of being ‘camouflaged’ and showing the side of me that is more confident and happy- playing with the band. Brendan Joel is very creative visually, and he had a special camera that he used to get the effect of me transforming into each outfit.

Every Little Sting is the new album, what’s it about and what can you share with us about the journey to release?

This album is about my journey over the last few years, specifically with having anxiety and dealing with the different pressures life brings. The title track delves into me feeling ‘everything from light to dark’, being sensitive to issues and taking them on board very strongly. The album has an organic sound, recorded in Nashville with lots of different instruments, including a string quartet. I went over to Nashville in September 2016 to record it, and the 12-track release was completed in 10 days. The whole process was amazing to be a part of, and I really hope I’ll get another chance to return there one day and do it again!

You are touring to celebrate the release, what can audiences expect?

Audiences can expect the whole album to be played in full, along with some of my older tracks. I haven’t been able to get the full band to come on tour yet, so it’s just been either in duo or trio form. What they can expect is some intimate shows; I’m hoping to do a house concert tour after this one ends shortly!

What’s been your career highlight to date?

Being signed to Mushroom Music Publishing was a major highlight for me, as it encouraged me to keep writing and gave me confidence to keep persevering with my music.

What is next for you musically?

I am going to keep writing as much as I can, and hopefully organise another tour to keep getting the music out there.

Thanks for your time and good luck with the album


Thursday June 1
Tickets available from
Phone: (02) 9569 4639



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