You may recognize him from your morning stroll to class, his Facebook page, or maybe you spotted him casually writing songs at the local Starbucks on the corner, but one thing is for sure, singer/songwriter Struan Shields is someone you want to recognize. Currently, the preorder for his new EP, "If I'm Being Honest" has already hit #24 in the singer/songwriter charts.
Hometown: Arlington, Virginia
How and why did you first get into the music industry?
My family has always been pretty musical. I got my first guitar when I was eight but didn’t actually start playing seriously until I was eleven. I wrote my first song at thirteen (it was so bad) and fell in love with songwriting. Things started getting more serious my senior year of high school—my first EP reached #1 in the singer/songwriter slot on iTunes and #70 overall and I got a couple songs off of it on the Real World “New Orleans.”
What is the inspiration behind your song, "If I'm Being Honest"?
I wrote this song with my buddy Dave Cook (of the late My Favorite Highway) and at the time neither of us had had a girlfriend for a while. I can’t speak for him but I’d been in a place for a while where I hadn’t been able to invest emotionally enough to pursue a relationship. I think by the time you’re in college a lot of people have had, forgive me for sounding cliché, a “first love” that often leaves them jaded and turned-off to the idea of a relationship, whether consciously or subconsciously. I think that’s something people my age in particular can relate to. My favorite songs that I’ve written are those that actually mark and even bring about a change in my outlook, at least for a time. This song was one of those and kind of marked a turning point for me that left me with the mindset of not necessarily looking for a relationship, but not running from it either. The song reflects on the fact that I’d “been looking for love/in the wrong pair of eyes,” but it doesn’t dwell on the negative aspect and I think ends on a pretty upbeat note, conceding that while being stoic protects you from getting hurt, we aren’t meant to be alone and trying to go it alone will leave you lonely.
How do you balance your time at UVa with your music career?
Good question! I don’t really…currently starting a paper that’s due tomorrow. If I have a song idea and an exam to study for, the song takes precedence.
Do you have any suggestions or advice for upcoming singer/songwriters about how to get started?
I wouldn’t consider myself an expert, but one thing I’ve learned is that at the end of the day it’s all about the music and above all the songs. Don’t focus so much on promotion or image or anything else that it compromises the quality of the songs…and don’t be afraid to write a bad one now and then.
Tell us your idea of the perfect girl:
A girl with a sense of adventure who is independent, and laid-back but still driven. With regards to looks, I don’t really have a “type,” but there are plenty of girls I’ve seen around UVA who I’d like to get to know…I just realized how creepy that sounds…hopefully your readers see that in an endearing “I-don’t-know-how-to-approach-you way” rather than a “I’m-watching-you-with-binoculars-from-Jefferson’s-secret-gardens” way!
Most embarrassing moment:
One time in high school I dropped a girl off after a date and met her mother for the first time. For some reason I found her mom incredibly intimidating and after struggling to get out a few words I ended up only mumbling something to myself, simply turned around, fumbled with the door for what felt like five minutes, and left without saying one coherent sentence. I immediately got a text from the girl saying, “what just happened?” Needless to say, that was my last date with her. I’ve learned how to speak to parents since then.
Favorite quote or motto:
“If you’re a bird, I’m a bird.” –Ryan Gosling in “The Notebook”; Gosh, I’m just so sensitive.
“If I’m Being Honest” Official Music Video:
Preorder Struan’s new EP “If I’m Being Honest” on iTunes for $2.99! http://itunes.apple.com/us/preorder/if-im-being-honest-ep/id516261653
CD Release Show - 6.8.12 - Jammin Java – Tickets: http://jamminjava.com/home/events/struan-shields-cd-release