Shelly Fairchild instantly wowed critics with her 2005 recording debut, "Ride," which spawned the Billboard Hot Country Songs top 40 hit "You Don't Lie Here Anymore." The ferocious stage performer blew her fans away once again with "Ruby's Money," her sophomore record release —with her intent to transform the sound of modern soul.
The seasoned stage veteran (who carried leading roles in the musicals "Beehive: The 60s Musical" and "Always Patsy Cline" and has supported superstars like Keith Urban and Rascal Flatts in concert) easily converted followers with the blues- and R&B-infused testimony she was born to spread. Growing up in Jackson, Miss., where Aretha Franklin once recorded at Malaco Studios, Fairchild absorbed the blues throughout her childhood. "It was kind of everywhere you went," she recalls. "I grew up in a family that loves music. My dad listened to a lot of country, and I was raised in a Southern Baptist church, so that's where my gospel influences come from."
When she hit Nashville to kick off her music career, she landed on Columbia Records. "I had this bluesy, soulful element that I brought to the music, and they let me do that. But I had to stay within certain parameters on my first record," Fairchild says of "Ride," which brought her mainstream attention and praise from such publications as People and American Songwriter Magazine. "It was a great first project for me. It is really amazing to make a record in Nashville." She compares her departure from the label "to graduating from high school to college. I feel like I learned so much. It was like my school, and then I developed more as a songwriter and artist and got on to the next phase of my life."
With the release of "Ruby's Money" on her own Revelation Nation Records, Fairchild took complete control of her music. For the project, Fairchild and Smith (producer) erected a new-millennium soul sound housed within a framework established by icons like Ike & Tina Turner, Sly & the Family Stone, Isaac Hayes and Barry White. "On Ruby's Money, I wanted to write and record songs that had the same sort of impact of songs from the 70's" Fairchild says. "That's what we tried to do: take what I know now and what I feel I know now with what I know about then and how I feel listening to music from back then. I don't know if it worked, but it was certainly a fun record for me to make".
"I used to be so scared of being independent," she admits. "But being an "indie" artist is cool. I mean, every possibility, every opportunity, everything is so open".
Fairchild, who is currently touring as a background vocalist with Martina McBride, can also be heard singing backing vocals on Jason Aldean's No. 1 single, "Burnin' It Down" and the Top 10 Eric Church hit, "Creepin'," as well as on various tracks by Trace Adkins, Terri Clark, Tanya Tucker, Brooke Eden, Nathan Chapman and many others.