The Carroll News interviewed “Shane & Emily,” the fun and quirky band duo, at their John Carroll University concert performance on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016.
CN: How did you guys meet and how did you start making music together?
Shane Anderson: We met at open mic! How perfect is that?
Emily Grace: It was like the most disgusting, trashy, little metal-head bar that you have ever been to in your life. People had spikes all over their leather jackets and mohawks and I don’t know why I was hanging out there, but I did all the time. I had a friend who said that he had a friend that was into music and had connections. He was like, “You should come meet him at the open mic next week.” And I was like, “Oh, maybe.” I went and I saw him and I was like, “Okay. Alright. I see now.” I was instantly in love with him, but he wasn’t interested in me.
Anderson: That’s not true!
Grace: Anyway, Ed Sheeran’s “Give Me Love” was the first song we ever sang together. We were sitting in his friend’s house and he started to play it on the guitar and we were like, “We should do this at the coffee shop down the street.”
CN: How did you develop a passion for music, performing and writing?
Anderson: When I started to like music, it was the Relient K record “Mmhmm.” I listened to that record when someone showed it to me and there was this song, “Let It All Out,” and I became obsessed with it. Then, I found out that he’s Canadian and I’m Canadian, so it all worked out. From that whole CD, I learned how to play drums, guitar, bass, and harmony and singing because I wanted to learn every aspect of that CD, front and back. So, that’s how music started for me.
Grace: I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember; since I was two. We have videos of me screaming at the breakfast table, just giving it my all. But I have just always been singing. My mom sings The Carpenters because she sounds like Karen Carpenter and my dad played the guitar and the piano, so I really grew up around it. He helped me write my first song when I was nine-years-old. It was called “One More Step,” but that is all I remember. The song that made me want to start writing music is called “I-540” by The Wedding. It was the song that I always listened to and I was like, “You know what? I’m going to start writing music.” And I just did. And it was all really angst-y. Like 13-year-old-I-hate-everybody. I was such an emo wannabe.
CN: How do your hometowns, and where you’re originally from, reflect in your music?
Anderson: I grew up in a town…have you ever watched Simba in “The Lion King” say, “Wherever the light touches, you can go. See that shadow place? You must not go there.” That’s Oshawa. That’s where I’m from. I loved it though. It’s about 45 minutes outside of Toronto. The reason it is run down is that it is a place where people can go to Toronto, but not pay as much. I lived in the South End, so a lot of songs, for me, and a lot of feelings come from that.
Grace: I grew up in a tiny, nowhere town, in the middle of Missouri. There’s like, 2,000 people in the whole town. I was homeschooled my whole life and somewhat sheltered. But I am very thankful for my upbringing because I would’ve gotten into so much trouble if my parents didn’t keep me on a leash to a certain extent. I was very angst-y, growing up being stuck in a small town and not going to public schools. I was feeling like I didn’t have many friends. So that reflects a lot in my own music that I write myself. As far as the music we write together, we kind of shed our experiences from our own hometowns. We kind of created a new life and that is what we write about now.
CN: What inspired you to start your blog and vlog (video blog)?
Anderson: Two years ago, we were playing this gig on the beach and this guy came over and said, “Come check out my RV!” He’s showing me around and I’m like, “Wow! You own this? You live in this?” I became obsessed. There is this vlogging couple called “Gone with the Wynns” and they’re about my age, they’re married and they just travel and do cool things and vlog about it. I love their vlogs and I became obsessed with that. When I bought my RV I wanted to do the same thing, but I thought it was a lot harder than it was, so I stayed away from it and just did blogs. We wrote blogs for a while and then I said, “Let’s just try it. Let’s just figure it out.” Our first blog was a week and a half or two weeks ago.
Grace: A big reason why we wanted to do it was because—while he was inspired by what others were doing—we were just starting to get into the college market. We knew that we were starting to do things that we would want to share with people and write about instead of the same bar gigs every week. When we started performing at colleges, we made a point to start a blog or a vlog about each of the schools. I take all the pictures, so it makes sense that I do all of the blogs and he takes all of the video.
CN: What is your favorite song to perform together?
Anderson: When it comes to our original music, my favorite is “Carry Me.” I like “Carry Me” because that is the most popular of all the songs that we’ve done. That’s what people gravitate to the most.
Grace: My favorite is “Strangers Again.” It gives me the feels. I didn’t even realize that when I was writing my parts for it. I didn’t even realize that I was writing about people that I know that are going through similar situations. As far as covers go, my favorite is “Royals.”
Anderson: Mine would be The Beatles, “I Saw Her Standing There.”
CN: Can you tell me a little more about your newest song “Come Close?”
Grace: We’ve had a friend that we’ve known for about three years. She’s been there since the very beginning. She’s awesome and she’s worked for a lot of non-profit organizations. Her workplace made a video to raise awareness and it is really touching. She wanted us to write a song for it, so we did. I got a lot of my inspiration from the fact that I’ve known this family that the video is about since I was a little kid. My mom is best friends with their mom and their daughter, who is 13, was diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer.
CN: If you could choose anywhere in the world to perform, where would it be? And who would be a surprise guest?
Anderson: I’ve been travelling, touring America in an RV, playing shows and experiencing all of the things I want to do. But, if I had to go further, I would love to perform at the iTunes festival, just alongside all of the other artists.
Grace: I would want to go anywhere in the world. I don’t know much about venues, but I want to perform in the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado. It is literally in a canyon and I have heard so much about it and I would love to perform there. And I want to perform with John Mayer. Hands down.