Getting To Know... AM Shanley

As an artist that looks to take as much influence from retro artists as more contemporary ones, Belfast-based singer and songwriter AM Shanley is now looking to make a grand impression with his debut single 'Redshifting'.

With nods to the likes of Sufjan Stavens and Rex Orange County throughout, 'Redshifting' makes for an incredible introduction to the emerging artist. Filled with subtle and sweeping tones, broad instrumentation, and a soothing demeanour, make sure to check this guy out before he takes off.

So with the new single out and about, we sat down with him to find out more about his origins and what has inspired him most over the years.


What was the first instrument you fell in love with?

The guitar. I was blessed that my dad played when I was a kid so I was always around it. I started taking lessons when I was 8 in primary school and just became totally obsessed.

What has been the most prominent inspiration behind your music so far?

I suppose it's just life in general, being alive for a finite time as we are in a possibly infinite universe and all of the ways in which we encounter joy and suffering and meaning and love while we're here. As a writer I'm definitely drawn to capturing tiny moments rather than big plots or concepts. I love the external sensory details that are around us all the time and thoughts that arise together within a short span of a couple of minutes.

What kind of music did you love as a teenager?

American punk and hardcore was hugely important to me, and then blues and alternative country in my later teens. PJ Harvey and The Smiths had a profound impact also.

What inspires you to make music?

It's a very automatic process - an idea will appear when I am quiet enough and I just let it form however it will. There's a really beautiful transcendence to creating that I find total bliss in. I guess I'm always chasing that.

Who are your favourite artists you have found yourself listening to at the moment?

Lately I've been listening to Big Joanie, Blossom Dearie and revisiting Rufus Wainwright's 'Poses' record.

How many of your songs have you written about people in your life?

I do that a lot - mostly they change shape completely and it's more their essence I'm referencing. Occasionally it's a little more direct and autobiographical. But many, many of my songs.

What has been the funniest moment in your career so far?

Arriving in a city and setting up and playing a full set to a confused room of a pub next door to the one I was booked to play in is up there for sure.

If you could open a show for anyone in the world, who would it be?

Neil Young.

If you weren’t a musician, what other path do you think you might have taken?

Research psychology and teaching.

And what is the best piece of advice you have received as a musician?

To create entirely without fear and to embrace ongoing failure in that process.


AM Shanley's debut single 'Redshifting' is available to stream and download now. Have a listen to it in the player below.