By Chris Bavender
When Shannon Hayden was 3-years-old she “decided” she was going to be a musician – a cellist at that.
“I heard how the Beatles used cello in “Eleanor Rigby” and I was sold. I bugged my parents about procuring such an instrument for me for four years before they finally decided it wasn’t some strange phase and that they better just get me a cello, and a teacher,” she said. “Neither of which are easy to come by in southern Illinois, however, so thus began the many years of commuting several hours a week for lessons.”
She credits her father for the reason she is in music today.
“His extensive album collection, exquisite musical tastes and sensibilities (he hates it when I say that but it’s true) and his never ending dedication to my musical endeavors has guided me every step of the way in becoming the kind of musician I am now,” the 24-year-old said. “Though I have had a rigorous musical training from the age of 7 through grad school, no one has ever taught me as much about music as art, creativity, writing, and music as a career than he has. Certainly no one has broadened my horizons as he has.”
Horizons that have taken her most recently to the stage as the opener for folk act Lily & Madeleine. Hayden will be in concert at 8 p.m. Oct. 25 at The Warehouse in Carmel. Her solo act uses instruments and technology for a “unique one-woman-band approach to songwriting.”
“When I started writing music for my solo show I didn’t really have the idea in mind that the music would sound like it was coming from one person. I was used to playing in orchestras, quartets, rock bands etc. and I wanted to be able to generate those kinds of sounds (and volume levels) myself,” Hayden said. “I gained my knowledge of audio gear and effects through playing lead guitar for bands and I soon started attributing that knowledge to the cello. By making use of audio manipulation, looping, and various forms of sound reproduction, I figured out you could pretty quickly achieve the sound of an orchestra with one instrument. I consider my effects rig to be my little orchestra of electronic gadgetry.”
Hayden has two solo albums – Pieces of the Sun (2010) and Solid State Cello (2012) – both recorded and produced in her solar powered studio on her family’s vegetable farm, 45 minutes west of Terre Haute.
“Family and the farm have everything to do with not only my career in music but my whole lifestyle. It’s the heart and foundation for everything I’ve ever done and will do,” she said. “My family’s decision to settle on the family farm was based on a variety of factors – sentimental attachment, environmental concerns over the regional farming practices, and also I think my dad saw our settling there as part of a larger artistic lifestyle ideal for me as well.”
Hayden doesn’t consider her music driven by any particular agenda.
“For me it’s a way of communication, it’s also a platform upon which the listener can perhaps build their own thoughts and ideas,” she said. “To me music is about setting a mood, creating a scene, inviting people to listen, reflect and then join the conversation.”
A conversation she hopes to continue well into the future.
“The consistent goals for me are to maintain a busy touring schedule, keep writing and recording, continue to involve myself with and seek out other musical projects in addition to my own as I really love working with other artists,” Hayden said. “And to continue and improve upon my knowledge of vegetable farming and sustainable living.”
Doors for Hayden’s Oct. 25th show open at 7:30 p.m. for seating. Tickets are $17 in advance at liveforthemusic.com and $20 at the door.