AshesIt’s official…  I’m releasing a second piano album this summer.  As promised last week, I’m revealing the title: Out of Ashes.

When I first discussed my intentions for a second album in June, I didn’t know how I could ever again make another album as good as Airborne was.   I had no title, theme, or storyline for this next album, and I was at a loss as to how to move forward without a plan.

So many artists struggle with the so-called “sophomore album.”  You have your whole life to make the first album, but for the second, you maybe have two years—plus, you’re burned out from making the first album.  Could I ever throw myself into a second album the way I did for my first one?

In a post from June, I decided outright that, even though I couldn’t do Airborne again, I could do another album with its own style and theme—even though I had no idea what that theme would be.

Eerily, a few hours after I published that post, some bad things happened to my family.  Suddenly, I was thrown down into the ashes, with no chance of releasing my second album before the end of 2014.

What happened is far too difficult to explain, and I still have a hard time talking about it.  All you need to know is that I feel like the Phoenix that caught on fire—and then rose up from the ashes.  Thus, my new album is Out of Ashes.

I really wasn’t planning on doing an album about the ordeal.  I was hoping to forget the trauma of it and go on with life as it was before, (as much as I could, anyway).  Yet it seems that what happened has forever changed me and has left an indelible mark on my work.

Even so, Out of Ashes is not about sitting in the sadness of the ashes.  It’s an album about rising up from them—it’s full of hope and will be a journey unlike any other.  I’m going to take my listeners from a happy time at the beginning, through the waves of pain and denial and confusion, through glimmers of hope, through the heartbreak and reality of not being able to forget, and finally through overcoming.

From a musical perspective, I’ve been exploring new harmonic structures and have gotten more adventurous with everything in general.  I’ve had the benefit of two years of composition and piano studies in college.  The lyricism of Airborne is still present in many of my new pieces, but there’s a whole new depth to my composing, and I don’t shy away from more unusual textures.

Yes, it’s true that Out of Ashes is not the sophomore album I expected—it’s going to be more powerful and beautiful than anything I could’ve imagined.  As I work towards releasing the project in July, I hope you will join me on this journey.  And I hope you will enjoy this album as much as I’m enjoying writing it.

With four pieces done and three more on their way, there is much more to discuss in future posts.  See you soon!

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About Shelby Rawlings Blalock

I'm a 22-year-old composer, pianist, audio engineer, student, and GRAMMY Camp 2012 alum––a Charlottesville native making my way in Nashville! I write music for orchestra and small ensembles, but my debut solo piano album Airborne is available now on iTunes.

One response »

  1. […] soon, I’ll get past this.  I’m still planning for a second album this summer!  But first, I need to remember it’s called a “summer vacation“ for […]

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