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Shawn Colvin Biography

Home > Music > C > Colvin, Shawn > Biography

Born: 1956/01/10
Birth Place: Carbondale, Illinois, United States
Years Active: 1970s–present
Genres: Rock, Contemporary Folk

Shawn Colvin was born on January 10, 1956 in Vermillion, South Dakota and is a singer and songwriter. Colvin moved around as a child and grew up in London, Ontario and Carbondale, Illinois. By the age of ten, Colvin was playing the guitar and was heavily influenced by her father's record collection, which included artists such as Peter Seeger and the Kingston Trio. Once out of school, Colvin moved to Austin, Texas to pursue a career in music and joined a swing band called the Dixie Diesels. From Austin, Colvin moved on to the folk circuit in Illinois, and then San Francisco, California.

At the age of 24, Colvin was plagued by voice problems and took a break from singing and the music world. When she resurfaced she was in New York City and became involved in the folk music community of Greenwich Village. Playing locally in New York City, Colvin attracted a loyal following, in addition to performing in a number of off-Broadway shows, “Diamond Studs,” “Pump Boys and Dinettes” and “Lie of the Mind.”

While in New York, Colvin became friends with Suzanne Vega, and the two toured together, which resulted in Colvin being offered a record deal with Columbia Records. Colvin's debut album, “Steady On,” arrived in 1989 and won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album. Vega was featured on the album.

Colvin's second album, “Fat City,” was released in 1992 and received a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Folk Recording. The song “I Don't Know Why” was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Female Pop Vocal category.

In 1993 she moved back to Austin and in 1994 released the album “Cover Girl,” which was a collection of cover songs. In 1995 Colvin released her album, “Live 88,” which consisted of live recordings she had made in 1988.

In 1996, Colvin released her platinum certified album, “A Few Small Repairs,” and in 1997 the success of her single, “Sunny Came Home,” brought her mainstream success after spending four weeks at #1 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. Colvin won the 1998 Grammy Awards for both Song and Record of the Year. After becoming a mother Colvin released the album “Holiday Songs and Lullabies” in 1998 and in 2001 released another album called “Whole New You.” In 2004, she released another album, this time a compilation of past songs called, “Polaroids: A Greatest Hits Collection.”

In 2008, she left Columbia Records and released an album called “These Four Walls” on her new label, Nonesuch Records which featured contributions by Patti Griffin and Teddy Thompson. In 2009 she released “Shawn Colvin Live,” which was recorded at the jazz club Yoshi's, in San Francisco, California and featured 12 original songs plus cover versions of songs by Gnarls Barkley, The Talking Heads and Robbie Robertson.

Her eighth studio album, “All Fall Down,” was released in 2012 and was produced by Buddy Miller at his home studio in Nashville, Tennessee. The album featured guest appearances by Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss and Jakob Dylan.