Los Angeles pop artist, Shauna Brittenham, has just released her new video for her first single, "Uh Oh". Check the video out now!
Even at the tender age of 8, Shauna Brittenham captivated audiences with her stellar singing voice and approachable allure. Of course, admits the singer-songwriter, her crowd back then was a little stuffy: "Every day after school, I´d come home and set up all my dolls and stuffed animals and I´d put on a show for them," Shauna recalls with a laugh. "I´d sing songs that my mother loved, like ´Johnny Angel.´"
Jumping ahead a few decades finds more lively fans in Shauna’s corner, enthralled by Dreamer’s Dream, the brand-new 11-song album (plus a bonus track) featuring the irresistible first single, “Uh Oh,” a bouncy old-fashioned pop gem that would make Adele proud. On the tune, Shauna’s pure voice lilts easily between husky and soaring as she laments and examines a turbulent relationship, and apologizes in case she happens to “storm off the train like a small hurricane.” Produced and mixed by Kosta Lois, Dreamer’s Dream features Shauna’s lyrical and melodic compositions, rendered musically by such luminaries as guitarist Jacques Brautbar (Phantom Planet), multi-instrumentalist Ben Peeler (The Wallflowers, Shakira), drummer Gary Mallaber (Bruce Springsteen, Van Morrison), bassist Shawn Davis (Nikka Costa, Lenny Kravitz) and Lois on piano and keyboards.
But the road to Dreamer’s Dream was not a smooth one. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Shauna likely could have enjoyed a quick path thriving music career. That is, if her conscience hadn’t interfered. “At 14, I went on a volunteering trip to Africa. Seeing the primitive approach to life that focused on necessity-based existence gives you new perspective,” she explains. Disenchanted and hit with culture shock upon her return to California, Shauna dropped out of school at 15 for some heavy soul-searching, home-schooling and reality questioning. However, she quickly earned her GED, and at 16, moved across country to attend college at Furman University. Despite her lifelong obsession with music—Shauna took singing lessons at 9, was in school musicals and grew up grooving to Bob Marley, the Doors, Phish, Janis Joplin, Aretha Franklin and U2–she chose to get a degree in Political Science.
While music was clearly her calling, Shauna had other dreams to fulfill: Children and teaching were an equal love and mission. Post-college, Shauna aspired to live overseas and work in international development, but did nonprofit fundraising in Boston to preserve indigenous rights, in addition to the usual array of post-college jobs before she rejoined her mother, then living in Park City, Utah.
The “twists and turns, confusion and spontaneity” that characterized Shauna’s 20s lend a deeper flavor to the 11 songs on Dreamer’s Dream, as she sings in the title track, “Sometimes I don’t know which is real / What I see or what I feel / Or maybe something in between / What lover’s call a dreamer’s dream.” When she seriously began to pursue music in her 20s, it was in a Park City library, not the usual venue for a gorgeous and whip-smart LA-bred singer-songwriter. But nothing Shauna has done is typical, and she’s frank about the time it took to find her voice and place on stage. “I was 21 when I first started going to an open mic at a public library. I couldn’t even sing with my eyes open, I was so shy,” she confesses. But talent will out, and the humble performer was quickly snapped up as a backup singer for a local performer, and began more seriously writing her own material. At one of the open mic sessions, a Nashville-bred producer spotted Shauna’s unique talent, and took her immediately to the studio to record her first batch of songs. The first song Shauna wrote and co-produced, “Take A Chance,” earned airplay on KPCW radio and was included on a CD of popular local musicians. She was subsequently offered a prestigious opportunity to record in Knoxville. Yet, she still remained conflicted over her desire to teach and seek a broader world-view. Yet she was concurrently a not-atypical 20-something woman writing love songs and experiencing life and heartbreak. However, she stresses, laughing: “I have noble aspirations!”
Plus, a talent that couldn’t be held back. Still, at 21 she wound up in San Francisco, doing Montessori teacher training. Nearly broke, the student cut an under-the-table deal with a local Best Western hotel—she lived in a room, ate with the staff, paid what she could, and helped out around the hotel to earn her keep. A fortuitous meeting with a band performing in the hotel’s banquet hall found Shauna a new guitar collaborator/producer in Filipino musician Ezra Maling, who had won the equivalent of a Grammy in his home country. The prolific pair eventually wrote and recorded 20 songs in the span of a year, and in fact, Maling was the first to accompany Shauna on her song “Dreamer’s Dream.”
Inspired and again, always seeking, Shauna returned to her hometown to teach, began vocal lessons with Steven Memel (clients include Adam Levine of Maroon 5; Taryn Manning), and without much fanfare, in 2009, released her debut album. Entitled The Lonely, the soulful, 12-song CD featured the single “Sofie,” as well as the starkly emotive “When I’m Pretty,” which is redone acoustically on Dreamer’s Dream. Redolent of darkly confessional songs by gifted girl favorites including A Fine Frenzy, Alanis Morissette, Norah Jones and Fiona Apple, Shauna explains that “When I’m Pretty” is about “the pressure I put myself in a tumultuous, sexy relationship. When I wrote that song, I was feeling angry about my own expectations, compounded by magazines and television.” Shauna turned those emotions into such poignant lyrics as: “Real women choke, real women die, when a woman’s taking back her life she knows how to say goodbye. Goodbye.” Coupled with Dreamer’s Dream’s engaging first single “Uh Oh” (snapped up for use in Westside Rentals commercial) and 10 other soulful, timeless tunes (plus the bonus cut “Just Want You Want”) Shauna is beginning another phase in her already storied life. It may have been a long and winding road for the idealistic young singer-songwriter, but the payoff is clear in every note and word of Dreamer’s Dream. With a strong new backing band, a visually stunning video for “Uh Oh,” and upcoming Los Angeles gigs at venues such as Hotel Café and Genghis Cohen, as one of her song titles states, the unique talent that is Shauna Brittenham is indeed beginning her “New Dream.”