#LiveSatMo-The Vision of LIAM
I am at a loss for words right now, as for me, releasing this single is a massive milestone, and I feel will prove to be an explosive catalyst into the rest of my life. This has been a desire on my heart since I can remember. Though not always verbalized, and for a long time, hiding underneath my athletic pursuits (of which I am forever grateful for), since I was as young as five, singing from my soul, and performing under the lights has provided profuse amounts of life for me. Never do I feel as present and as true to myself than when I am singing.
SatMo has been an incredible journey, one that started when I was very young, and I am grateful for every part of that journey, as I don’t think I would be writing this to you without each critical phase of the journey.
They say you can’t learn soul, you are born with it. From my very first memories, the music that gave me the most life came from legends like Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Etta James, Louis Armstrong, Sam Cooke and Tracie Chapman. For Christmas, I remember getting albums in my stocking. While my friends were getting the latest pop albums, Santa filled my stocking with Ray Charles greatest hits, Sister Act II, Stevie Wonder, and Louis Armstrong (Thank you Mom). I think what I loved most about these artists is the sense of genuine expression I could feel with every word they sang. I could feel their true soul, and it allowed me to enter their life and perspective for those 3 or 4 minutes.
As I grew, my passion for singing only expanded, although often buried underneath my athletic pursuits. Just picture young Shannon, running as hard as he could up the Manito Park hill, with his CD player in hand. What is playing (When the CD player isn't skipping)? That is right, Stevie Wonder’s Signed Sealed Delivered or Sister Act II’s Oh Happy Day. That fire fueled me. Y’all remember when three-way-calling was the business? Like you could talk to two friends at once!? Just as long as your mom didn’t try to hit up that dial up internet. (That sound still haunts me). I remember three way calling with one of my little girlfriends, her name was Alexis. Her friend Whitney was on the other line, and Alexis had me sing some Usher Confessions. Whitney’s response was priceless. “He’s not that cute, but the white boy can sing” Haha and that basically explains my childhood.
When I was in high-school, I decided to bring my passion for singing up to the surface, by joining the praise and worship team at my church. This experience offered an amazing amount of growth as it allowed me to explore what connecting to my creator with my voice felt like. My current pastor once said that the totality of our Christian faith is becoming who God has already created us to me-Becoming our full and true self. Never do I feel as true to myself, and as close to God, then when I am singing.
Before I moved to South Africa in 2014, I knew with a deep sense of confidence that using this voice of mine to serve this wonderful planet we live in was what I wanted and what I was supposed to do. I went over to South Africa to serve to and with some of the most incredible human beings I have ever met. Not only did I gain another family of brothers and sisters in that year, but I also gained a more diverse and cultured perspective. Being displaced from my home into one of the most diverse countries in the world changed me forever, in more ways than I can probably think of. My world has grown smaller, and my love for my neighbors has expanded. With such immediate shifts to my worldview, something very important happened; I now had nowhere else to put my words, my thoughts, and my feelings, except on paper and in song. This was the missing piece for me, I was now writing songs, most days. The first song I wrote, was to ask Natalie to marry me. I struggled for years to put a single word into a melody, but as soon as my walls were stripped away, the deepest parts of my heart and soul flooded the blank canvas. She said yes, by the way. And since that song, I have written hundreds and hundreds of songs, most of which you will never hear. But every once in a while, a song like SatMo surfaces.
I wrote SatMo, along with most of the songs that will accompany SatMo on the album, during 2015/2016. It was during the first year and a half of our marriage, while we were living in a 500 Square Foot apartment, located on top of a garage wood shop in an old couple’s back yard. My wife was working admin jobs to help put me through school, as I was working towards my MBA. I was not able to work, other than my job coaching the track team, which paid for my tuition. It was very tempting and easy to look at this time in our lives and complain about the space we did not have, the privacy we often did not have, the money we did not have, the jobs we did not have, the things we did not have, and the places we had not been. And we often found ourselves focusing on those things, and it created such poor energy.
I think it is part of our human character to find the closest comfort, and the easiest way out when our circumstances are uncomfortable, painful, and stressful. We are very entitled creatures, and think we deserve constant comfort. Which is so backwards, because those are the times that assist in the development of who we are as people. Those are the times we must be fully present, fully aware of, and grateful for. The perilous times in our lives are incredibly important, essential for our growth, and so so special. We only find perfection, within the peril.
Every day we had to choose, to be grateful for all that we did have, including the uncomfortable circumstances, as we discovered then, and we know now, that God has us right where we are for a purpose. Rather than day dreaming about where we want to be, we decided to soak up everything God had for us in those precious moments. The only way to fully realize our true potential, we must be wholeheartedly present in each part of our journey. I have come to realize that only then can we be fully prepared to accomplish all those massive dreams on our hearts. How unfortunate it would be if we came to those dreams completely unprepared for the daunting responsibilities that come with them. It is fun and easy to talk about the concept of living out one of your dreams, but to realize those amazing opportunities, you must be willing and able to protect them.
SatMo, it is short for Saturday Morning, but it stands for much more than just a day in the week. It honors the life gained from remaining completely in the present moment, it celebrates the simplicity that is often overlooked, and it rejoices over the tough times, because they are the good ol days, friends.
In February of 2017, I graduated with my Masters of Business Administration. I knew, from the time I returned from South Africa, that this MBA would not be in vein, rather it would be a solid foundation for me as an artist to build my brand and provide a solid foundation for the launch of the dream that has consumed me since I was 5. In July, my wife and I made the huge leap into this dream. We booked a ticket to Nashville, TN to get this single produce. My time in Nashville was an incredible experience. Robbie Artress, who is my best friend’s cousin, is a brilliant producer and engineer. He and his boys, Alex Zimmermann, and Matt Chancey did an incredible job of pulling this song that I wrote on my guitar out of my brain and heart, into a full band production. It was always meant to be a huge project, a celebration, and that is exactly what we created those four days in the studio. I spent the next five months creating a comprehensive marketing strategy to launch my brand, and ship this single to the moon. I am thankful for my MBA for this reason, as well as my incredibly talented and brilliant friends who gave me feedback. Peter Delap helped me announce this single in smashing fashion with a tightly produced video. (link)
NOW CAN WE PLEASE TALK ABOUT THE RELEASE PARTY!? OH MY SOUL, Y’ALL! That night will go down as one of the greatest nights of my life, and let me tell you why.
I fully and wholeheartedly believe that God has unique purpose and meaning for each and every person on this beautiful green earth. Something my pastor once said that has stuck with me is that the totality of our faith is becoming who God has already created us to be-becoming who we already are (already said that, but s'free cunsh). This life is a journey to our true and full potential, the one that God has already created for us. I believe that we can experience glimpses of that perfection, and to me those moments are when we feel completely present and completely real. Some call it out of body, which makes sense, it is a hard feeling to explain. My wife and I went out on a hot date to celebrate the release party, and all I could say was that it was so real…I felt so real, I felt completely true and genuine, and completely me. I felt SO CLOSE TO GOD, and the person He created me to be. It was so clear to me, to my wife, and I think to everyone who was at Vessel Coffee Roasters the evening of January 12th, 2018. I get freakin chills whenever I think about that night.
My wife and I have been deep in the crags, scraping our knees, slipping up the jagged rocks, with no clear sight of where we were going, just a blind hope…we have just been climbing, faithfully, step by step, in the dark, under the trees…but at this release party, we both felt that we came up out of the trees, and found ourselves on a small peak…we felt the fresh, clear air, we could see how far we have climbed, we could see how beautiful it was, and we could finally see with such a clear perspective, where we are headed. The vision was so clear, my people. It was rejuvenating, replenishing, it instilled massive amounts of courage within us, and now we are more motivated than ever. And the awesome part is that none of that would have happened without my people. Without all of you, deciding to be fully present with us. So thank you, to all of you who have believed in this vision and mission. We love you so much. It is clear that we need to move onward and upward, and I know very well that I will only get more difficult-steeper cliffs to climb-We need each and every one of you, if we are going to enter back into this climb, so this is my call to action-That you would all relentlessly support this vision, even when I feel like turning around, remind me of the vision.
As soon as we started Six String..that indescribable feeling consumed me….I felt so completely free. Like I was finally able to be my full self, and it gave me so much energy. I felt like anything I wanted to do (with my voice), I could just do it…there was no judgement from myself, just freedom. I felt deep connection with every one of my band mates. All 15 of them, during this three-song set, I felt I got to be fully in the present with each one of you uniquely…and that just gave me more energy. Looking out into the audience, I could tell no one knew what to do with all of the energy floating around…and I was amazing to see…I could feel the energy everybody was experiencing…I sound so hippie, but this is truly what I felt.
This night was so full circle! Like I said, each and every phase of my journey leading up to this night was so crucial, and It was so amazing to see each phase show up in its own way. I could taste the Ray Charles in my songs, the Sister act II in my 16 piece band, the Stevie Wonder in my record.
My deep value for diversity and culture was brightly honored by the amazing group, Shades of Africa. These seven women are incredibly talented, and so amazing. I will forever savor the moments shared with Mutsa, Mirabel, Eniola, Misikir, Karen, Canni, and Michell who represent four different countries! So amazing.
All of the songs performed came from the most genuine and pure part of me, my wife. It was so special to celebrate that beautiful woman, the one who has elevated me beyond my imagination. The one who helped give this night the flavor it deserved (organizing freaking everything from Donuts, to balloons, to all the small things that made it so special). My entire family showed up, and they were all so incredibly helpful…and so supportive. Basically every part of my life was represented by the amazing people that created that life for me.
MY BAND WAS MY CHURCH!? That is so amazing…my freaking boss ass drummer is my pastor. My best friend was one of my shredders (Austy), Steven Bodeauboy-one of the men who has believed in my music for forever was the other shredder, Danny…the man that when I saw him, I immediately knew he would someday produce music with me…was my key player. When I was writing down the business plan for this song, the first person to enter into my mind as a band member was Tommy Okura, and he was freaking there with his homie Billy and they absolutely slayed. Taelor, a vocal powerhouse was my back up vocs!? Come on somebody! The experience of directing this incredible talented band was an honor, and a huge learning curve for me. We put together parts for three songs in only three rehearsals…and they nailed each song. So incredible. Y’all are so brilliant, and if anybody is looking of an example of how the people around you elevate you…RIGHT HERE BABY! They took these songs that I wrote on my guitar, and turned them into full productions, and they did it while translating Shannon words into actual musical terms. I am so lucky.