Shakey Graves: 'Your Music Is Always Valid'

Masterclass

We recently had the pleasure of welcoming Austin-born singer-songwriter and actor, Shakey Graves, to BIMM Dublin for a highly entertaining Masterclass.

Shakey, whose real name is Alejandro Rose-Garcia, has played sold-out shows across the globe and, ahead of his show at Whelan’s and subsequent tour, the talented musician stopped by our Dublin campus to speak to the students.

The Masterclass covered a wealth of topics, including Shakey’s steady rise to fame, his songwriting process, his inspirations, future plans and artist development. Joined by local music promoter (and part of BIMM Dublin’s Events and Guests team) Shauna Watson, Shakey spoke with enthusiasm about his glittering music career.

We learned about the Texan troubadour’s early beginnings and playing shows in his bedroom, before gaining a cult following. His soulful voice and electrifying performances have been a key factor in his success, winning him such accolades as ‘Emerging Artist of the Year’ at the Americana Music Awards.

Our packed audience of BIMM students listened with intent as the relaxed, confident and amusing raconteur waxed lyrical about his creative process and life on the road.

Following the interview-leg of the Masterclass, Shakey treated the crowd to a foot-stomping performance of several songs. He even took to the room’s drum kit to play a new song he has been “working on”, showcasing his talents as a one-man-band.

The singer then answered a series of thoughtful questions from our BIMM students, who asked all about his creative process and surviving as an artist in this day and age. Replying to a question about why he’s leaned more toward a career in music than acting, Shakey revealed:

“With acting, you have to have an audience. You don’t have a bad day and think, “I’m gonna do some sonnets”. Music, however, is an intensely therapeutic thing. No one can ever hear what you write, and it’s still completely valid. You can go through the recording process, and it’s still valid. Or you can play to a building full of people, and it’s still valid.”

On his first major break, Shakey told the group of his time playing two-hour live shows in a not-so-glamorous venue.

“I did a two-hour set residency at happy-hour in this dirty bar and just learned how to play my music for two hours. I did that until I was booked for some shows, then I was booked for some bigger shows…it was step by step.”

Following the session, we caught up with Shauna and BA4 Vocals student Fiona Harte to get their thoughts on the Masterclass. Shauna praised the singer for his invaluable and refreshing advice:

“Without even realising it, he gave the musicians some of the best advice I’ve heard from any guest that we’ve had in BIMM Dublin, such as what made him not give up on fulfilling that drive to release music and become a successful musician, and that it’s okay to take a step back from music or a career when you feel like you’re done.”

Echoing her comments, Fiona spoke of the Masterclass being inspiring:

“One thing that I particularly took from the master class was his dedication to never giving up on his craft, specifically the point he made about how important it is that musicians make music for themselves first, before worrying about if consumers will buy into it. An extremely knowledgeable artist, he was a pleasure to be a part of the masterclass!”

We’d like to give huge thanks to Shakey for taking the time out to encourage and inspire our BIMM students and to wish him all the best with the remainder of his tour in Europe and the US.


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