Amplif[ie]d | Sheyna Gee
By: Marissa Scheerer
We’re often told as we go through life and gain experience, we become more comfortable in our own skin. Local musician Sheyna Gee’s title song “I’ve Been Around” could suggest just that; and experience could certainly explain the long-time singer/songwriter’s surprisingly straight-up attitude and relatable California Country music (she has been performing since she was five). Then again, it could be her wide-ranging influences that led to success. Whatever the case—from Spice Girl’s to Janis Joplin, NASCAR to Stevie Wonder—Sheyna’s music continues to be honest and relatable, song after song, leaving you with that, as Sheyna Gee describes, “I just want to crack a beer and enjoy life kind of feeling."
Q. When did you start playing music? When did you start performing live?
Sheyna Gee: I started playing guitar when I was five, played my first gig at the Showcase Theater in Corona when I was six and wrote my first song that year. 1994/95 were glorious years for me (laughs).
Q. Do you always play solo? Have you ever been in a band?
I have a full seven-piece band [Sheyna Gee and The Boys], so I play solo or every combination of duo, trio, etc. . . . all the way up to all seven of us depending on the nature of the gig. I was in my first real band starting at 10, we were an all girl rock band called Spoiled with an ep, Who Wants Cake. I've been in various cover and original bands through out the years and played all different genres.
Q. Who are some of your main influences (musical or not)?
Musically I grew up on bands from Led Zeppelin to Sublime, Rod Stewart to Oingo Boingo, Shania Twain to The Carter Family and everything in between. You can hear multiple genres in my music and each different song I write. My style is very much a part of my music and like my musical upbringing, very [all over the place]. I was a six-years-old when Spice Girls came out, and what little girl didn't want to be one of them? But, I also wanted to be Janis Joplin, so now I get to mix it together and be who I want to be. I love rocking out on stage and channeling a little bit of all of my influences!
Q. How would you describe your sound?
I play California country music. It's feel good music everyone can listen to and relate to, gives you that, I just want to crack a beer and enjoy life kind of feeling.
Q. What are some of your most memorable performances?
Just recently we got to play NASCAR here in Fontana, and that was one of the most fun days of my life! NASCAR fans love country music and treated us so great there so we felt so at home. How can you beat a day in the sunshine hanging out with the band watching left turns? I got to open for Stevie Wonder when I was 17, which was one of the scariest things ever, but really made me feel like I'm doing what I should be doing with my life.
Q. What is your favorite part about performing?
You really can't beat the feeling of stepping on stage and getting to play your own music for people and them actually liking it. I'll never forget the first time I could see people singing the lyrics to "Alright" while we were playing a gig at Toby Keith's, and it wasn't my friends or family, it was actually strangers, fans . . . that was pretty freaking radical. There is nothing I'd rather be doing than rocking out with my bandmates and just being so in the moment that nothing else in the world matters except the song we're playing right then and entertaining the crowd for that night.
Q. If someone had never heard your music, and they were going to hear a first song—what song would you want to show them, and why?
"I've Been Around" because it's a self proclamation so you can get a pretty good idea of who I am and where I stand if you listen to the lyrics. Plus, you can sing along by the end, even if you're not listening to the lyrics. I think most people can relate too.
Q. What do you think makes your music is unique or memorable?
I say whatever I feel like saying. There's always some funny pun or just blatant statement you wouldn't typically hear out of a lady's mouth. I'm very observant so I sing what I see, everything I see.
Q. What are you working on now? What can we expect to see/hear in the near future?
To follow up the release of my previous EP Welcome to California, I'm working on having my new EP California Country, ready for a fall release. It's going to be an exciting summer. This month, I'm playing Oakheart Country Music Festival then I'm headed off to Nashville to play CMA Fest, and when I come back The Boys and I are playing 4th of July at Camp Pendleton.
Q. When's your next show in the IE where we can see you play?
I play every Tuesday [I'm in town] in Rancho Cucamonga at HK's, Eureka! Claremont on June 25th, Top of Mt Baldy Ski Lifts on July 31st, and I host Open Mic night at The Bulldog Pub in Upland every second Wednesday of the month.
Don’t miss out on a fun live experience at one of Sheyna’s many local (or far away) shows! As Sheyna Gee continues to add dates onto her show schedule, follow her at www.facebook.com/sheynagee or www.sheynagee.com to keep up, and catch more feel-good California country vibes.