Shannon Branch - What I Came Here For



Country

Charlottesville
Virginia
United States



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Artist Biography

Raised in the small town of Stuarts Draft Virginia, I fell in love with music at a very early age, particularly Country Music. I loved to hear the sounds that my father provided of such greats as Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn, and Hank Williams. 
 
  But it was Haggard that really stood out to me the most, and would become the greatest influence of my young musical life.
 
I first discovered I loved singing when I was on the road with my dad, who was a truck driver. I spent hours looking out the passenger side window at the highway and cars and found myself singing along with Waylon, and Merle. Most kids my age were singing more child friendly songs, I was walking around singing songs like “Good Hearted Woman”, “Okie From Muskogie” and “Fighting  Side of Me”. 
 
On the weekends, I spent hours with my dad sitting at the kitchen table listening to 8 tracks of George Jones, and Merle Haggard, I loved every minute of it. 
My Dad may have been the one who influenced the music I listened to, but my voice, was passed down from my mama. She sang in church on Sundays, and I, just like everyone else in church was in awe every time she got up to sing. My mom always sang. It made her happy, it also made me happy.
 
The dream of actually being a singer though, didn’t really hit me until after high school, as I went through many musical phases. I listened to everything from Gospel to Pop, Rap, Rock, Heavy Metal, and finally back to Country.  Around that time my new favorites became Clint Black, George Strait, Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks, and a little later Kenny Chesney.
 
I bought my first guitar at age 18, and began learning chords to my favorite songs, but was way too shy to ever play for anyone until about the age of 22 or 23. Life seemed to always put my dreams on the back burner.  I became a father in my early 20’s. Factory work afforded little time to try and start a band and play out. Mainly I just played for friends and family.
 
In 2009 at the age of 35, I suffered being laid off of work, and a spinal cord stroke that would leave me with chronic pain, and nerve damage that would make it nearly impossible to work.   My wife encouraged me then that now is the time to concentrate on music. I began writing and singing my very own songs. I became addicted to it! A little later I met, through my brother, Richard Smith, a software engineer who was also a musician and owned a studio. 
 
I presented him my songs and we began crafting and creating arrangements for them. Soon we started making plans to create a real EP of my very own Country music!! In the mean time I had started a band and began playing whenever and wherever I could. 
I would define my sound as a great mixture of classic and modern Country coming from the heart with a twist of fun.
 
Not sure where this journey will lead, but I do know that each step is my blessing and I plan on enjoying it to the end!  
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Jaqueline Martinez

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