Daily Discovery: Heather Youmans, “Shine”

With her sunny disposition, laid-back vibe and positive can-do lyrical sense, LA-based Heather Youmans is the essence of a Southern California singer/songwriter.  “Hold your head up / Honey let your hair down / Don’t you cover up who you’re trying to impress now,” Youmans sings in “Shine,” a one-take live and uncut video performance shot in the hills of Los Angeles. Accompanied by her husband, Jon MacLennan, on acoustic guitar, the video was filmed as a setup for her upcoming full-band studio record, scheduled for release in early 2020. “I wanted listeners to focus on the song and message with no frills.”

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Heather Youmans (Photo credit: Chris Wood)

A multi-instrumentalist (bass, piano, guitar, vocals) who cites Kelly Clarkson, P!nk, Joss Stone and Clint Black as influences, Youmans began her music career in her teens. Her music has been featured on several movie soundtracks, including Moondance Alexander, Flicka 2, Marley & Me: The Puppy Years as well as spins on Radio Disney. She has opened for Sting and Natalie Cole and was part of the 2012 season of American Idol, where she received her golden ticket with a performance of “Some Kind of Wonderful,” written by one of her songwriting idols, Carole King. “It’s the simplicity and honesty of her songwriting. Carole King, in my opinion, does that better than any other songwriter.”

Interestingly, “Shine” (co-written with Maria Gironas), has its origins not at a planned writing session but at a baseball game. “A few months ago I was out in San Francisco with a really good friend of mine and on a whim, we decided to go to a San Francisco Giants game. During the game we had been talking about our younger selves, reflecting on our experiences both good and bad. We got to talking about our 10-year reunions and I asked her, ‘are you going to go?’ And then we delved into this conversation about what we wish we could’ve told our younger selves, which became the basis for the song, “Shine.” It ended up being something more deeply rooted than what we expected.”

Youmans hopes younger women will find solace and strength in the song’s message.  “Growing up, a lot of people deal with anxiety, social pressures and, looking back, there are moments when I wished my older self could’ve told younger me ‘hey, take a deep breath, this too shall pass,’ and just remember that what’s inside is what really makes you shine. Young women need to be told that they are enough and that they are so beautiful. I hope this song brightens the day of some strong woman out there finding her way through life. I want her to know that she’s never alone – ever.”

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