Everyone is given a special talent in life. If you are familiar with today’s country music, you know that songwriter Victoria Shaw has found hers. She has had a hand in writing such favorites as Garth Brooks’ “The River,” John Michael Montgomery’s “I Love the Way You Love Me,” and Trisha Yearwood’s “Where Your Road Leads.” Plus she is a fabulous singer of her material.Everyone is given a special talent in life. If you are familiar with today’s country music, you know that songwriter Victoria Shaw has found hers. She has had a hand in writing such favorites as Garth Brooks’ “The River,” John Michael Montgomery’s “I Love the Way You Love Me,” and Trisha Yearwood’s “Where Your Road Leads.” Plus she is a fabulous singer of her material.
Proof of both abilities can be found on her projects, Victoria Shaw and In Full View. And she, along with artists such as Billy Dead, Faith Hill, Neal McCoy, Bryan White, Olivia Newton-John, Michael McDonald, and Garth Brooks, lent her talents to a special project for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, One Heart at a Time. This project is available wherever music is sold, and is very worth your time and money.
“People could really help make a miracle for under four dollars. We’ve sold over 200,000 copies so far, without radio help. That’s pretty amazing. I’d just like to stress how much farther we need to go. I think that people love having Garth Brooks and Faith Hill and all those people on it. In addition, they get to help make a miracle.” See what happens when one uses her talent in the right way?
AS: What first interested you in music and songwriting?
VS:I just always knew I wanted to be a singer, since the time I could sing. My first public performance, I think I was eight. But I didn’t know I wanted to be a songwriter until much, much, much later. It wasn’t something I thought I was going to do for a living. Music has always been a part of my life, but I got serious about songwriting when I came down to Nashville and I saw this incredible world. You know, a college of songwriting. It was the best education I ever got.
AS: In your bio you say that music was not an option, but a natural vision. When did you first discover this vision?
VS: Basically, it was just since I was a kid. I just never thought I would do anything else. I came from musical parents. When my mom’s kids were born, she just assumed they’d learn reading, writing, arithmetic, and a musical instrument. (Laughs) It’s just sort of natural.
AS: What was the first song you ever wrote?
VS: I was 12 years old, and it was called “Hollywood Glamour.” It was a song about being really famous and being really rich. It was a real fantasy song. That was the year that I formed y first band. And we did that song and every Top 40 song around.
AS: How challenging is it, being in the music business – as a singer and a songwriter?
VS: I guess it’s very challenging. You know, it’s funny that you said that, because I was just thinking about this. I was thinking, we all moan when we’re in this business; but, really, the worst day in this business is probably somebody else’s best day on their job. I try never to forget that. It can be very frustrating. It certainly can be very exciting and rewarding, but there’s a lot of nonsense that goes along with it, too. So it’s very challenging. I like it. I’m very thankful to be able to make a living at something that I love.
AS: As far as songwriting, which of your songs do you feel has been your best?
VS: The one I haven’t written yet. The one I’ll be writing today. I have favorites. I don’t have one best.
AS: What’s your favorite?
VS: I have favorites, as in plural! It would be too hard (to pick one), as like which kid do you like the best. Actually, all the hits that I’ve had have been songs that I’ve been really proud of and believed in. I’m really proud of “I Love the Way You Love Me,” because that was truly written for my wedding. It really was a personal song that was written first for me; and then, lo and behold, everybody else related to it. I still get a tremendous amount of letters about “The River.” And, actually, there’s a song that Tanya Tucker recorded of mine, “We Don’t Have to Do This.” To me, that’s one of the most well-crafted songs I, personally, have ever written. It’s always been a personal favorite.
AS: You just mentioned “The River.” Is that the song that launched your career?
VS: Not really, to be honest with you. Actually, it was amazing. I had nothing going on and within a two-and-a-half-month period, “The River” was record, “I Love the Way You Love Me” was recorded, and “Too Busy Being in Love.” They all were number one.
AS: What were your feelings when all of this happened? What were some of your emotions?
VS: I felt that God had said to me, “Okay, we’ve put you through the mill. You’ve hung out long enough. Here we go.” ‘Cause I really do believe that as long as you have talent, and if you stick to it long enough, something’s going to happen. And my waiting period was longer than the normal. And it made me laugh, because the year before, I couldn’t get arrested with a song.
AS: Your songs have an element in them that really touches people. Is this something that you strive for in your material?
VS: I try to touch me first. I guess I seem to feel a lot of universal feelings. I tend to think if I can convey a love song in a certain way that really makes me believe it, then a lot of people can relate to it. I’m pretty normal, so that’s why I think I have a knack for writing songs that other people want to hear.
AS: What was the songwriting process like for “I Love The Way You Love Me?”
VS: I got the first verse in my head – lyrics and melody – while I was driving to a gig, which is unusual for them to come so quickly. I guess I was really in love! I was thinking about my boyfriend at the time, who ended up being my husband. So I pulled over to a pay phone, and called my house. And I sang it into the phone machine, because I didn’t want to forget it. Then when I came down to Nashville to write – I would come down here like every seven weeks or so – I was introduced to a songwriter named Chuck Cannon, who was dating Lari White at the time – he is now married to her. I kind of pulled this idea out, and he loved it, and we finished it together. It was really two people who were just ga-ga in love, but not with each other, who wrote this song.
AS: So is this how the process usually works for you?
VS: It depends. I personally like interesting opening lines. Other than the hook and the chorus, that, to me, is the most important thing – totally capturing the opening line.
AS: What usually inspires you to write?
VS: Everything and anything. I’m an avid reader, and I love people. I’m very curious, and I ask too many questions, make too many opinions known. I’ve just kind of got a big appetite for people.
AS: To you, what are the key ingredients in a well-written song?
VS: Intelligent lyrics. Even if it’s a funny song, that it has to be intelligent. A great melody and that magic – that thing that we all can’t formulate, but we know it when we get it.
AS: You have recorded two albums, In Full View and Victoria Shaw. What are some of your favorite aspects about those projects?
VS: It was a dream fulfilled. I dreamt all my life about being on a major label and walking into a store and seeing my record there. That was definitely a goal that I had met. They didn’t sell as well as I had hoped, but I’m really proud of the records. I still get letters from people that bought them and loved them.
AS: One of the songs on the second project was “All for the Sake of Love.” This was nominated for an Emmy. What was that like?
VS: I was approached by a guy named Earl Rose, who writes a lot of songs for daytime dramas. They were looking for a theme song for a couple, a love song, but it had kind of an interesting story/twist/plot thing. They wanted a singer/songwriter to participate in writing the song and recording it on her album. So he was a fan of mine. He had my album and liked what he heard. He contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in writing with him. So that was fun, ‘cause I love soap operas. As a matter of fact, it taught me a lot. And to be nominated for an Emmy was just an amazing honor. I was thrilled.
AS: You have recently been working with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. How did this come about?
VS: I was approached by two friends of mine who were involved with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. They were trying to figure out a way to make more money for a medical research, and asked if I would be interesting in writing a song for them. I met with doctors, and I met with children and young adults and I found out all about this incredibly awful, terrible disease. I found out how cruel it is. But I also found out how close they feel they are to a cure. So that was very exciting. It was just a no-brainer me getting involved. It’s definitely changed my life.