"The dream started here," says Shea Fisher, smiling as she recalls her first visit to the United States at age 10. Her father, a champion bull rider, had brought the family from Australia as he chased his own dreams, but it was American country music that caught Shea's imagination. A champion barrel racer herself, Shea had become a huge fan of Reba McEntire while in Australia, but her world changed when she first heard Shania Twain's music while performing in a school play in tiny Elida, New Mexico.
"I sang 'Any Man of Mine' before I even knew who Shania was," she says. "Then I bought her album, and from then on I was the kid who wound the window down and sang at the top of her lungs. I remember seeing her perform on TV and thinking, 'I want to be that one day. I want to do that.'"
Ten years later, just 21 years old, Shea is fulfilling that dream, introducing her own brand of cutting-edge country to American music fans. In between, she followed a path Reba knew well, singing the national anthemin this case Australia'sat rodeo events, then hitting the road to pay the dues that would earn her a growing legion of fans as she polished her performing and songwriting skills.
Her American debut, Shea, showcases an emerging artist with a clear sense of identity, combining youthful energy and a seasoned performer's way with a lyric. They are qualities that made her the first female signing to Stroudavarious Records.
"The minute I heard Shea's music, I knew I wanted to sign her," says label head and founder James Stroud. "Our label is all about the music, and Shea comes to the table with her A-game. She has done what many young artists don't accomplish until later, which is to find her own voice and make a record that reflects her vision."
The album, co-produced by Richard Landis (known for his work with Vince Gill, Kenny Rogers and Neal Diamond, amongst others) and Australian country artist and producer Steve Forde, is a journey through an upbeat landscape of love and life, with songs like "A Little Bit Of Love," "Being With My Baby" and "Another Day In The Sun" celebrating the pure joy of romance. "Getaway Heart" looks at a woman's reaction to a non-committal man while "What He Did To Me" is nothing less than the classic revenge song, sung with justifiable satisfaction. Adding depth to the mix are songs like "Children," a look at the trials and anguish faced by so many young people in a troubled world, and "You Will," an exhortation to all of us to reach for our dreams.
The project's first single, "Don't Chase Me," is a hook-laden bit of fun Shea describes as "girl-empowering" and which, she says, she can relate to.
"When I first heard the song," she says with a laugh, "I thought, 'How did they know this was about me?'" In fact, she looked throughout the process for songs that meant something to her.
"I was looking for variety," she says, "but most importantly I wanted to be singing about things I can relate to. I wanted to deal with real issues, so there are songs about young love, heartbreak, relationships, self-motivation, and one that offers a reflection on the world's problems."
Shea's journey toward the country charts began not long after her birth in Victoria, Australia. In fact, her talents on two fronts were evident at a very young age. She was just 3 when, influenced by her parents (rodeo champion father Eddie Fisher and barrel racing champion mother, Joanne), she began competing inand winningbarrel racing competitions.