Montgomery County-based folk singer-songwriter Shellee Coley—a Conroe native—wrote a song titled “Tonight,” about the recent devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey. The full song and video can be found on her website.
Coley has been to Nashville and back writing songs, teaching others and working on music of her own.
“I always thought I would go to Nashville and be famous,” Coley said.
After spending some time in Nashville creating music for other artists through single-song agreements, Coley decided she did not enjoy the business side of the music industry, she said.
“If you just want to be a crank-them-out, country hits writer, then I think that’s the way to go because they put accountability on you,” Coley said. “That’s just not the songwriter that I am, but I think there’s value to the ones that are.”
Coley took a hiatus from the music business altogether and did not release her first album—“The Girl the Stencil Drew”—until 2009.
She made the album after moving to Montgomery County to start a label, Magnolia Red, Coley said.
“I just made up my own way to do it,” Coley said. “I don’t care about being famous, but I really want to do music.”
“I don’t like performing,” she said. “I like to write songs, and I like sharing the songs, but I’m nervous before every show. It’s a lot of work for me, but I [have] to share the song.”
In addition to writing songs and making her own records, Coley teaches in various capacities throughout the year. This summer, she has taught two songwriting camps, and she teaches children in one-on-one settings yearround, she said. Recently, more women have become interested in taking classes from Coley, she said.
“When you’re a stay-at-home mom with a three-year-old, you don’t have any kind of creative outlet,” Coley said. “I would probably say I’m more passionate about [providing that outlet] than even music sometimes. If there’s some creative practice you’re doing every week—especially as a female—it helps.”
A lot of subject matter in Coley’s repertoire involves her faith and being a mom, she said. Although she did not want to be limited to a Christian- or mother-based audience, Coley has embraced that her music resonates with these groups, she said.