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Shawn Lee


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Shawn Lee is a multi-instrumentalist from Kansas. He has also released work as Shawn Lee’s Ping Pong Orchestra and his current touring project is called AM & Shawn Lee.

Talent will out, they say, but sometimes the exit route is a long and winding road. For Shawn Lee, the journey began in Wichita, Kansas.

Shawn grew up in a rural area on the outskirts of the city. His mother is half Lebanese, half American Indian, his father Irish-American. While his peers got off on cheesy corporate rock and the kind of line-dancing tunes recently fashionable in Gap ads, Shawn was groovin’ to the blaxploitation funk Sly and the Isleys. Later, his local Baptist Church widened his appreciation of black music, but when he sang in its gospel choir, he discovered some of his white ‘friends’ were racists who disapproved. “Fuck this,” he thought. “I’m leaving the Mid-West” It was 1988.

Next stop Los Angeles. Already an able multi-instrumentalist (guitar,drums,bass,etc) Shawn now set about developing his songwriting. There were bands, publishing deals, relationships and day jobs: more notches on the bedpost of experience. This period also saw Shawn befriend the late Jeff Buckley, and somebody, somewhere has a tape of them jamming “Honky Tonk Woman” Be sure that Buckley would have recognized Shawn’s talent.

In 1995, Shawn moved to London, where he recorded his solo debut. For all the wrong reasons, the album was never released. It was soul destroying; a bit like somebody erasing 3 years of your life.” Resolving to write and record on his own terms, Shawn kept working.


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