Tampa artist Shelby Bond has been in love with singing and songwriting since she was a child, but there was a time in the recent past when she wasn’t doing much of either. A toxic relationship was to blame. The cure? Getting back to that first love.
She released a single called “Blessing” earlier this year – her first release in two years – and it was that song that helped her come out of her shell. “I pretty much wrote it and then went in and recorded the next day, but it took me a few months to completely finish it because I kept coming back and adding little touches,” she says. “I hadn’t been writing or singing for a really long time and I was coming out of one of those toxic relationships. I wrote that song and it definitely put a cap on the pain from coming out of those situations. It definitely helped me heal.
”She sums up the situation in the song’s opening line: I’m a blessing, you were a curse. Let you into my life, things started getting worse.
It’s got a melancholic vibe, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel. And Bond has found it. Now she’s prepping her debut album for release next year. It’ll feature up to a dozen tracks showcasing her mix of genres and styles, including alternative R&B and pop. She counts Amy Winehouse, Sinead Hartnett, Sabrina Claudio and Jorja Smith among her biggest influences. She’s continued dropping singles, too. After “Blessing” came “Burnt Out,” and then “Option” and “Unhinged.” All four will appear on the full project. “There’s no specific genre on this album, it’s just all over the place in a good and exciting way,” she says. Most of the topics she writes about come from realized experiences, especially relationships. “Option” was inspired by a guy who wasn’t taking her seriously and kept blowing off plans. “Not appreciating me,” she says. “And I just decided I didn’t want to be in that situation anymore. So I wrote the song, and then let that guy go.
”“Relationships, that’s just an easy one for me,” she says. “Some things like ‘Burnt Out’ I wrote about being tired of doing all this work and life getting overwhelming. But you’ve got to keep going. I’ve written some club music that’s just about going out and having fun. I’ve got a couple love songs, happy stuff.
”The music is already resonating with a growing audience. “Blessing” has been played more than 130,000 times on Spotify alone, and “Unhinged” earned tens of thousands of plays in a matter of days. She’s heard from listeners who even cried to some of her songs. “I don’t want to make anybody shed tears, but it was flattering that I could touch people like that,” she says. Back when she was experiencing those toxic relationships, Bond decided to start living her life for herself – and get back to doing what she’s passionate about. For now that means grinding out studio sessions to finish her album, and she’s got some words of wisdom for everybody else. “Stay true to yourself,” she says. “Know your worth.
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