My friend Shirl has been on my mind a lot this past week since returning to the Philippines. We had only one quick catch-up while I was in Far-north Queensland and she had just won the Max T Barnes Cairns to Nashville Song Contest 2015. I am so proud of her and it has taken me until now to clear some space and really acknowledging her achievements.
I am not sure exactly where I first met Shirley Lynn, but it was at a songwriting program during Queensland Music Festival a few years back that Shirl and I really connected.
Both of us were wanting to commit more to our music so we concocted a plan to meet each week at Mondos Waterfront Bar and Grill in Cairns. Terry Doyle hosts a fantastic Songwriter’s evening on Thursdays and it is such a great platform for emerging artists to practice their skills and have an opportunity to perform.
We did just that and during that first six months, Shirl released her debut EP It’s About Time holding the launch at Mondos. The release for Shirley was a major achievement.
“I’d been consistently writing songs over the past couple of years.” Shirley says.
“I lusted to do it … to have a go at recording some of my tunes. It was on my bucket list. Each time I’d go to do it though, I’d procrastinate and stall, there was always some reason why I wasn’t ready.”
“In the process of creating the CD, I had to remind myself that learning is about the journey and not perfection alone. In fact it is better to take some steps, however small, instead of doing nothing at all.”
Launching the debut CD left Shirl able to stand tall and share her work, appreciating the experience and knowing the effort. From here Shirl has just soared including a multi-award winning song: My Kind of Paradise.
One of the things I admire most about Shirl is that she writes every day. Every single day Shirl will scribble some notes, nut out some chords and experiment. She regularly attends and participates in music camps, workshops, festivals and forums. She comes away with new skills and is constantly striving to improve her songs and the ability to write.
That type of dedication enables Shirl to write a song with purpose. So when the Port Douglas Carnival 2013 announced it’s songwriting competition, Shirl was able to write a completely new song for the event. My Kind of Paradise went on to win that competition: professionally recorded eventually attracting a Regional Arts Development Fund for the development of a music video. More recently My King of Paradise won the BEST SONG – Max T Barnes – Cairns to Nashville Song Contest 2015.
“The writing of this song was inspired by the regional North Queensland areas of Port Douglas and Cairns where a common landscape includes the rainforest meeting the sea. Such a magical part of the world. It is a paradise. My Kind of Paradise is about that and more: it is about the paradise to be found within.”
“I’m seeking to find paradise within paradise. Paradise is here.”
‘For me working as a creative is an underlying passion that continues to drive me’ ~Shirl
It’s been a few months now since I have seen Shirl, but I imagine she woke up this morning later than you (she’s a muso remember) and grabbed that guitar of hers, a cup of tea, cut some tropical fruit and sat out at the edge of her rainforest home seeking the paradise of a new song.
Love ya Shirl! You are an inspiration to all of us.
(c) 2015 Mel Irvine
Photos courtesy of Terry Doyle
Song lyrics courtesy of Shirley Lynn
Encapsulated magic 360 degrees
Ungratified senses in disdain
For the soul that makes connection that less is sometimes more
Beneath the sky dome richness pours like rain
~Shirley Lynn: My Kind of Paradise