By Tammy Sue Struble
The North American Country Music Association International picked Ashley Shannon of Zephyrhills’ CD “Read My Lipstick” as Album of the Year for 2011. In the entertainment category, she was awarded the Horizon Award for Entertainer of the Year.
Born in Dade City, Shannon sang to all the Disney movies as a toddler.
“I had a feather duster I always carried around and sang into it. I would sing with The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast.”
Shannon continued with entertainment dancing from age 3 to 12, modeling at 6, back to singing at 11. She got hooked on singing when she got her first standing ovation during a talent show at the age of 13. Shannon is 24 now.
The 2005 graduate of Zephyrhills High explained that “Read My Lipstick” is her first album with all original songs not previously sang or recorded by others; it has been out since November 2010.
Shannon was happy with the recent win, she wanted it; however, she has learned to be realistic.
“I have learned not expect a win, so I won’t be disappointed; yet, I remain positive.” Shannon could not pinpoint a favorite song off the album…she liked them all.
The young entertainer had to compete at state level to qualify for the event. Of the different age and music categories, Shannon competed against other adults 21 and older and chose traditional country and new country categories. Other categories included gospel, bands and dance.
“It’s intimidating,” she described of the competition, “so many people, so much talent, and very good competition for next year!”
When asked about stumbling blocks along the way, Shannon explained that there appear to be a lot of people making representations about who they were or how they could help her. Even when she started singing Christian music her junior year in high school, people would make promises — saying they knew someone who could help, but it wasn’t true. When singing karaoke in Nashville last year, Shannon was approached by a “tour manager” who actually gave her a web site to check out. It did not pan out and did not appear legitimate.
“Many people aren’t as legit as they say they are. Look for triggers that something’s not right,” Shannon warns others. Watch for business people who make promises without so much as a business card.
The “Read My Lipstick” CD has a mixture of traditional and new country songs and a couple with a patriotic tone. Shannon hopes to be playing on the Grand Ole Opry stage some day, “That’s what I’m shooting for.” And continued, “It’s fun. When I’m actually performing, I enjoy it. Once I’m in it, I don’t want to stop.” She does some writing, but prefers performing — and keeps an open book with her at all times, just in case. For more information, log onto www.ashleyshannon.com.