Alongside her thoughtful lyrics and skilled vocals, it’s the details that make Shelly Bhushan’s music so compelling.
From the careful crescendos of “Unrequited Love Song” to the piano riffs behind “Midnight Groove,” the Long Island City-based singer/songwriter’s music demonstrates a specific attention to the subtleties of sound.
According to Bhushan, small audio details tend to permeate her writing from the beginning of the process.
During recording sessions with her bandmates Harry Cordew, Ben Hoffstein and her husband John Celentano in her Long Island City home, “we were even influenced by the sounds outside the apartment – the Blue Jays singing, the train in the distance,” Bhushan said.
Even the budding of a plant in her apartment gave her the structure for her latest album, “Something Out Of Nothing.”
“I was staring at this budding house plant and thought, isn’t it amazing that this little plant was just a seed, nothing and all of a sudden is living and breathing and amazing… just like us! And this opened my eyes to see the world in a new way. It was awesome,” she said.”
Bhushan said she came to the City about 15 years ago, initially with intentions to focus on singing, but caught the songwriting bug.
“I didn’t really think that songwriting was truly in my future, although I always wanted to do it,” she said. “The band I moved to New York for broke up and my independent spirit couldn’t live with the idea of depending on anyone else for songs, so I started writing.”
“At the same time, I also started living this New York City life. A life of ups and downs and crazy experiences; as a result, living in the City influenced all of my songwriting,” she added.
This influence comes through in her songs, which span genre and style and throughout the course of her career have touched on a variety of moods and experiences. Bhushan said that “Something Out Of Nothing” – which was recorded almost entirely in Long Island City – represents a thematic shift in her songwriting, from brooding topics to a more positive outlook.
However, constant throughout all of Bhushan’s work is an impressive range in both her vocal and writing abilities, perhaps due to the scope of her artistic influences.
“I’m influenced by everything,” Bhushan said, citing Aretha Franklin, Hall and Oats, contemporary pop and Yo Gabba Gabba, which she has been listening to lately with her 12-month-old.
Bhushan said she is working on new material and looking forward to getting started on a new record or EP. Queens residents can catch her at LIC Bar on March 25, and she will also be performing in Harlem at The Shrine on Feb. 6 and Silvana on March 13.
To keep up with news about Bhushan’s work and performances, visit www.shellybhushan.com.