Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Shaylen (Carroll) grew up in Allen, a suburb of Dallas, Texas. It was there that she first began performing, singing in church, and acting in local children’s theater. She also sang in her school choir and took private vocal, piano, and guitar lessons.
A powerhouse vocalist at a young age, Shaylen has always had music in her soul. Almost as soon as she was born, she was singing. “I wouldn’t walk, I wouldn’t talk, but I would sing,” she admits.
She had her introduction to performing at the ripe age of seven, singing a solo of “Bringing in the Sheaves” at her church. “I just remember it was the first time in my early years where anything and everything made sense in those three minutes of being on stage, and the closest I’ve ever felt to God,” Shaylen shares, “And I just knew in that exact moment this is what I’m gonna do and no one is gonna stop me. And every time I’m on stage it’s the exact same feeling. I don’t think I will ever get tired of it.”
At age eleven, the artist tried out for a Christian pop group and they did Christian shows across all of Texas. By the time she was 14, they had a television show created around them. The first pilot episode was filmed at the Fellowship of the Woodlands church. A year later they got a call and learned that it got picked up for 27 more episodes. The show, The Wannabes, featuring the pop band, Savvy, follows the lives of classical performing arts high school students who want to be pop stars.
Because of this, Shaylen didn’t go to high school as she completed her school via home school on the set of the show. Upon turning 18, she permanently moved to LA to pursue her pop career full-time. She quickly learned how fast you can be on top of the world and how fast it can be ripped away from you.
Publishing and record label deals came and went until last year when she hit rock bottom. They told her, “Go write for people in Nashville.” She parted ways with her label and management and headed to Music City.
And while she pursued pop music for more than ten years, Shaylen is no stranger to the world of country music. Growing up with the voices of icons from Elvis to Ella Fitzgerald and Willie Nelson to Janis Joplin floating through her home, Shaylen has been influenced by all genres of music from the very beginning. Her roots in the south are where her country and gospel influences came from and are the core of who she is as an artist.
She confesses, “I’d never been to Nashville even though I had lived in Chattanooga.” The success of the first country song she ever wrote even surprised her.
Released in July of 2022, her first country single, “What If I Don’t” was the beginning of a new authentic chapter of Shaylen’s career. The song is about not being able to move on from a past relationship. Her first crossover song, “What If I Don’t” has performed exceptionally well as it has a universal theme to which many can relate.
But the second song that Shaylen released to country music is even better.
She explained, “ ’Roots’ is a little bit more personal. But getting my story out there, was the most necessary for it to come out next.”
She was unsure if people would be able to relate to the song as much as her first one. But the week the song came out on October 14, Shaylen and “Roots” were featured exclusively in People Magazine and shortly thereafter the song ranked 4th on the American Country Music Chatter playlist.
She admits, “I initially came out here to write for other people.” And in her heart, she heard God saying, “This is where you are supposed to be.”
“[Moving to Nashville] has been the best choice I could ever make,” the singer/songwriter confessed.
Shaylen has fully immersed herself in the Nashville songwriting scene. “I’ve been blessed to be in the room with such amazing people,” she gushed.
She continued, “I feel like the ten years of work I did in LA paid off for the people I have met here and the rooms that I have been in. It would have taken ten years to get to this point. Every day I pinch myself because I am so blessed to be in the room with some of the biggest writers and I’ve not even been here a year. I’m thankful for the writers and collaborators I get to meet every day. It’s another level of talent here.”
And when she writes songs, she tells her story and her truths. But as she says, “If somebody heard one of these songs and said they wanted to take it, I’d have no problem with that. I write the songs and God finds the way, whether it’s me singing them or someone else. I have no ego in it. I’m just a vessel for the songs.”
And while she feels like she has been in Nashville her entire life, it’s so exciting for the new country crooner to meet people and “feel an energy” that she hasn’t felt for a long time.
Shaylen currently chooses to remain an independent artist because it’s the most success she has had in her solo career. “I’m just not in a place of desperation for the first time in my life. That provides opportunities for people coming to me that make sense energetically. And attending meetings and not feeling stressed about it. It’s a beautiful place to be as a creator. It’s organically me and my ideas and it feels amazing,” she expounds.
“By the end of every song I hope listeners can resonate and apply their own stories to the songs and know that they can get through anything,” says Shaylen. As she settles into her new life in Nashville, Shaylen will continue to tap into what feels right as her most genuine artistic self.
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