Shy Carter Finally Feels at Home in Country Music
It's been a decade since country music audiences first met Shy Carter. At 25 he helped write Sugarland's Top 5 hit "Stuck Like Glue," a song remarkable for Jennifer Nettles' rap break.
Later he'd partner for Billy Currington to write "It Don't Hurt Like It Used To" and add a rap break on the hitmaker's cover of "Banana Pancakes," a Jack Johnson cover.
"That was definitely a stretch of the genre," Carter says, smiling (always smiling) as he reflects on his early pursuits as a singer and songwriter. "Putting the soulful melodies in there, it was so well embraced that as time went on, Florida Georgia Line came out, and Sam Hunt, and all these people that were stretching the genre.”
The Memphis-raised Carter was on the front edge — a place that's tenuous for a new artist hoping to establish himself as a well-rounded entertainer. By his count, he's had five record deals, including three with major labels, but his best-known contributions are for other artists, like Rob Thomas ("Someday"), Kane Brown ("Good as You") and Keith Urban ("God Whispered Your Name").
Now 36 years old, he's hoping that changes with "Good Love," his sun-kissed, reggae-influenced new single.
"I just love singing so much," he tells Taste of Country. "I love performing, getting out there and doing my — I just think it’s a perfect storm."
The genre, he hopes, has caught up to him — or maybe he's just slowed down enough to let it. Beyond progressive innovators like Urban and Hunt, Carter sees soulful and rootsy contemporaries like Chris Stapleton and Zac Brown Band opening up some of the same doors he's hoping to walk through. It's why even after tremendous success as a writer, he's eager to start all over again as a new artist.
"As I saw so many of these artists coming out I was like, 'Yeah this is my home,'" he shares.
Carlo Colasacco, James Slater and Micah Carter (Shy's brother) helped write "Good Love," and David Garcia (Carrie Underwood) produced it. The song started with a groove and was built from a day-long conversation about life and love. Piano and drum tracks keep tempo as the singer soaks the atmosphere with warm intentions.
"I there was sometimes in my career where I felt comfortable, and I felt like maybe I don't have to put the pedal to the metal quite as hard," Carter says, "But during those times, I've felt unfulfilled. I've definitely felt unfulfilled."
Calling an artist's career his dream, Carter reflects on growing outside of the box. Working with Urban taught him to embrace creative, new sounds and styles. Watching his songs become hits convinced him that he could do it, too.
"There's a little something to it when the actual person who writes it and has the emotion and feeling, they get a chance to express it with their own voice," he shares.