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Shana Joy Petrone was born on May 8 in Parkridge, IL and grew up in the sleepy beachy city of Hollywood , FL. Sandwiched between the multi-cultural influences of Miami and the hyper sexualized and decadent environment of Ft. Lauderdale exposed Shana to different lifestyles and unique people throughout her life. These details are relevant simply because they have shaped the person she is, and the music she has made.

While Shana’s parents were always supportive of her musical interests, she was never really all that musical. Her mother noticed that she could carry a tune when she was around five singing Glen Campbell’s “Rhinestone Cowboy,” so she was encouraged to sing and perform whenever and wherever she could. She was also taken to musical theatre classes that she loved;  acting, dancing, and piano were also part of her training but singing was really what she wanted to do.

When Shana was a freshman at South Broward High School she and her best friend Stacey were hanging out at the Broward County Fair and saw this cool karaoke booth where you could go inside, pick a popular song, and sing along with the track while everyone walking by could see and hear you performing. It was so cool! So they sang a few Madonna tunes, and people were stopping and listening and cheering them on. The guys that owned the booth were Ron Albert and Steve Alaimo who were music producer’s and performers. They were just starting their own record label called Vision Records. They gave Shana their card, Shana’s mom called her uncle, Paul Geallis who was a record promoter out of Chicago and knew everyone- he verified Ron and Steve’s resume and soon after Shana was at their recording studio cutting the vocal tracks to “I Want You.”

Some time passed, Shana went to Vision to record a few more songs with a few different producers over the course of a year or so. She went on the nationally televised talent show “Star Search” and lost- (with 3.75 stars out of 4) and basically just lived life like most teenagers in Hollywood, Fl -going to school, getting a tan, working at the mall….and then one day Shana’s friend John came to school and told her that he had heard her song on the radio the night before. He was able to record it so they went to his house at lunch to hear this song that was supposedly Shana. Sure enough it was her- singing “I Want You” in a mix with some other popular freestyle songs.  It was truly unbelievable! How had this happened?! Who decided to play it? Why?!

The guys at Vision had sent the demo tape to Power 96- the popular dance music station- months before and Frank last name? the program director decided to play it. That evening Shana was driving in a car with her high school sweetheart, Keith, and for the very first time heard her name announced on the radio. She was sixteen.

People started requesting the song, the radio started playing it more and Shana started performing locally in night clubs and then began traveling all over the US to promote and support the song. “The song had a life of it’s own and I was just along for the ride,” says Shana. “No one could have planned the success of that record and no one could have prepared me for the life that was laid in front of me. I was so ignorant of the music business. I just assumed that anyone who recorded a song could have it played on the radio. I had no idea how lucky I was. I just did what I was told to do where I was told to do it.”

Shana suddenly had fans and a fan club. She would pull up at school and she would hear her song blasting out of the speakers in the parking lot. It was an exciting, fun and still an innocent time in her life. She was a bit lonely being on the road every weekend. She missed home and her friends but she wasn’t complaining- she didn’t know that she was allowed to.

In the midst of the success of “I Want You” the guys at the label pushed for Shana to sign an actual recording contract and then rushed to record an entire album. Once again, Shana did what she was told. “I didn’t know that I was allowed to have an opinion,” says Shana. “I was no push over generally speaking but when it came to recording, imaging and promoting myself, I was completely clueless. In the beginning, the owners of the record label were taking the bulk of my performance money and calling it a management fee. It wasn’t until I met Sal who was outside of their circle and who subsequently became my manager, that I found out what they were doing was completely unscrupulous. Bastards!“ But anyway….

The story goes on…The single peaked at #40 on the Billboard singles chart. The following singles didn’t perform very well, Shana kept traveling and performing but was exhausted and bored by the one song and Vision wasn’t so in love with her anymore. Shana wanted out. They wouldn’t let her out. They tricked her and locked her into an obligation to record another album with Vision. She vowed to never sing again, but if she didn’t perform the songs they asked for she would be in breach of her “contract” and then be held up even longer. She hated the music business. “It is a very valuable life lesson to learn that success is fleeting, family and friends keep you grounded and that you are disposable to most other people. Some may have considered that cynical but that was my reality.”

Shana languished for a while. She went to community college to study mass communications, something to fall back on? She was waiting tables on the beach, then she started bartending which was pretty funny because she wasn’t a drinker and barely knew what went into a vodka and soda- she thought soda meant cola…not so much! Well, after overcoming the challenges of learning drink recipes and watching people go from sober and normal to drunk and disgusting she appreciated to education that being behind the bar afforded her. “You watch people make all kinds of mistakes and blame it on alcohol and drugs. I could not relate to it. I always knew the bartending was a great education on human behavior but, I was dying to get out from behind that bar.” it was also a good way to avoid having to go on a first date with someone. “I could get to know someone who I might think was cute or interesting and after a couple of visits or  even just a conversation, determine that I didn’t really want to be on an official date with them.” That was useful.

While working at the bar at night she began going on commercial castings and being seen for print jobs during the day when she wasn’t in class. She began to book jobs for everything from Diet Coke in Canada, gum in Italy, beer in South America,  to bathing suits and shoes. She eventually booked national commercials for Nexxus Humectress, Head and Shoulders, and Budweiser right here in the USA. All of this work allowed Shana to be able to rely solely on the income she brought in from the acting and modeling and finally stop bartending. Meanwhile, she had run into an old  musician friend  named Orly Penate who was the entertainment at the bar where she worked. Orly was a great singer and bass player who was always working in the area. One of those guys who can play any instrument, sing has ass off and make it look easy. He and the owner of the bar where Shana worked encouraged her to get up and sing. Now this would not  seem like much of a stretch for someone with Shana’s experience but, she was having trepidations about wanting to be singer ever again. She knew that singing was really the only thing she was good at but, the thought of dreaming about it again- of wanting success, dealing in the business of music, facing the scrutiny of people who didn’t know her or care about her was a challenge. But, in the end singing won out and she began singing a couple of nights a week at the bar with Orly and his partner Rick. Shana was happy with that.

During those few years as Shana just waited out her contract with Vision records her musical taste took a different direction. She loved the freestyle music that she had recorded as a teen but that wasn’t on the radio anymore. There was grunge rock, r and b (that she always loved), hip hop (we called it rap back then), regular pop music and country.

Shana’s mom was always a fan of country music. She was a city girl from Chicago but loved listening to the country music she would hear during her summer trips to visit her cousins in Wisconsin when she was a teenager.

So, Shana was always aware of and listening to country because of her mother’s tastes. But she became a fan on her own when she heard Trisha Yearwood, Martina McBride, Garth Brooks, Randy Travis, and The Judd’s to name a few. Their style of blending traditional instruments with more soulful and pop sounding vocals and production elements appealed to Shana. The artist’s looked younger, and cooler than the traditional image of country music. Their performing styles were more dynamic and exciting. Shana allowed herself to dream again.

Shana was 22 years old now. Her legal obligations to Vision were finally over. She was working steadily as a singer at local bars and also working as a commercial actress and model. She booked a job in a music video for a popular country music singer named Tracy Lawerence. Shana totally dug his music and his voice so, she was excited to be in his video. That is until she found out they were shooting on a boat in the middle of the ocean all day. Now, for as much of a beach girl as she was, she was very much a landlubber. Shana knew that she would be facing seasickness the whole day of this shoot but, decided she needed to buck up and do the job.  In between takes of literally walking a plank over the water and holding on for dear life, Shana would do breathing exercises and hum to herself to keep from throwing up and embarrassing herself in front of the director, Tracy, and his whole band. Tracy’s drummer, Alex Torrez and Shana started chatting during this whole day on the water. He had overheard her humming to herself and inquired about it. They discovered that they had common interests and personalities and decided to stay in touch after the shoot wrapped. Alex was  on the road with Tracy, he had a family back in Nashville and was also starting a music publishing company with a friend of his from Texas where they both were from.

When Alex returned home to Nashville he sent Shana some demos of songs and asked if she would be able to get there to record some vocals and just see how it would go. He found her a place to stay for the weekend, got them into the studio, all Shana had to do was get a plane ticket. Shana had certainly been around long enough to know when something was legitimate or not. She had faith that Al was not trying to do anything unscrupulous and not making any false claims. He seemed like a hard working guy from Texas who wanted to make something happen for himself.  Shana recalls, “I could totally respect that and Al and I formed a good friendship over time. He was always a man of his word and he was someone who would work his butt off to get things done.”

After that weekend in Nashville Shana knew that she was moving there. She worked hard, saved her money, packed up her car and drove to Nashville six months later. Then her car broke down 100 miles out of town.

Knowing that her car breaking down would just be part of a good story to tell once she was successful Shana arrived in Nashville in the cab of a tow truck. Car fixed, rooming with a friend of her cousin’s, and with one other  friend in town Shana was ready for anything. She thought she would start trying to write songs. She used to write a little back in Florida but, trying in Nashville where songwriter’s-great songwriter’s were everywhere was a much more intimidating proposition. Before she even had a permanent address in town Alex, who was now working in the A and R department at Sony got Shana an audition to sing for Blake Chancey who was a major producer and A and R head. With Alex’s friend and partner playing guitar, songwriter Brett Beavers and Shana went into Al’s office and sang a couple of songs for Blake. She was offered a demo deal. That meant that Sony would pay for Shana to go into the studio and cut a few songs with true Nashville session players- the best in the world- and then decide if they would offer her a full blown recording contract.

With Al as her mentor, advocate, friend and co-producer, they listened to hundreds of songs from publisher’s in order to find a direction for Shana’s country sound. They decided on an eclectic mix of songs with interesting lyrics- some were just silly and fun, but a collection that they thought would reflect the non-traditional style that Shana really was. She was a young woman with ethnic roots, who grew up on the beach- not a farm- who appreciated the organic sounds of traditional country but needed to sing about matters not so country related.

At that time, appearing “country” was very important to the executives in Nashville. Being authentic was another concern. In one meeting with executives at Sony,  the VP of marketing told Shana that they didn’t want her to wear cowboy boots or leather pants in any of her promotional pictures. They thought leather pants would be too overtly sexy and cowboy boots would not seem genuine considering she was not from “the country.” Yes, this sounds laughable but some people have to give their opinions in order to justify getting paid for their job, I guess. 

Shana recalls, “My first photo shoot was strange. I was so excited, I just wanted to please everyone. So, I was getting dressed in all of these clothes that were cool but they weren’t really me. In fact I didn’t even look at myself in the mirror for the first couple of set up’s. I just assumed everyone else knew better than me about what I was supposed to look like.”

After getting the proofs back from that day the label and Shana decided to do a whole new shoot. Even with the best intentions, tons of effort, experience and money no one, including Shana, could capture the real girl who was singing the songs.

Shana went on to record a lot of songs for the one album she made for Sony/Epic Nashville. They switched directions,  switched producers, did two grueling national radio tours, did an awesome showcase for radio in Austin, released three singles, three music videos, did lots of shows from Maine to California and well, things just didn’t happen.

Really, that is just an example of the challenges that most artists face once they are lucky enough to get sucked into the music business machine. It’s not any one person’s fault but, as Shana has reflected on her past experiences, she realized that even though she had strong ideas about what she wanted, knowing what she did NOT want was even more important.

Shana cherishes the friends she made during her time in Nashville. Music City is a magical and inspirational place. The creative and talented people who drive the flow of original ideas and make them come to life from music row to your car radio will always represent a special connection between art and real life for Shana.

So, Shana lost her record deal with Sony, moved to Chicago where her boyfriend and extended family were and  just allowed herself to be depressed for a little while. She regrouped and began writing songs, doing commercials and print work, and eventually got married and had a daughter, Eden Marie.

Life is good and Shana is very grateful for the colorful experiences that life has presented to her. She will always be searching for creative ways to express herself through her work. She admits that she gets lazy sometimes but she knows that singing and making music are really what she is supposed to be doing. She is most herself on stage singing. Dreaming about success has taken a backseat to just enjoying the process of discovering new ways to say something.

From the heart,” learn who you are through your life’s experiences. Listen to where the universe is telling you to go and live honestly.”

You’ll be hearing from me!

Thank you for your interest and be well.

- Shana

This is the ONLY officially sanctioned website published and managed under the direction of Shana Petrone.

"I am going to let all my fans know as much as possible about what I have done in the past, what I am doing now and what my plans are for the future. Please visit my Blog and also Shana Petrone Interactive where you can speak with me personally".

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