Have you seen singer/songwriter Shana Halligan lately? Most likely – she was a featured contestant on NBC’s hit music show The Voice totally owning Cher’s hit “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” and battling for the edge on Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody.” But she’s been plenty busy before and since her appearance, with her involvement in the trippy/jazzy duo Bitter:Sweet, writing behind-the-scenes for other artists, as well as motherhood.

She has returned to her solo venture with the track “Hurricane,” and we were lucky enough to chat with her during her busy schedule to discuss it and a lot more.

Thanks for taking the time to chat with us! I’m surprised since it sounds like you’re one of the busiest artists around, between recording for your solo career and new material with Bitter:Sweet and appearing on a number of albums and in television syncs, in addition to appearing on The Voice. How do you find the time to do virtually anything?

Haha well, I’m definitely not the busiest artist around! I’m small potatoes compared to a lot of artists. But, yes, I am busy. I’m not amazing at juggling my time, to be honest. I get easily overwhelmed and I always feel like I never get enough time in with my son. I’m usually quite tired. But that’s motherhood! Balancing all of my career endeavors with family is no easy feat, but I can’t seem to give up on music just yet, so this is the wild ride I’m on. I love that I can teach my son that hard work, persistence, and following your dreams really pay off!

Nice. I’m sure time can be stressed. As far as music goes, what was your time like on The Voice compared to any audition or recital you’ve done before?

Oh wow. It was NOTHING like anything else I’ve ever done. I haven’t really auditioned for anything in a zillion years, if at all. My collaborations and opportunities were always word of mouth or quite organic. Building a body of work from my heart and then having the good fortune of making a living off of it had been my only experience.

My time on The Voice was not for the faint at heart. Being around all of these acrobatic vocal gymnasts, second guessing myself after years of finally finding clarity in who I am as an artist, having to spend an excruciatingly long period of time agonizing over one song at a time when normally I throw back a couple glasses of Pinot before hopping on stage for a set and a few thousand people never thinking twice, then wondering if I, a professional musician who has made my living from my own compositions, will get a celebrity coach to turn around and choose me…these are crazy feelings! Not normal, but that being said, I’m glad I had the courage to do it and get out of my comfort zone. Without taking risks, we cannot achieve greatness.

Well, even so, you have this knack for creating an intoxicating atmosphere in your music, through your production and instrumentation and vocals. Where do you receive inspiration?

Thanks! I guess I receive it from everywhere. Every emotion, things I see, people I meet, stories I hear, music I listen to. Life. There’s never a moment when you can’t dig up something inspiring or unique in the moment you are in . I can forget to be open enough to access it sometimes, but when I’m really in tune, the floodgates open and I just get lost in it.

Your latest track, “Hurricane,” feels like the most symbiotic relationship between your solo recordings and your time with Bitter:Sweet. Do you feel the need to separate yourself from the sounds of your two acts?

Thank you for saying that. The intention for that track sonically was to create the nostalgia and mood of Bitter:Sweet but evolved, modern, and more fitting of today as who I am now. Instead of running away from my old sound, I really embraced it. It is part of me and I’m proud of that. A friend of mine and very talented producer Filippo Cimatti helped produce it.

A follow-up to that: what is the songwriting process like for you?

For that particular song, a dear friend had just come over after he had learned his baby mama and love of his life had been having multiple affairs. He was in so much pain. I wore his pain well since I had been through similar hurt in my past relationships. Next thing you know, this song came out in minutes.

Considering you’ve been doing this for years now, do you feel your goals in creating have changed since when you started? What do you ultimately want to achieve?

I’ve been in this business in some form or another since I was about 5 years old. My goals have indeed changed! Haha. I’m in a place now where I’m more open in certain areas when it comes to writing things specifically for other projects, artists, commercial opportunities, etc., and not so precious about staying true to my art 100% of the time. There’s a time and a place for me to be stubborn and controlling when it comes to my sound. And that I can separate out now. My art is my art, and I know exactly who I am and how I want to create when it’s about my album. And by all means, there’s no reason to compromise when it comes to that. Being my most authentic self is #1. But, being open and being able to listen to other ideas that are so very different than my own, being able to create something I can detach myself from for the sake of another goal, that is another way to grow as an artist too.

I’m having fun exploring that and not taking everything so damn seriously. At the end of the day, I just want to keep being able to put out music that I love, that moves others, enjoy the process, keep performing, take risks, grow as an artist, and support my family.

Well I’m sure you’re heavily involved in projects at this point in time, but what do you have going on next?

Besides recording a bunch of music with some pretty amazing producers, I’m in production for a music /cooking show at the moment. This is SO exciting to me. I’ll be hosting it, cooking with friends, and blending my two loves together. I have a great team in place helping to make this dream real!

That’s awesome. That lends perfectly to my last question: which LA restaurant or food spot can we find you at the most?

Hmmm… I really get around when it comes to food. But, I’ve been eating way too much at Pasta Sisters in Culver City lately. Soft, velvety pasta ribbons of love bathing in the yummiest sauces ever. One day I will diet. Maybe.

More info:

Shana Halligan