Sam Shelton: Space Age Lounge Singer, Shit-Kicking Songstress, or Philosophical Heroine?

Sam Shelton may not exactly be a household name, but I’m guessing you’ve come across some of her work at some point.  She’s appeared in films such as Sorority...

Sam Shelton may not exactly be a household name, but I’m guessing you’ve come across some of her work at some point.  She’s appeared in films such as Sorority Boys, White Oleander, and Shopgirl; TV series’ such as Judging Amy, Gilmore Girls, and House (She’s currently part of the cast of Bob’s Burgers.); and she has a pretty cool musical resume as well.  She performed alongside Zooey Deschanel in the cabaret If All The Stars Were Pretty Babies from 2001-2005, in addition to four solo singer/songwriter releases, including her Reservoir LP (produced by Ben Lee), which hit shelves this February.  Although she’s kept herself more than busy in recent years, she’s going to be a bit out of the game in the immediate future.  I recently got a chance to catch up with Shelton… as she was leaving a “pre-natal yoga class… I’m very ‘with baby’ right now (laughs),” she tells me.  She goes on to talk about what she’s expecting for the rest of 2013:  “My immediate concern is just about having a baby.  What I’ve heard is that having a baby totally changes your life… Acting-wise, I’ll probably have to take a little break.”  Although, in the music department, she tells me she did do some pre-planning for her expected absence: “I tried to stockpile recordings.”  And, apparently, a few are nearly completed: “I have a cool side-project, Pink Salt.  We have sort of an 80s synth pop thing.  We made an EP and are hopefully going to put that out before the year’s end.”

Sam Shelton photo 1

However, if you’re yet to hear Reservoir, that should be your first priority regarding Ms. Shelton.  Her latest album is really quite brilliant.  At times it lends a slightly spacey, loungey vibe to the singer/songwriter genre, a bit like the Bird and the Bee; at times she embodies a badass Americana songstress (who would surely be a Drape, if she found her way into a John Waters film); and at times she produces a ten-ton truck of existential sentimentality… such as single “Lazy for You” (which is definitely in the Hope Sandoval school of chanteuse-ery).  Shelton is quite happy with her latest output and is still very excited about hearing her collaboration with Ben Lee: “It’s quite an evolution.  I took more risks in combining styles, more rock, more beats, a less jazz feel. Ben Lee pushed me to think outside of the box.”  She also tells me that she loves the idea of future collaborations.

“Can I just sit down with Dolly Parton and write a song, or Linda Ronstadt?  Or, on the total flipside, Justin Timberlake or Beyonce.  It’s so great, collaborating.  Writing with different people kind of shakes you up.”

When it comes to what inspires Shelton, she tells me that it’s really everyday occurrences that prove to be the most fruitful inspirations: “My imagination is a big inspiration for me and things like going on long walks and making up stories… and the crazy love lives of my girlfriends… I’m happily married, but they have the best stories.  I guess my biggest inspirations are just my friends and the world around me.”


Band Interviews

During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.