Ryan Shaw sings classic soul songs by Jackie Wilson, Wilson Pickett and more on his new CD, This Is Ryan Shaw.
Ryan Shaw sings classic soul songs by Jackie Wilson, Wilson Pickett and more on his new CD, This Is Ryan Shaw. Christian Lantry
The new CD by a young singer-songwriter pays homage to the soul sounds that dominated the airwaves in the 1960s and early '70s.
This Is Ryan Shaw by the 26-year-old singer includes a mix of Shaw's own music and his interpretations of classic soul.
Shaw grew up in a strict religious home in Decatur, Ga., and he tells Michele Norris that gospel was the only music allowed in the house by his mother, a Pentecostal minister.
"My mom didn't like 'the devil's music,' as she called it," he recalls, laughing.
But the young Shaw loved music — all kinds — and in particular had a fondness for Motown music and old-school artists such as Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell.
When he finally started singing this type of music, Shaw says he felt like he'd been singing it his whole life: "It feels like singing church music."
"My message is love, and God is love," Shaw says. "So in a way, it's kind of the same, but it's just not gospel."
Shaw talks to Norris about why "I Found a Love" by Wilson Pickett is a special song to him, how his mother feels about his singing career, and how he hopes the songs he writes will spur people to "reach for something greater."