Helen Shanahan
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Helen Shanahan

Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, Australia | Established. Jan 01, 2009 | SELF

Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, Australia | SELF
Established on Jan, 2009
Solo Folk Singer/Songwriter




"Clare Bowditch Quote"

I did not know Helen before I heard her sing. Once I heard her sing, I couldn't un-hear it: she has SUCH talent, such a beautiful voice. I invited her to sing with me at a concert and once my crowd heard her voice, they were struck as I was. They went fricking WILD. Sincerely, Helen is a great person and has one of the most interesting, actually captivating vocal turns of phrase that I have ever heard in person.

- Clare Bowditch
ARIA Award winning artist/Singer Songwriter - Clare Bowditch

"Driftwood Review"

Driftwood is the debut album from singer/songwriter Helen Shanahan, and is the eagerly anticipated follow up to her Girl in Love EP, which firmly established her as a serious and soulful musician. Shanahan is based in Perth, Western Australia and has a sound which could easily capture hearts worldwide. Shanahan is a recent graduate of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, with a major in voice.

On Driftwood, Shanahan writes about the joys and sorrows that come with the ups and downs of life, her words accompanied by rich layers of harmonies and acoustic instrumentation. The end result is an incredibly warm, contemporary album that certainly has commercial appeal, and would be very well suited for use in film and TV soundtracks.

There is an undeniable purity to Shanahan’s voice, and she performs with a great deal of conviction, without ever sounding contrived or forced. Her voice shows hints of fellow Aussie, Missy Higgins, at times, (which can probably be attributed largely to the slight Australian twang at the end of some of her phrasing) which is definitely a positive comparison. Stylistically, Shanahan’s music can most accurately be described as contemporary acoustic-based folk-pop. Charlie Young’s production on Driftwood is of an incredibly high quality, and while the instrumentation is sparse for the most part, it never fails to sound rich and always allows Shanhan’s crystal clear voice to shine, bathed in lush harmonies at all the right moments. The songs are well crafted, and could stand up just as strongly if they were performed with just a single vocal and guitar – they’re that good.

Shanahan has receiving some deserved industry praise and recognition in her native Australia; “Driftwood” was nominated the folk category in the Western Australian Music Industry ‘Song of the Year’ competition. “Driftwood” has also earned International acclaim as it won the International Song of the Year contest in the folk category - and listening to it, it’s easy to hear why.

Other standouts include opening track “Close to You,” “Lonely Room” (featuring cello from Elise Chong) and “He Says” (which was also nominated for in the WAMI Song of the Year Competition in 2010), however, all of the tracks are solid.

Shanahan ticks all the boxes; her writing is top notch, vocals are close to perfection, and she knows exactly who she is as an artist. The only question is…when can we hear more? Driftwood is the beginning of a great career from a supremely talented up and coming artist. Charming, authentic, introspective… the list of adjectives could go on. Don’t miss this one.

Artist: Helen Shanahan
Title: Driftwood
Review by Ross Barber
5 stars (out of 5) - Ross Barber

"Riley Pearce EP Launch"

“First act up to the plate was Helen Shanahan.
Helen managed to grab my attention right off the bat with a strong, emotive voice that reminded me of one, Sara Barellis or Sarah Blasko. Her songs boasted catchy, smart vocal hooks with accessible yet very engaging melody. Her set was well constructed, starting off with radio friendly, enjoyable acoustic sonnets about the usual ‘one that got away’ plot device and later, delving into dynamically complex, lyrically deep ballads that proved quite captivating.
Helen surprised me for an early opening act, providing an engaging acoustic performance that kept me listening the very end and left me battling between a warm and fuzzy enlightenment and to a life shattering crossroads” -

"Review: Helen Shanahan – Driftwood"

Helen Shanahan – Driftwood (Independent)

A singer-songwriter in the classic tradition, Helen Shanahan has crafted an eight-song collection that’s incredibly easy on the ear, but the hooks are barbed and once they’ve attached themselves to their target, there’s no escape. In her native Australia the album’s title track has already picked up the Western Australian Music Industry Association’s ‘Song of the Year’ award in the ‘Folk’ category, which luckily coincided with the album’s release, and critical plaudits will naturally follow. We’re more than happy to join in.

“Close to You” is a pristine opening cut. Shanahan possesses a distinctive, adaptable voice, which is conspicuous in its ability to deliver a line full of depth and emotion, without resorting to multi-octave vocal gymnastics. It’s a compelling four-minutes and an impressive way to launch her debut long player (she released a six-track EP in 2009), but it’s matched by the stirring title track, and songs like “Play the Fool” and the remarkable “He Says” make for an incredibly consistent listening experience. “Driftwood” is an album of first class folk-pop songs, sung with genuine zeal. Miss it at your peril.


Phil S. - Leicester Bangs Online Blog


"Girl In Love" EP - 2009

"Driftwood" EP - 2012

"Finding Gold" EP - 2015

"Every Little Sting" - LP due May 5 2017



HELEN Shanahan is a 28-year-old singer/songwriter from Perth, Western Australia.

Helen’s songs ride the joys and sorrows of love and life and draw the listener into an articulate and heartfelt world of story, melody and guitar, through her eyes. Helen’s thoughtful observations and introverted reflections of everyday situations are beautifully captured in her music, which can best be described as contemporary folk/pop with a strong acoustic feel. Helen graduated from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) majoring in voice.

Helen released her EP ‘Driftwood’ in 2012 at the Fly By Night Musicians Club in Fremantle. ‘The title track was nominated in 2012 in the ‘love’ category in the Western Australian Music Industry ‘Song of the Year’ competition.

Helen has provided strong support to Australian group ‘The Basement Birds’ whose members include Kav Temperly (Eskimo Joe), Josh Pyke, Kevin Mitchell (Bob Evans) and Steve Parkin. She has also played in support of UK artist Passenger in 2010, and Matt Corby in 2011 in his secret garden shows around Perth. She joined Clare Bowditch on stage in 2014 as part of her ‘Winter Secrets’ Tour. She was nominated for ‘Best Folk Act’ in the West Australian Music Industry Awards in 2014. In 2017 she supported Ian Moss, and UK artist Lewis Watson.

In 2013 she won the songwriting award in the national competition ‘Telstra Road to Discovery’. This competition saw Helen play at the Forum Theatre in Melbourne, the Tamworth Country Music Festival, Canadian Music Week, BIGSOUND festival in Brisbane, Queenscliff music festival, iconic New York bar ‘The Bitter End’, and the Americana festival in Nashville.

Helen was signed to Mushroom Music Publishing in 2015, on the back of releasing her EP ‘Finding Gold’ produced by Melbourne based Pip Norman aka ‘Countbounce’.  

Helen released her debut album 'Every Little Sting' in May 2017, which was produced in Nashville by Brad Jones (Missy Higgins, Bob Evans).

Band Members