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A Young Singer’s Journey from Stage Fright to Stage Presence

Crashing Atlas worked with Periphery’s Spencer Sotelo on their debut E.P and are about to tour with Hinder singer, Austin Winkler.

Lead singer, Shelby Celine chats to VoiceCouncil about overcoming her stage fright and channelling her inner rock star.

Early performance anxiety

What obstacles have you had to overcome for your love of singing?

At the age of four I found out the hard way that I had crippling stage fright. My family signed me up for vocal lessons and in the middle of my Christmas recital I realized how many people were there and I completely blacked out mentally. After that I swore I’d never be able to sing with anyone in front of me again. I kept that stage fright until the boys found me. They helped me to realize that the biggest enemy was myself. I still get a little nervous, but now it’s more of an anticipation feeling, rather than fear.

How do you get the best out of a studio session?

I have a slight tendency to get overwhelmed when I make mistakes. But I realized that the best takes we got were when I wasn’t stressing out or thinking too hard.

How to overcome writer’s block?

I’ll sit myself down in my room with my guitar and I’ll make myself write lots of crappy verses and songs until all the fog is gone. Usually I’ll like one line or idea from the bad songs. I’ll take that one line and run with it and then the block falls apart and I’m able to get back to writing possible hits.

Developing with the band

Some ingredients for a memorable performance?

Definitely high energy. You are performing and you need to constantly interact and engage with the crowd. They put you on that stage, they came to see you, and you need to show them that you’re there with them.

Also looking the part is just as important as showing up and playing the songs. If you want to be a rockstar, you better look like one.

What’s the best way to find band members, and how do you know they are right for the band?

For me, it’s meeting musicians at shows and music events and finding people who you mesh with. I want to feel totally and completely comfortable around the people who I’m on the road with. If you can’t work together as friends, then that will show in your music. I need to be surrounded by people who I empower and who empower me.

 What have you learned from collaboration?

One memorable experience that I’ll hold onto dearly is being able to work with Spencer Sotelo from Periphery, who did vocal production on our upcoming EP, Ascend. We also had a feature on one of the tracks from Rod Pires from American Wolves. The one thing that I took from this is that great musicians transcend the lines between genres; there aren’t boundaries that pigeonhole musicians to a specific genre.

Keeping the voice safe

How do you look after your voice?

Lots of vocal rest and hot tea. Sometimes I overdo it because singing is such a huge part of my life and I hate having to be quiet to preserve my voice. That’s usually when the boys step in and have me stay home from practice or just come to rehearsal for moral support.

A vocal lesson you’ve learned the hard way

Your voice is a living instrument produced by your body. It needs to be exercised and conditioned appropriately. You can go too hard without warming up and you can wear it out. Eating right and the right exercises are crucial!

Singing in the modern world

How do you best connect to your fans?

Sometimes I’ll see the notifications on people who liked our band page on Facebook or followed us on Twitter, and I’ll just message them and get to know them! Keeping close with the fans is the most important part. They see us from an outside perspective and they are the ones we need to keep on our side.

How important is image for artists?

It’s everything! Your image sells you just as much as your music does. The music industry is so saturated that you have to have ALL of your ducks in a row to stand out.

What are your thoughts on the current state of the music industry?

It’s a dog eat dog world. There’s too much drama involved. I know we’re all competing for that number one hit, but we’re all living the same life and going after that same dream. We need to build each other up instead of tearing each other down!


Crashing Atlas is an Electro-Pop Rock band from Baltimore Maryland. Their debut EP, ASCEND will be released independently September 22nd. Catch them on tour in the fall with Austin Winkler (Hinder).

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