Local musician making big moves
Hopes to see changes in local music industry
Shanda Hopkins, a musician from Brownsdale, took a hiatus from her music career for several years. After picking her passion back up, she’s been seeing some significant success in less than a year, including the release of her first album.
BROWNSDALE, NL — A musician from Brownsdale is making some major moves after only coming back to the industry less than a year ago.
Shanda Hopkins, now living in Brownsdale with her husband and children, has been a musician nearly her entire life, with dreams and aspirations of making a living in the music industry dating back to her early school years.
Many years later, her passion is still going strong, even after taking a hiatus from her blossoming career as a musician.
Hopkins picked up the guitar and microphone initially as a child, a hobby that stuck with her for as long as she can remember, she told the Compass.
She’s always felt a special connection to music of all types; when she began writing her own music, she says she found a new avenue to connect not only with her own emotions, but the emotions of people around her as well.
Despite her endless appreciation for music, Hopkins decided to put it all on hold for several years after her first daughter ran into some serious medical problems.
“As much as I loved music, my family comes first before everything, no matter what,” she said. “I wanted to be there for my daughter as much as possible, and so music was just not my top priority at that time.
“It was a hard time for me, for sure, but we got through it. (My daughter) is healthy, and so my mind is a lot more at ease these days. I figured there was no better time than now to try and pick music back up again and sort of reignite the passion.”
Hopkins made that decision in May of 2017, focusing on music for the first time since she was 21. Since then, she’s taken part in several provincial music competitions, released her first full-length album “Rewind,” and gotten frequent radio play in other Atlantic provinces, specifically in Halifax, Nova Scotia – all in under a year.
“It feels really good to see all this happening now. I think it all sort of goes back to just how much work I’m willing to put into it,” she said. “If there’s a competition, I’m a part of it. If there’s a local gig, I’m going to be there. I jump at any and all opportunities I see, so I think that’s a big factor behind everything that’s falling into place for me now.”
Hopkins takes musical inspiration from just about every type of music, from country, to rock, to hip hop. She says this wide array of preferences led to the sound of her first album, which she released in October 2017 with the help of David Fitz.
The album, available for physical purchase in several stores in the area or online via iTunes, Spotify and Google Play, consists entirely of Hopkins’ original music. She says the songs cover a myriad of topics.
The song writing process is especially important to Hopkins, she told the Compass. She attributes grocery shopping trips to the success of many of her tracks, noting her phone is filled with voice recordings of her humming a tune while browsing the aisles of her local grocery store.
“If something comes to me, I can’t let it go. I’m always humming something, and if I get an idea for a song, no matter where I am, I need to get it right there and then,” she explained. “So I’ll take my phone out, hum the tune I have in my head and go on my way. Later on, I’ll listen back through it and go from there.”
Despite her recent success, Hopkins said she’s disappointed to see how little attention musicians in Newfoundland get from locals.
With a lot of her music is getting plenty of radio play in Halifax, Hopkins wonders why it’s so difficult for someone to get their music played locally.
“I just don’t think there’s enough support for local musicians here in the province sometimes,” she said. “Halifax is playing my music, but Newfoundland radio stations still won’t. Unless someone plays traditional Newfoundland music, it just doesn’t seem like you’ll have much luck getting it on the radio. “I’d like to see that changing in the future, because we’ve got tons of amazing artists here in the province that people don’t even know about because no one cares to play them.”
Hopkins is currently preparing her second album. While still in the writing process, she said people listening to her music can expect some new and improved sounds on the upcoming project. Until then, “Rewind” is still readily available, and Hopkins has no intentions of easing up on the grind anytime soon.
“Rewind” is Shanda Hopkins’ first album, having been released only a few months after she picked up the guitar once again.