Shannen James

Melbourne, VIC

#About Shannen James

Melbourne-based singer/songwriter Shannen James has been singing and performing from a young age, but began writing music in her late teens. “I started off with just an acoustic guitar which was influenced by Sarah Blasko and early First Aid Kit.” Over the last few years, her songs have been “a modern take on 70’s pop rock, [blending] electronic textures [with] organic, grounding instrumentation” that focuses on ”catchy, melodic storytelling”.

“I make music because it makes me feel good. I know that sounds simple but it’s true. Music has been the absolute most constant thing in my life. Since playing live shows with my band I’ve really started to feel that connection between myself and the audience and that strange but beautiful euphoric nature of all being one with the music at that certain point in time. It’s pretty special!”

With the company of a 3-piece band, “a denim or a leather jacket or two [and] some groovy pants”, a Shannen James live show should get punters moving and humming along to her big choruses.  

In the future, the singer-songwriter hopes she’ll be able to take her music on the road, travelling internationally with her band and sharing her stories. 

“My ultimate goal would be to have music that I can look back on when I’m old and grey and be really proud of what I shared and contributed to the world.”

BIGSOUND is looking a bit different to previous years, but Shannen is even more excited to be selected as an inaugural member of #TheBIGSOUND50. “I’m about to release my EP, Arrows, [so] this is a perfect time for me to be able to expand and connect to my audience more.” 

“[This year], it's been amazing to see just how important not only music, but the arts and the entertainment industry as a whole really impact [people’s] lives. This time has really led me to reflect on what I am doing and how much it actually matters!”



There is a warmth that exudes from singer/songwriter Shannen James’s voice that is at once unique and comfortingly familiar. A silky-smooth tone that is both disarming and effortless.

Upon releasing her debut single ‘Something In The Water’ in mid 2019, the track was quickly added to slew of big playlists and won a river of praise across triple j and unearthed (including an add to rotation). With a reaction so immediate, it would be easy to suggest Shannen appeared from nowhere, but it was through years of honing her craft and working on her songwriting that led her to ‘Arrows’ and that first single ‘SITW’ was the catalyst for a wave of new music for Shannen James.

Releasing her debut EP on 25th September, the ‘Arrows’ EP Features six songs that range from bright, confident pop to stripped back folk, Shannen weaves through beats and melodies, the personal and the playful effortlessly across ‘Arrows’. Recorded with her good friend, producer Dylan Nash (Dean Lewis, Angus and Julia Stone) in a small backyard studio on the outskirts of Melbourne, it is an impressive and assured debut release.