From Behind Her Father's Footsteps

By Andrew Gilhooley / 411

Bay Area singer-songwriter Shana Morrison plays her final live show of 2002 this Friday at the Freight and Salvage Coffee House in Berkeley This past year’s tour, to promote her latest album “7 Wishes,” has taken her all around the United States as well as to Italy and Germany.

It is interesting to hear, therefore, that Morrison never envisioned becoming a professional musician. It becomes doubly interesting when one learns that Morrison also is the daughter of Irish rock icon Van Morrison.

Growing up with a famous father, Morrison Was surrounded by both the glamour and the unpredictability of a life in the performing arts. “I envied other kids whose parents had normal jobs and normal paychecks,” she said. “My dad had tremendous success, but I saw that a lot of people didn’t have as much as he did. And even then, we didn’t really have any financial stability”.

Wishing to avoid this financial insecurity in her own life, Morrison chose a much more conventional path for herself She attended college at California State University, Northridge, and Pepperdine University in Malibu, and obtained a graduate degree in business administration. However, shortly after graduation, something happened that caused an abrupt change in career direction.

“So when I graduated, and my dad offered to have me do a tour and sing with him, I thought it would be fun.” She toured throughout late 1993 into ’94 and enjoyed it so much she decided a career in music was for her after all. Armed with a collection of songs written on tour, she formed her band, Caledonia, in San Francisco and began playing the city’s pubs. She gained valuable experience from playing these small venues, both in terms of performing and, on the business side of music, organizing her own bookings

In 1996, Morrison had a taste of big-time exposure in the United Kingdom when Caledonia did a live broadcast for the BBC’s “Kelly Show” and she sang at the BRIT Awards when her father was presented with a lifetime achievement award.

In 1997, Caledonia released its eponymous debut album on Morrison's own Belfast Violet Records, and it was picked up two years later by the Monster Music label. Last year, Morrison signed to Vanguard Records and released her pop album "7 "Wishes, earlier this year. Billboard magazine said of the album, "Lyrical and vocal strength abound… If any project is poised to bring Morrison to a widespread audience, this is it."

Far from living in her father's shadow, Morrison looks set to create her own place in music history.

First published in "411", The Salinas Californian, December 19, 2002

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