C. SHIROCK is Chuck Shirock - founder, frontman and primary writer for internationally acclaimed band, SHIROCK. The new music from C.SHIROCK is an evolution and a distillation of his previous work, cutting to the core of his identity, with a power and clarity not heard before. C. SHIROCK is currently in the studio working on more new music, between Nashville and Los Angeles. Plans are currently underway for tours and live events in select cities both in the US and UK.. We got a chance to talk to this amazing artist on Unheard Gems:
Unheard Gems: So excited to talk with you for Unheard Gems, how are you?
C. Shirock: I’m doing great! In Los Angeles right now, getting ready for my next single release… “Eyes of Sorrow” comes out March 1st! Can’t wait to share it…
Unheard Gems: Just for our readers to get a little bit of background on you, when did you first know you wanted to pursue music and what was your journey like?
C. Shirock: I think I was about 13 - my Dad got me my first electric guitar, and I would stand in front of the mirror for hours after school playing my Fender through my little amp at full blast, writing songs and pretending to be in my own music video. I grew up playing piano from the time I was about 5…so music and composing had been a part of my life all growing up. I started my first band when I was about 14, and I was hooked. I never looked back. I moved to Nashville for college, then started touring after that. It’s been such a crazy and an incredible journey…without a doubt, some of the best and some of the hardest times in my life, but always worth it.
Unheard Gems: I wanted to take a moment to focus on your song “Stand With Me Tonight”. What can you tell us about this song and the inspiration?
C. Shirock: This song holds a special place for me - I wrote this for my fiancé. It’s such a simple and honest song about the many unknowns, twists and turns that life and love inevitably hold. I had the chorus lyric early on, “will you stand with me tonight,” and I remember sitting at my piano in the kitchen laboring so hard over what I wanted to say…I felt like I was wrestling so hard with it, and my fiancé encouraged me to try getting out of the way - to just say the most honest and simple thing. I stopped trying to be poetic, or to overthink it, and I just wrote exactly what I feeling. My co-writer and co-producer on this song, Thomas Doeve and I met up in the studio and finished the song, and we brought the track to life following the same idea - only the most simple and emotionally moving elements were kept. It feels like a song I’ve always wanted to write, and I’m so proud of how it turned out.
Unheard Gems: What about the visuals? The music video is stunning, what was the process like making your song come to life this way?
C. Shirock: Before I had landed on a song title for “Stand With Me Tonight,“ I was jokingly calling it “the prom song!” I wanted to write the kind of song and capture a feeling that I would want to slow dance to. Something honest and vulnerable, but building with tension and release. For some reason I kept seeing a high school prom - capturing those first moments of two people meeting and falling in love…all of the mystery, unknown and uncertainty that lay ahead of them. There was something so powerful about seeing that first moment of courage where it all begins. I had this meeting my fiancé - the singular moment of courage and fear as you make those first steps toward them…you never know what might happen if you take that chance.
Unheard Gems: What do you have in store for this year? Any big things you can tell us about?
C. Shirock: My album, ‘Evidence of Things Unseen’ will be released mid year! Each month I’m releasing new singles, videos, etc., leading up to the full release. You can follow the official Spotify playlist to get each new song as it comes out -open.spotify.com/user/chuckshirock/playlist/3dBfCmD8HbsHL6msX9fnf3?si=Kwq7yOwDRN61Of90aboUHA
I also have some select live dates early this year, and we’re in process of working on other tours dates that we’ll announce soon.
Unheard Gems: Some of your music has been featured on multiple TV shows and you have also performed at some major music festivals with some pretty big name artists. What are those experiences like for you?
C. Shirock: It’s been incredible to see songs and ideas that I started in my bedroom or kitchen come to life in ways I never imagined possible…on different TV shows and movies, performing them live at summer festivals in front of thousands of people…it’s a surreal and a crazy feeling. Some songs seem to have a life of their own…once they’re released into the world, they’re not mine anymore…feels like I’m their caretaker. People live their lives to them, have their own memories and meanings attached.
Unheard Gems: When you were growing up you lived a lot of different places, how do you think being able to see the world like you did growing up affected your music if at all?
C. Shirock: I think growing up in the Philippines then Scotland impacted my music in a lot of ways…I grew up being exposed to and appreciating very different types of music and sounds. I think it made what sounds I’m drawn to very eclectic. I think it broadened my own perspective on what’s possible, or at least gave me a different perspective. I didn’t really get exposed to ‘popular music’ until I moved to the US (Detroit) around 13. My musical experience growing up was somewhat sheltered, so I missed everything that was happening in America and in pop and rock music…coming to the US was like opening the musical floodgates. I remember recording the radio while I was at school so I could listen back to it when I got home!
Unheard Gems: Specifically a place of interest for me, you attended Belmont University in Nashville, how was that experience and for young musicians looking to pursue music professionally, how would you advise they use music school or college as a resource for their careers?
C. Shirock: There are many pluses and minuses for a place like Belmont… it’s an incredible school, and more, you meet some incredibly talented and inspiring people. Many of the people I work with now and continue to bump into, I first met at Belmont! If it’s used as a stepping stone, it can be a really valuable tool. I think the downside is that too many talented people show up at a school like Belmont thinking that they’ve made it - that from there, it will all just fall in their lap, so they stop working for it. It’s actually the people that were committed to creating and building a career with or without Belmont that did it… I was a vocal major - being at Belmont made me work harder than I ever had before. I was denied from their vocal program 3 times before they let me in! I arrived with such a high opinion of myself, and quickly realized how much work I had to do…it was a very humbling beginning, but I learned so much in those years.
Unheard Gems: I love hearing what the artists we talk to are listening to. Who are some artists you think deserve more attention in the music industry and why?
C. Shirock: There are some brilliant Nashville musicians - Mikky Ekko is a incredibly talented friend and artist. Also my friend Steven McMorran - he’s has such a powerful voice and is a beautiful writer. K.S Rhoads is a prolific and a inspiring composer and writer… so many actually! Lately I’ve been listening to all things Jack Antonoff - I love his work as Bleachers, and so much of his writing and production.
Unheard Gems:Lastly, for all of our readers, where can they find you and your music and is there anything else you want to leave us with that we didn’t talk about in our questions?
C. Shirock: The best place is my new website! cshirock.com - all videos, music, lyrics, latest news, tours, merch…from there you can link out - the music is everywhere you listen - Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, YouTube… Please keep in touch! Instagram, Facebook, my newsletter… thank you for listening, I can’t wait to meet you on tour I hope
Interview by Hannah Schneider