by Emerald Butler
Ali Shumate fell in love with music at a young age in her home of Pocahontas, Virginia. “My family has always been musical. We always had Bluegrass playing on Sunday on the radio, and that’s just what took my heart away,” Ali remembers. Her grandparents had been in local military bands and piano players at the local Pocahontas Opry house. Ali herself began performing at local events when she was in her teens. In her 20s she began playing with various groups, but she soon set her music career aside to focus on motherhood and work in the healthcare industry. Two years ago, however, Ali started taking her music career more seriously. She began writing again and found a great co-writer and teammate in Donna Ulisse. Ali released her album Every Bit of Me in June of last year.
“I just fell back in love with this season of my life and the opportunity to get out and make music again. I’m so happy to be back at it in a serious way.” Ali was writing with only a couple of people when she ran across an ad for Donna Ulisse’s songwriter’s workshop. “I said you know, it’s been a while since I wrote with somebody that I don’t know, so let me just take a step just for fun. We just clicked!” Ali stated. “We found that our styles were similar, and we just really hit it off.” A few months later Ali was offered an exclusive songwriting agreement and recording contract with Uncle Hadley Music and Hadley Music Group. The group is owned by Donna Ulisse and partner Kathy Sacra-Anderson. Ali shared that this has given her the opportunity to focus more on the writing craft.
“I’m so fortunate to have this opportunity. I absolutely love it! It gives me the opportunity to work with other people on their projects. When you’re writing for your own project you know kind of what you love and what is meaningful to you. When you’re writing for other people it opens your mind and gives you such an opportunity to see things from a different perspective. Writing with one or two other people; it just opens the room. I will write till my fingers don’t work anymore” Ali laughed.
The songwriter shared that her songwriting process can differ depending on who else is in the room with her. “I will come up with the song starts. I could be sweeping my floor, or it’ll wake me up in the middle of the night. I’ll jot down something that catches my eye or my ear. I’ll put those little “hooks” as we call them down on my iPad, and then when I sit down, I have something serious that I can write toward. I can pull that little list of hooks out and think ‘what am I feeling right now?’ Writing as a business, you want to try to take a stab at writing every day because A- it keeps you fresh, and B- you want to be able to keep that up.”
Luckily for her fans, Ali has been able to keep that up. These songs beautifully turned into Every Bit of Me an album that pieces together all of the bits of Ali Shumate.
“There seems to be a common theme here. It’s sort of like the kind of experiences that a woman would have throughout her life,” Ali shares. “Being a girl in a bluegrass business and having lived through having a child and raising a child; having been a professional like a nurse; having experiences with my own mother; my husband. I wrote a love song on there about him. There’s a sprinkling of different things, but it covers everything from the birth of my son to my faith.”
The album has continued to climb the Weekly Top 12, Weekly Top Gospel, and the Bluegrass Today charts.
“I’m so honored that the radio is playing it. It gives it an opportunity to get out there and maybe be a blessing. Which is what I hope for anything that I make.”
For more on Ali Shumate, click on photo below