JD Shelburne’s cousin Guy Shannon (“Please Forgive,” “Naughty Girl”) once told him, “You’ll never get discovered in a basement.” Ever since he heard that advice, he’s been on the road, playing every chance he gets. Even his Twitter bio says that he is building a fan base one show at a time.
And with his brand new video for “She Keeps Me Up Nights,” Shelburne has a whole new perspective on what the night can mean.
CMT.com caught up with the Taylorsville, Kentucky native to talk about the path that led him here, to his second single from his Two Lane Town album.
CMT.com: Where was the video shot?
Shelburne: The video was filmed in downtown Nashville at the Parthenon near Vanderbilt, and at a residence in Old Hickory, Tennessee. We filmed the video over a 15-hour span all in one day. It was directed by Dawson Waters.
Are you on tour?
I am technically not on a “tour” but I perform over 200 shows a year non-stop, almost every week/weekend. In the last 5 years, I have performed over 1,200 shows. The road is my life and I love to get out and meet and play for fans. In 2018, I drove over 35,000 miles!
Who was the first artist to believe in you and change your life forever?
Mark Nesler. Mark was an artist in the 90’s and is now an established songwriter here in Nashville with many writing credits (“Just to See You Smile,” “Living and Living Well,” “You Look Good in My Shirt”) under his belt for artists such as Tim McGraw, Keith Urban and more. Mark and I were neighbors for several years in Brentwood and kindled up a friendship and that eventually lead to us writing songs. Mark really took interest in my work ethic and how much I hustled to get to the next level. Mark ended up sending me some of his songs that he had written and helped me compile my last two records. Mark has helped change my life with better songs and teaching me to becoming a great songwriter. One of the most generous guys in the business and an amazing writer.
How old were you when you realized music was what you wanted to do for the rest of your life?
I discovered an acoustic guitar in my grandmother’s house after her death in 2002. I had just enrolled in college in Lexington, and took the guitar with me and would pick it up occasionally in between classes. When I realized I could halfway carry a melody in my voice, I became glued to learning how to play the guitar and taught myself one semester. Once I started playing around the house and started learning how to perform songs for some friends, the rest is history.
What has been the best advice you’ve been given in your career so far?
I was told by an artist when I first started playing guitar, “Take every opportunity you can to perform in front of people.” Since that advice in 2003, I have literally performed several thousand shows throughout my career: concerts at nursing homes, churches, county fairs, political parties, bars, clubs, arenas, bonfires and so many others. Every show I performed, I would meet someone new who became a fan. It has been so rewarding over the last decade.
Any venues on your bucket list?
The Ryman Auditorium and The Grand Ole Opry House.
Tonight (April 25), on his video release day, Shelburne will be playing at Ole Red Nashville as part of the NFL Draft festivities.
— J.D. Shelburne (@JDSHELBURNE) April 22, 2019