Photo Credit: Chris Wood

Written by Ashley Friedman

LA-based Singer-songwriter, Heather Youmans, brings us her latest single + music video for “Shine,” a powerful anthem for young women as they find their way through life!

If you’re not familiar with Heather, she’s opened for people like Sting and the late Natalie Cole. She has also worked alongside country icon Clint Black on Flicka 2’s soundtrack in addition to being featured on tracks in Marley & Me: The Puppy Years, High Strung and more! For those of you that watch American Idol, you may recognize Heather from the 2012 season. The singer-songwriter received a golden ticket from the judges after her rendition of Carole King’s “Some Kind of Wonderful.”

Today, you’ll find Heather stronger than ever pursuing her passion for singing and performing. She has been preparing for her forthcoming EP set for an early 2020 release and “Shine” is just one of the songs featured on the EP.

“I’ve adopted a new creative process for the production of “Shine” and my upcoming EP. The first thing I do is write the song – usually on piano – and then I record a live acoustic version, which is how “Shine” is manifested in this video. The final step is to then cut the track with a full band in the studio. Those full band tracks will be released on my EP in 2020.”

– Heather Youmans

In “Shine,” Heather kind of gives me that Carrie Underwood vibe the way she can take her pitch from high to low in a matter of seconds. At the same time, a touch of Kelly Clarkson shines through; the power behind her vocals is effortless and there is so much heart when she sings. Lyrically, I can’t help but compare Youmans’ “Shine” to Clarkson’s “Piece By Piece,” because of how strong the message is.

“Shine” also marks my turn back to more country-inspired music. We all go through musical transformations as artists and songwriters, and recently, I’ve felt drawn back to country music. Growing up, I was inspired by Faith Hill, Martina McBride, Sheryl Crow, Shania Twain and other incredible female country singers – who have all collectively inspired this melody and my vocal choices in “Shine.” 

– Heather Youmans

With lyrics like, “She was more than enough… / hold your head up / honey let your hair down / don’t you cover up who you’re trying to impress now…” Youmans sings, reminding the listener of a time when a younger version of themselves constantly second-guessed who they were or what they were doing. “Cause one day when you grow up / you’ll find that all your scars and make it beautiful / and from within is / how you really shine…” Youmans continues. It’s at this point that the listener realizes that this song is not so much reminiscing just on the past, but the lessons learned from looking back and what Youmans wishes she could have told herself when she was younger.

“Life is hard, and sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of your worth in the middle of it all. I wish my older self could’ve sung “Shine” to younger me, because at the time, she needed to take a deep breath and remember ‘you are enough, you are beautiful and never alone – ever.’ My co-writer, Maria Gironas, and I wrote this song as a love letter to our younger selves. I can only hope that “Shine” becomes a beacon of light for so many strong women finding their way through life. “

– Heather Youmans

“Change is inevitable, and for me, it usually comes after reflection or writing a song. I feel like I needed to reflect and write this song, so I could turn the page and begin a new chapter. “Shine” is an embodiment of the redemption and new beginning I’ve experienced in my life this past year. I’ve never been more honest and open about my struggles in a very public way. And it’s hard putting myself out there like this, because I’m actually a very private person, despite being a performer.”

– Heather Youmans

The video was done in one take, it’s live, it’s raw and it’s brave; Nowadays, there are so many musicians that will pick away at every flaw in a “live performance video” that eventually that live performance feels scripted because, in reality, it’s the 15th take. This one though, although it doesn’t have extravagant visuals other than the absolutely breathtaking LA mountains in the background, is tastefully done. Alongside Heather is her husband, Jon MacLennan, strumming away on the guitar and admiring his wife’s beautiful sound.

When I first started my journey as an artist, I was putting out more heavily produced pop and dance music. Creating acoustic versions of my new songs first has helped me incorporate a more raw, emotional element in my music. I believe that playing and recording a song with just an acoustic guitar or piano is the best filter for a songwriter. When a song is stripped back like that, the writing has to stand on its own without any frills. If a song sounds good with just an acoustic guitar and vocals, just imagine the possibilities with a full band in the studio! 

– Heather Youmans

Like the song title itself, Heather finds a way to “Shine” throughout the track with her insightful lyrics and noteworthy vocals. The message of this song is not only prominent, but relatable for any young woman finding their way through life’s twists and turns.

Listen + Watch Heather Youmans’ “Shine” Below!

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