Artist Darbi Shaun is ushering in a new wave to country music. Born and raised in the heartland of Houston, TX, Darbi Shaun is proud of her musical heritage. Darbi Shaun has been a singer and songwriter ever since she picked up a guitar at age 13. She comes from “the red dirt music of Texas” and strives to share it with her unique blend of rock and classic country. Following her inner voice and finding inspiration in her everyday experiences helps this artist stay open to the music.
Darbi Shaun has opened for the likes of Mike Eli of the Eli Young Band, making audiences swoon from her acoustic and full band sets. Her rich voice sweeps listeners up into a nostalgic time where gentle guitar riffs and ballads ruled. At the age of 17, she was recognized as a semi-finalist in the National Songwriter Serenade Contest. In her newest album, “4AM,” Darbi Shaun expresses her powerful emotions and story of transformation through her authentic and vulnerable lyrics.
Name: Darbi Shaun Lacagnina
Artist name: Darbi Shaun
Currently based in: Houston, TX
Originally from: Houston, TX
Superpower: I don’t know if this counts as a superpower, but it’s something that is important to me. I always try to be genuine in my writing and in my relationships with other people.
Biggest pet peeve: Arrogance!
Favorite 90s jam?
The Shania Twain “Come On Over” album! Really, any song that Shania Twain has ever released.
What are some of your hobbies or interests outside of music?
When I’m not doing something with music I love spending time with family and friends! Whether I’m just watching reality TV with my sisters or at an Astros game with my family, it’s the best.
If money wasn’t an issue, what would you love to splurge on (something totally impractical & just for you)?
Something impractical would be tons of skincare and makeup products. Most days, I have to delete Ulta emails immediately to save my bank account. A slightly more practical answer would be a lot of really expensive, gorgeous guitars.
What is a quote or piece of advice that you try to live by?
Lately I’m really trying to live by “take it day by day”. I am the queen of overthinking and I need that constant reminder to just take it one day at a time.
“Giants” by Lights is a song that always cheers me up and makes me feel like I can do anything. It’s what I listen to when I need a little musical pep talk.
If you could live anywhere else in the world right now, where would it be?
Sydney, Australia. Australia is magical to me! I have been there before and it is still my favorite place. I also really, really, really love koalas.
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory?
Yes! I have wanted to sing for as long as I can remember. My earliest memory is watching a VHS tape of Shania Twain music videos on repeat and copying everything she did in front of the TV.
How would you describe your sound?
In short, I would say it’s country. For a fancy description, I would say it is made up of the red dirt music of Texas, the heart in rock and classic country, and the honest lyrics of the singer-songwriter genre altogether with a modern country twist.
What are the main themes or topics in your songs?
Life in general! It sounds cliche, but that really is where my songs come from. I write about love, trying and struggling to figure out life, and everything in between.
As a whole, what is the message you hope to put forth with your music?
I hope to always put forth honest emotions that may be vulnerable for me to express but that others can connect to. That’s always my goal.
Who are some of your favorite artists/which artists are your greatest musical inspiration?
Growing up my heroes were (and still are) Martina McBride and Shania Twain. I also love Kacey Musgraves, Chris Stapleton, and Ron Pope!
Who would be your dream artist to collaborate with in the future?
Any of the artists mentioned before would be a dream. My number one would be Ron Pope. I think he is an absolutely brilliant writer and creates nothing short of magic with his music.
How do you feel your music evolved since you first started as a solo artist?
I have settled into my own sound and have matured in my writing and singing overall. I have learned so much and experienced more on stage which has really helped me grow as an artist.
Do you play any instruments, and if so, which ones?
Yes! I play the guitar.
Who writes your songs?
What do you do or where do you go when you need to find inspiration for your music?
Usually when I’m going through a time of struggling with inspiration, what helps me the most is to stop thinking about writing and just get out and do something. I focus completely on the experience. More times than not, this helps to get an idea started.
Where do you see yourself 30 years from now?
Oh goodness, who knows! Hopefully, I’m doing something that makes me happy with people who make me happy. And hopefully, that includes music!
What is a project you’re currently working on that you are most excited about?
I’m about to move to Nashville in September, that has been a huge project! I am also excited to plan out my next single and the recording process for it.
What has been one of your favorite performances of all time?
One of my favorite shows was the first time I ever opened for anyone. It was at Main Street Crossing in Tomball, TX opening for an acoustic show of MIke Eli of the Eli Young Band. I happy cried when I found out about that show and it is still such an amazing memory.
What stands out as one of your worst/most horrifying performances of all time?
I won’t mention the venue or many details, but I showed up and the house band didn’t know any of my songs and wanted me to switch my set an hour before the show. As a 14 going on 15 year old just starting out, it was pretty stressful.
What is one thing that you have accomplished as a musician that you’re most proud of?
I’m really proud of my latest album, 4AM. It took me four years to be ready and put out that project. It was written during some of the most transformative years of my life. I’m still just really happy with it.
Share a story of a time you screwed up in your musical career and how you recovered:
Luckily I have had a lot of amazing people in my life and career that helped to educate me on the industry and guide me. I haven’t had too many huge screw-ups that really set me back. There have been a few people I wouldn’t trust again and steps in my career that I would do differently given the knowledge I have now, but nothing too crazy has happened yet.
What do you see as one of the greatest challenges facing your industry today?
It’s an industry that is constantly changing. It’s difficult to keep up with those changes and learn the best way to navigate it. From social media to new music platforms, there are a lot of things that go into the music industry. You have to be a good musician as well as a good business person and you have to keep up with those changes in all areas.
Are there any resources you have discovered that have been an asset to you as a musician that you’d like to share?
I’ve found that the network of people I’ve met, by far, have been my biggest asset and resource. Even on a friendship level, other musicians I’ve met have been so important in my life and career.
Were there any other band/performer names that you almost chose instead? And if so, please share!
No, not really! My last name is really complicated and confusing so I just went with my first and middle name.
If you weren’t a musician, what do you think you’d be doing (job/career)?
I would probably be doing something with event planning! I love planning and details and have always thought it would be a really cool job.