A headshot of APM Artist and Composer Shelly Poole

Meet Your Creator: Shelly Poole

18 Nov 2022

A headshot of APM Artist and Composer Shelly Poole

The shortest path to becoming a musician yourself is being born into a musical family, so as the daughters of Brian Poole—of the British invasion group, Brian Poole and the Tremeloes—the Poole sisters were on their way into the industry from an early age. As Shelly and Karen became artists and songwriters themselves, first together as a teenage duo in the girl group Alisha’s Attic, and then later within various iterations of solo careers, it’s easy to see who instilled them with an initial love for music. Shelly shared that some of her earliest memories were listening to music with her dad off an old 4-track player.

My dad used to have a 4-track cartridge player in his car, and we used to take days out when we were really little to the seaside,” Poole said. “He’s been a musical artist all his life so he used to play music really loud. We had five or six cartridges, and among them were Neil Diamond, The Eagles, and Joni Mitchell. Loud in a car when you’re a kid is the best introduction to music there could be. I was already obsessed with Julie Andrews at this point.”

It’s easy to see why Julie Andrews would be a major influence on Shelly, who was a teenager in the late eighties and early nineties, as that was the height of Andrews’ career. But Alisha’s Attic wasn’t far behind by the mid-nineties, as Shelly and Karen released their debut album Alisha Rules The World in 1996. The album was preceded by a single, “I Am, I Feel,” which became a radio hit and helped anchor the record, already a rarity in the era due to the fact that the sisters wrote the bulk of the music themselves. 

Our first single, ‘I Am, I Feel,’ wasn’t written until we’d already signed a deal and the album was nearly ready,” Poole said. “And our record company asked us to ‘go and try and write a single.’ We were a little pissed off at the time, but I’m so glad now we went away and wrote it in my front room. It was all ours and so much fun. All freedom, no fear, selfish creation, traveling the world, and meeting amazing people from all walks of life.”” As a duo, Alisha’s Attic released several more albums, including a 1998 record, Illumina, and The House We Built, in 2001—plus a Japan-only release called Japan Dream

And though they played stages as historic as the origins Lilith Fair, and opened for the likes of INXS and Bon Jovi, the band eventually ended up breaking up in 2001. They had already embarked on careers as songwriters for other musicians while in Alisha’s Attic, so the transition into that world had already begun. “We were writing songs for other artists simultaneously and had publishing contracts,” Poole explained. “The whole artist thing is a process, so it’s a natural thing for us both to want to explore other creative outlets and writing forms. We used to always write our B-sides separately, as there were so many, so we’d go into separate rooms and each just knock them out.”

Early piano lessons gave way to guitar for Shelly, who describes herself as a “Jack of all trades, master of none” when it comes to instrumentation. Recently, she’s been working with her husband, Ally McErlaine, a Scottish guitarist of the band Texas, in a supergroup called Red July Sky. And she’s been active in the world of production music as a solo artist, contributing albums to APM’s library catalog through the legendary library music partner, KPM. 

Though Shelly has written songs for pop stars, her work with Red July Sky and solo songwriter material both lean in a folksier direction. She wrote and recorded the album Bitter Sweeter for KPM in 2020, but has mostly been more focused on Red July Sky, even if the formation of the group itself was a happy accident. “I really love the stuff I’ve done for Red Sky July,” Poole said. “That band was formed after hearing the ‘Marry Song’ by Band Of Horses.” My husband, Ally (Alistair McErlaine), the guitarist from the band Texas, was exploring his love of old school Americana musically. I heard a track from upstairs that he was creating, and I very quickly put a little song to it while sitting on the stairs listening in.” 

With the addition of a third member, vocalist Haley Glennie-Smith, the band was born. Some couples can barely get household chores done together, but this one can create a whole band together while they’re not even in the same room. As far as what’s coming soon, there’s a new Red July Sky album on the horizon, and Poole’s work is also available through APM with plenty of great ‘80s and ‘90s-flecked folk-pop songs. Her versatility is part of why Poole was selected for the APM Indie initiative, and she’s one artist on a fully curated artist discovery offering that includes emerging artists across all genres. The industry is focused on a handful of independent artists who APM believes are on the cusp of greatness, so we offer promotion and sync licensing opportunities to this roster. 

Check out Poole’s work as a solo artist here, and her work with Red July Sky here.

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