Overcoming life-changing hurdles, MusicNL nominee Shanda Hopkins continues to chase down a dream on the heels of her debut album Rewind.
To say that Shanda Hopkins’ road to radio-play, awards nominations and critical and fan acclaim has been bumpy would be an epic undersell.
A gifted songwriter who has been crafting and piecing together sparks of inspiration since childhood, Hopkins has had the deep-down unshakable feeling of being stardom bound since she was old enough to know that the music business was obtainable.
“Both of my parents really supported me in my music through school,” Hopkins shared. “I was always the girl who would win awards for poetry and public speaking, doing variety shows.”
At just 21-years of age, Hopkins would get the type of life-altering reality shock that would derail even the best and brightest of future plans.
“I went to college and did travel hospitality and tourism and I went nowhere with that. I met my husband and had a baby and she was born with a heart defect. We had to fly up to Halifax, Nova Scotia,” she begins.
“When we were in Halifax I would sing to her, and no joke, all the nurses would be listening in the corridors. I would sing The Ennis Sisters song If Anything Happened to You and I would sing that every single day. I’d never leave her room.”
‘I Really Suffered’
The family returned home to Newfoundland only to be medivaced back to Halifax 10 days later. Her daughter was diagnosed with a rare heart defect known as TAPVR, which required extensive life-saving surgery. The operation and hospital stint, though successful, proved damaging long-term to Hopkins’ emotional health.
“I really suffered back then. I really put everything on hold,” she admits candidly. “I suffered emotionally, developed PTSD from it, which is why I’m so big about mental health. Hearing those beepings on the machine, that never goes away. The memories and the pictures never goes away with having a child that has a heart problem. We didn’t know that she was going to make it.
“During all of this time I don’t think I sang a note, before the hospital. I got home and I was completely paranoid all the time. She was only seven weeks old when she had all of this. I ended up having to go to the doctor – my blood pressure was up and I wasn’t feeling well.
“I saw a psychiatrist and she said to me what do you do that makes you happy? What can you do to make these panic attacks go away? I’d have panic attacks that were that bad I’d have to go to the hospital. I didn’t know what was wrong with me, I was dizzy and couldn’t even think straight. I said well I really love my guitar and music. She said that when you’re having a panic attack maybe try something with your music, maybe it will stop it. I tried it and it worked instantly.”
‘I knew I had what it took’
Nine years later and Hopkins had found her remedy for mind, body and soul. With a growing family and a need to scratch an old musical itch, Hopkins entered into the SingNL competition with Canadian Idol judge Zach Warner in 2017. Earning the wild-card slot in the competition, Hopkins again realized she had the tools to continue to chase down a long-lasting dream.
“At that moment I knew I had what it took to do what I really wanted to do.”
Hopkins’ debut album Rewind is a poignant and emotional collection of 10 hand-crafted songs completed entirely by the dedicated singer-songwriter.
With the aid of Fables veteran David Fitzpatrick, who produced the album, Rewind has gone on to critical acclaim, with Hopkins earning a MusicNL nomination for Country Artist of the Year, alongside radio play across the maritimes and Ontario. Most recently, Hopkins collaborated with Grammy and Dove award winning artist John Condrone from Nashville on the new track His Town, which is undoubtedly the first of a slew of new material to be released.
‘Reached for her Goals’
Balancing two kids and a loving home life with a growing career as a recording artist is tough, but some dreams require a little more finesse than others.
“Everybody is looking at me like how on earth are you doing it Shanda? I have no idea, but you’ve only got one life and why not use it to embrace your life?” she explains. “When I die say, hopefully in 100 years or so, I can look back and say you know what? She reached for her goals, she did what she wanted to do. That’s exactly what I’m going for. In spite of having a family, it’s hard as a female musician for sure, the women in the household take on a lot. I keep on going.”
For more on Shanda Hopkins visit her official Facebook page at Shanda Hopkins Music. Rewind is available now across all major digital platforms.