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Writer and finalist on the NBC Special, “America's Favorite Mom,” Shawna Ray is now in the process of reinventing herself, chasing unforgotten dreams, and sharing her story through original songs in her debut album titled OPEN, released April 11, 2010 and children's book "Take a Trip to Diverse City". RAY means line of light; to shine forth, radiate, (Webster) and that's exactly what Shawna is about. Her mosaic music has a fresh sound that stretches the genre box with a mix of pop soul influenced by R & B, blues, funk, jazz, and gospel sounds. Shawna’s authentic lyrics, inspiring message, pure presence, and soulful style meet the audience in a personal way. OPEN introduces Shawna’s musical therapy that comes from real life experience and a heart longing to build bridges to unity.
Born Shawna Goebel, Shawna grew up in Phoenix, Arizona with her parents and older brother in a Christian home that was also opened to over 27 people from all walks of life at different times when others were in need of a place to stay. At the age of 12, Shawna’s family moved to Columbus, Ohio and she started writing songs about adapting to change. When Shawna was 17, her father was diagnosed with cancer and she made the decision to stay close to home for college. Shawna explains, “Anything that impacts me usually comes out in the form of a song and I love sharing, but it was just a hobby and I started college majoring in Broadcasting.” Shawna graduated from Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio with a degree in Communications/Public Relations and rushed to get married before her father passed away. Shawna worked as an event and program director at United Way of Central Ohio and Goodwill Industries, with a desire of helping others while raising her two children as a single Mom, divorced in 2005 and now works from home as a consultant on various projects.
Shawna is also the author of the children's book, "Take a Trip to Diverse City," that was inspired by a situation of prejudice that happened to her son’s friend at school. Shawna responded to meet a need and provide a relatable resource encouraging kids to embrace and celebrate their differences while understanding the gift of diversity and how we are all connected as ONE. The original book was self- published through Winters Press in 2007. Shawna started her own publishing company, Rhythm Ray, Inc. and is re-releasing a special edition of Take a Trip to Diverse City with national boy band, B5, including a CD with B5 narration and a Shawna Ray booksong, now distributed through Atlas Books. “Success, knowledge and love have no color! It’s the way you think that makes the difference, says B5 member Patrick, “Diverse City is 100% B5 approved! It lets kids know that we are all beautiful in our own way!”
Shawna lost her job and home at the start of the recession and has redirected her career into sharing her books and songs full time ever since, appearing on local and national television shows, and touring schools, music venues, churches, community events, bookstores and libraries. Shawna is currently seeking a major publisher, record label and creative outlets in which to distribute her music and books to a wider audience. “Reinvention is a process. This album and book took seven years to fully come about, but it feels great to pursue my passion.”
Shawna is now the Public Relations Coordinator at IPSC, The International Poverty Solutions Collaborative, a Center for Innovation at The Ohio State University. http://poverty.osu.eduFor lyrics and more, see links.
Books and music are available at various online and retail outlets (some bookstores require that you request order).