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Florence musician shares what’s on her heart by singing out
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Florence musician shares what’s on her heart by singing out

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FLORENCE, S.C. – With life on hold for the past few months, Chelsea Hamshaw’s plowing through the monotony one song at a time.

And she’s sharing her music on social media in the hope it provides a little therapy for friends, family and her community as the world faces such strange times.

“It’s a way I can communicate and share what’s on my heart,” Hamshaw said. “My music enables me to do that, and that’s why it’s so important to me.”

Hamshaw was born in Pittsburgh, where her father served as a minister. The family later moved to Bakersfield, California. After college, Hamshaw sensed a call to move to South Carolina, which is where she met her husband, Jason, who at the time was the youth minister at Prince George Church in Georgetown. The two married in 2010 and are now the parents of four boys.

Drawn to music throughout her life, Hamshaw said she used to mess around with the guitar here and there, but it became more than a hobby soon after her husband became rector at All Saints Anglican Church.

“The music minister left and moved to Charleston,” Hamshaw said, “so because of my love of true worship, I took over on a volunteer basis.”

In addition to her musical and administrative duties at church, Hamshaw said she’s been writing new music lately and sharing it through video-recorded performances, many of which have been in front of All Saints and in a few parks throughout town.

“I guess with the shutdown, I’m finding or making more time for it now,” she said. “I’m recording both inside and outside, but I really like the outside performances. They’re fun.”

Hamshaw’s husband is a trained opera singer, but Hamshaw said they don’t necessarily collaborate a whole lot. A duo at church every Christmas Eve is about the extent of it.

“For the most part, our styles are pretty different. But occasionally we’ll do something together – like we both love early Johnny Cash, so we did a Johnny Cash song together at church on Palm Sunday,” Hamshaw said.

Hamshaw said she’s always enjoyed good song writers, such as James Taylor and Bob Dylan, and remembers listening to them on her family vacations. She also enjoys indie music and finds influence in eclectic artists such as Fiona Apple.

“I never got much into pop music or what was on the radio, even when I was younger,” she said. “I’ve always gravitated more towards the folksy, acoustic songwriter types.”

Hamshaw hopes to hit the studio soon to put a collection of her songs together on a CD. She said she’s in the process of exploring crowd-sourcing and funding options for production costs.

“I definitely plan to put out a CD, hopefully sometime soon,” she said. “Some of it will be more church-related, but not all of it. Some of the material will just be about life in general.”

Once area venues are allowed to reopen and host live music, Hamshaw said she hopes to play a few live gigs and already has discussed possibilities for a show at The Purple Fish, a coffeehouse in Darlington.

For the time being, however, she’ll have to settle for recorded performances on social media.

“I’m trying to record new performances every week,” she said. “I usually record on Monday, then post the recordings on Tuesdays. It’s a lot of fun and something I enjoy. I just hope it brings a smile to a few others. That’s really what music’s all about. It’s a language everyone understands.”

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