Over the last few years, Shy Carter has turned out hit songs for artists from all corners of the music world. A co-writer behind No. 1 records like Charlie Puth’s “One Call Away”, Billy Currington’s “It Don’t Hurt Like it Used To”, country duo Sugarland’s smash hit “Stuck Like Glue”, and Rob Thomas’s single “Someday”. Carter has also worked with Jason Derulo, Meghan Trainor, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Lopez, Nelly and more. Now the Santa Barbara-based singer, songwriter, rapper, and producer is making his debut as an artist in his own right.
Growing up in Memphis, Carter took up singing in his early teens and joined an R&B group that performed at local fairs and talent shows. By age 16, he’d started writing songs and experimenting with production. Then, just before his senior year of high school, Carter’s family moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan — a rough move he describes as “a culture shock.” Trying to cope with his new surroundings, Carter started writing songs on the piano at school. Once his mother noticed his growing fascination with songwriting, she helped him buy a keyboard so that he could make music at home. “I didn’t really know how to play, but I figured stuff out on my own,” says Carter, whose earliest influences range from Curtis Mayfield to Van Morrison to ’90s R&B group Jagged Edge. “Making songs was all I would really do back then.”
After high school, Carter headed to Grand Valley State University on a full-tuition scholarship. In 2007, a year after graduating, Carter landed a production deal with Nelly and began producing tracks for artists like Ashanti and Chingy. Signing a publishing deal with Primary Wave Entertainment the following year, he soon expanded his songwriting into other genres. “I’d moved to Atlanta, and I used to drive up to Nashville all the time to see my girl,” he says. “I heard a song called “Whatever It Is” by Zac Brown Band and it sounded like a song I would write. So I noticed the connection and pursued it.” He started doing songwriting sessions in Nashville and began crafting songs on guitar and mandolin. Within a couple years he’d co-written Sugarland’s “Stuck Like Glue,” a double-platinum hit that shot to No. 1 on Billboard’s Country Digital Songs chart and No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Further broadening his horizons, Carter next began popping up as a featured artist on such eclectic songs as Mexican pop singer Gloria Trevi’s 2013 hit “Habla Blah Blah,” Currington’s rendition of Jack Johnson’s “Banana Pancakes,” and Meghan Trainor’s “Mr. Almost”. With his most recent features including Charlie Puth’s “As You Are” (one of the two songs he co-wrote for Puth’s album Nine Track Mind). Shy is known for building relationships and his relationship with Big Yellow Dog Music (publisher for Meghan Trainor, Maren Morris, and many more) has led to an opportunity to release his own work on their indie label, which is set for release on September 15th, 2017.
When it comes to his own songs, Carter draws a great deal of inspiration from artists with a certain fluidness to their form. Whether shifting vocal approach or bending genre, Carter maintains a deep musicality that prizes indelible melody and heartfelt music above all else. “I try to think about the music as being a gift that I’m giving, something that might make people feel better. When I do it for that reason, everything just falls into place.”
After working so much in Country Music, Shy decided to move to Nashville in 2018. Since then he wrote “Heaven” and “Good As You” for Kane Brown, “Speak To A Girl” and “Roll The Dice” for Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, and wrote and was featured on Keith Urban’s album Graffiti U, on “Never Comin Down”, “My Wave (feat. Shy Carter)” and on the bonus track of the album. He also wrote a couple of Christian songs including “Overflow” by Toby Mac and “Never Be The Same” by Danny Golkey. More songs coming soon!