Music: Natural Path

Shana Morrison was born to sing

Singer and songwriter Shana Morrison, daughter of Van Morrison, toured with her father from 2010 to 2014. Photo by Amanda Rowan.

By Lily O’Brien

For some, music is a calling. But singer/songwriter Shana Morrison, daughter of iconic singer and composer Van Morrison, was simply born into it. “Everybody in my family was into music, so it was just a natural thing,” Morrison says. “I was a portable kid and went with [Van] wherever he went. I was at shows my entire life from the time I was a toddler.”

Morrison, who grew up in Marin County and Los Angeles, has called Marin home for more than 20 years. She will be performing with her band, Caledonia (also her middle name) on Valentine’s Day at Sweetwater in Mill Valley, a show that she says will include many love songs, of course, and even some penned by her father. “Nobody writes better love songs than Van,” she says.

Morrison’s mother was a backup singer and lyricist, and her grandparents moved from Ireland to Marin in the ’70s and opened Caledonia Records in Fairfax—fulfilling one of their longtime dreams. Her grandmother, also a singer, taught her many traditional Irish songs.

Although music was always prominent in her life, Morrison initially wanted to be a dancer. She even went to business school, because being exposed to life in the arts made her keenly aware of the difficulties and pitfalls. “I thought it was a very unstable life and my dream was to have a job where you would get a paycheck every Friday and you would know how much you were going to make,” she says with a laugh.

Morrison describes her musical style as an eclectic mix. “I like country, I like blues, R&B, soul music, pop music, rock music,” she says, adding that she enjoys incorporating all of those styles into her shows.

Splitting her time between writing, performing and teaching Pilates, Morrison is penning songs for her upcoming CD, which will be mostly a blues album.

“We have a lot of people who have met at our shows and gotten married, and then we play at their weddings and they come to the shows for their ‘Shana-versaries.’ It’s really cute.”

Shana Morrison and Caledonia, Tuesday, Feb. 14, Sweetwater Music Hall, 19 Corte Madera Ave., Mill Valley; 8pm; $20-$25; 415/388.3850.

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