Mark Shay was born in the O.C. of California, USA before his parents moved the family, at first, to N.Z. and later to Australia.
Raised with a wide variety of musical influences from Dolly Parton to Elvis to Mozart, he soon found himself in piano lessons learning classical music at an early age.
With such a strong surrounding of Rock ’n’ Roll and Country Music, Mark Shay was soon looking for a musical identity of his own which he found in the likes of Michael Jackson, Bon Jovi, and Prince to name a few.
At the age of 11 he stumbled onto a video clip of a young Glam Band named Poison with the song “Talk Dirty To Me” and his fascination with the humble guitar began.
Mark Shay spent the next few years teaching himself how to play the guitar and from the age of 15 even began to teach others how to play. Along the way of developing his craft he also taught himself how to play the Bass Guitar, Banjo, Cello, Drums, and Violin among other instruments.
Being the rebellious teenager, Mark Shay’s musical tastes began to lean towards the guitar dominated Hard Rock / Heavy Metal genre where he became influenced by the likes of Poison, Skid Row, etc.
At the age of 14, Mark Shay found himself playing for local bands / artists at pubs and clubs in Sydney and surrounding areas.
With the help of Karaoke, he began to work on a very undeveloped voice. As his vocal ability began to improve Mark Shay used Karaoke competitions to fine-tune his performing skills and was soon finding himself not only placing in competitions, but winning them outright.
Although he started his songwriting at the age of 12, the maturity in the music did not start to show and develop until his later teens.
Frustrated with being unable to secure a record deal, and after going under different stage names, Mark Shay finally had a little success under the name Shy-Michel with his heavy metal song called “Wake Up” which he released via the internet.
Throughout the years, Mark Shay’s musical taste had remained very eclectic, as he listened to the likes of Marilyn Manson, Christina Aguilera, Sebastian Bach, Shania Twain, Motley Crue, Stevie Ray Vaughn, The Eagles, Led Zeppelin, Eminem, Michelle Branch and so on.
But it was at a Line Dancing class that he frequents where he heard Keith Urban for the first time.
Soon after being exposed to the music of Keith Urban, Mark Shay started to discover others who were reinventing the sound and image of the country music scene that he was raised with.
Mark Shay soon found himself being drawn back to Country Music.
It wasn’t long before the influence began to reappear in his songwriting. And it was soon after that where he found himself performing to crowds that were dominated by country music fans.
The diversity in Mark Shay’s musical influences leads to the unorthodox approach he takes with his songwriting, playing, and performing.
Currently based out of Wollongong, in the Illawarra, NSW he is aspiring to one day have his own name up there with those who have, and are still pioneering and reinventing the term “Country Rock”, Mark Shay just wants to stay true to himself.
“If I can blend the simplicity and honesty of Country, with the passion and excitement of Rock… and do it well… Then what more could I ask for.”