Kelley Shannon loves painting, cooking, cutting hair — any positive interaction that brings joy to people.
“I love anything that gives me the ability to interact with people,” she said.
On Valentine’s Day, Shannon, a jazz vocalist and stylist at Panache Hair & Nail Lounge in Astoria, will put her twist on decades of love songs with the help of pianist George Colligan at the Performing Arts Center.
“I think my demographic of people will probably appreciate more songs from the ’60s and ’70s, so I’ll probably focus on a few from then, maybe some Beatles, but also some classic love songs, too. I’m stepping outside of my repertoire. It will be a fun show to hear old songs you haven’t heard in the way that I’m going to do it.”
Shannon, originally from Spokane, Washington, comes from a family of music educators and performers. Her grandparents were music teachers, and her grandfather was the concertmaster of the Spokane Philharmonic. Her mother, Patricia Shannon, sang and danced. A friend of hers, a jazz musician, introduced Shannon to the classics.
“He started playing Sarah Vaughan and Ella (Fitzgerald) and all the greats,” she said. “That’s when I heard Miles Davis for the first time and started listening to Charles Mingus and Thelonious Monk.”
Shannon hunted the library as a teenager looking for vinyls and other recordings, memorizing the greats and learning the structure and improvisation in jazz.
“You can create something that doesn’t exist yet over something that exists,” she said. “It’s like there’s some kind of creative power. That’s what I wanted. That’s what I was so curious about.”
Shannon followed her mom, a local art gallery owner, to Astoria in 1996 when she was 19. She participated twice in the 2000s in Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead, a program bringing young musicians together with experienced professionals at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and spent time in the industry in Los Angeles and the East Coast.
But “home is where your mom is,” Shannon said of her recent return to the North Coast.
Aside from Decades of Love — the Valentine’s Day show on Feb. 14 — Shannon is planning a future concert in the region with Euphoria, a Brazilian groove collaboration between her and trumpeter Derek Sims, and working on another record with guitarist John Stowell.
“The only thing I have left is to win a Grammy,” Shannon said.
That and passing the love of music along to her 3-year-old daughter, Violet, who Shannon said already has perfect pitch and creates her own melodies.
“She loves the microphone, so I’ll probably have her up for a song,” Shannon said. “And of course, she’ll steal the show.”