Michelle Sullivan made a name for herself as a teenager in the Cincinnati music scene during the mid-’00s, playing in bands like Slant and Pieces of People. So when she moved to Nashville with another young Cincy music vet (and her now-husband), Sean Sullivan, it only figured that she would continue to develop her knack for clever, catchy Indie Pop.
Except that’s not what happened at all. Instead, she stopped writing completely. For six years.
“When I moved to Nashville, that whole security blanket was gone,” she says. “In this city, everyone you meet is exceptionally gifted and has this superstar attitude, and I’m this shy goofball who plays really half-assed and writes these bratty songs. I didn’t really think there was a place for me here.”
Fast forward to last spring.
was laid up in bed for a week with a couple of bum ankles and wound up writing a song, more out of boredom than anything else. The song, “Problem Child,” would kick off her new band’s new EP just three months later, and she’s been on a writing streak ever since.
The band — Sherbert — features Michelle on vocals and guitar, Sean on guitar, Cody Gaisser on drums and Wes Burkhart on bass. Sean just happens to also be a Grammy-nominated engineer at The Butcher Shoppe Recording Studio, just 10 minutes from the couple’s East Nashville house. Michelle can write a song in the morning, the four can learn and rehearse it in the afternoon, record it by the evening and the group can release a new single by that weekend. It’s really that simple.
Sherbert has put out seven releases in the past 12 months, including February’s excellent LP, 2013 Never Happened.
The six years off have reinvigorated Michelle as a writer, as she now seems tapped into an apparently never-ending stream of brilliant three-minute Pop songs.
I think the creativity just came from being sad and nervous for a handful of years and realizing that the only thing that was different was that I had no outlet for my weirdness,” she says. “I just kind of reopened the floodgates, so to speak. I don’t think I can be stopped at this point. I figured out the formula. I am a monster.
SHERBERT, PAUL COLLINS BEAT and THE CRY play The Comet at 10 p.m. Wedesday, June 25. More info here.