“I don’t know where this guy came from ... out of the blue, it seems,” commented an iTunes reviewer of Shy Girls’ 2013 EP “Timeshare.” “But I hope he’s here to stay.”
“He” is singer/multi-instrumentalist/producer Dan Vidmar, who has recorded under the moniker Shy Girls since 2011.
“Out of the blue,” appropriately enough, is State College.
Vidmar is an area native and Penn State graduate, now based in Portland, Ore.
If the warm reception of Vidmar’s music (as well as bookings in California with Grammy-winning singer Maxwell on June 23-26 and Chicago’s legendary Lollapalooza festival in August) are any indications of his career trajectory, he is, indeed, here to stay.
Vidmar’s brand of poised, progressive R&B bears a lush electronic edge.
He conveys a sense of yearning without seeming doleful; he is sensual, though not crass.
Vidmar recently fielded some questions from the CDT.
CDT: How did your involvement with the State College music scene contribute to your work ethic and self-actualization as a musician and performer?
Vidmar: There’s not really much of a music “industry” in State College, at least not like in a major city. As a kid, I kind of had to learn how to make things happen for myself. I organized my own concerts, pressed my own CD-Rs, all that. At Penn State, I started playing in local bars, because, well, that’s where you play at Penn State. I got to play hundreds of shows and became very experienced as a live performer.
CDT: Many Shy Girls songs sound like they’d be a solid fit on urban contemporary radio. Do you have any desire to explore any radio avenues/markets?
Vidmar: When it comes down to it, I’m just trying to make music that I like and that excites me. I think a lot of my newer stuff does have some radio appeal, and I don’t think that scares me. Do I want to be on top-40 radio? Not really. But “radio” is broad. My stuff is played on XM/Sirius Radio now, and I’m totally cool with that.
CDT: How did the tour dates with Maxwell and your addition to Lollapalooza come to fruition?
Vidmar: Maxwell reached out to me a while back to tell me he was a Shy Girls fan, and we began a bit of an internet friendship. A few weeks ago, I got word from his management that he wanted to take me along on tour for the West Coast leg.
Regarding Lollapalooza, I was contacted by Red Bull Energy Drink, which is curating a stage at the festival, asking if I’d hop on. I’ve done a few Red Bull-curated shows before and they’ve always treated me well.
CDT: Your publishing company, Prescription Songs, frequently holds writing sessions in Los Angeles, where you’re writing for yourself and other artists. What’s the conceptual gain in these types of collaborations?
Vidmar: I’ve been doing a lot of writing sessions for other artists during my time in L.A. I’m writing for myself as well, but I find that it’s a nice change of pace and a great exercise for me to write for others. I get the opportunity to stretch out other songwriting and producing muscles.
Also, I don’t do a lot of collaborating when I’m working on Shy Girls material, so it has been nice to get in the studio with some very talented producers and see how they think and work.
CDT: What information can you share about Shy Girls first full-length record?
Vidmar: I’m pretty deep into the recording process. Not sure when it will come out, and in what form, but it’s not too far off.
Updates on Shy Girls/
• Shy Girls will open for Grammy Award-winning R&B artist Maxwell for a few dates on his tour — June 23, 24 and 26 in California. (https://sbbowl.com/concerts/detail/maxwell)
• Shy Girls has been invited to play Lollapalooza from Aug. 1-3. (www.lollapalooza.com/2014-lineup-alphabetical)
• Shy Girls also will play the official Lollapalooza after-party as a Red Bull Sound Select Artist. (http://do312.com/events/2014/8/2/jhene-aiko)
• Some songs by Shy Girls are on H&M’s in-store playlist.
• Renowned indie-music website Pitchfork featured the band’s song “Under Attack.” (http://pitchfork.com/reviews/tracks/14941-various- artists-under-attack)
• Red Bull recently sent Vidmar to London to record a song in their studios. That song release date is still to be determined. ( www.redbull soundselect.com/artists/shy girls)