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Everything's gonna be alright

A gentle 'Lullaby' rocks Mullins to the forefront

Web posted on: Friday, October 09, 1998 3:41:16 PM

From CNN Correspondent Mark Scheerer

NEW YORK (CNN) -- It might not be the direct path to music success, but Shawn Mullins isn't complaining.

The Atlanta musician, who has risen to fame behind the hit song "Lullaby," a story of lost youth in Los Angeles, took the circuitous route -- through that musical breeding ground known as the U.S. Army.

"I went to North Georgia College and I was already interested in the military because my Dad had been in the Army and my brother was in the Navy," says Mullins. "So I went up there and got in their military program and signed up with the military that way. Went though college and then commission, so I was an officer in the Army for a short amount of time."

He was also a musician with a growing album base, releasing two CDs while stationed at Fort Benning.

Listen to "Lullaby"

Audio clip: 295k MPEG-3
Audio clip: 405k WAV
Video clip: 2.2Mb QuickTime

The break

After getting out of the Army, Mullins started playing at Atlanta clubs, meanwhile releasing three more CDs under the label he formed. After grinding it out for years, his song "Lullaby" finally caught the attention of 99X, an influential Atlanta "new rock"-format radio station. They started playing "Lullaby" and told Mullins to get ready for a record company bidding war.

"And I was like, 'Yeah right, I've been doing this for nine years and haven't got no calls yet,'" the musician says. "So, sure enough, within about eight days of them playing the record five or six times a day, I had 26 calls from major record companies on my answering machine."

Columbia Records signed Mullins and re-released his CD, "Soul's Core." And, of course, they produced a video for the song that made it all happen.

Growing as an artist

Now comes the hard part. Can Mullins build on the success of "Lullaby" -- and his own do-it-yourself aesthetic? Can he avoid the one-hit wonder syndrome?

"Springsteen's never written another 'Born In The USA,'" Mullins notes. "He's written some amazing songs since then, though, that are well respected. I think it's a matter of growing as an artist and a writer."

After all, Shawn Mullins has already done the basic training on his own.

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