Texas-born Shea Seger was originally intending on a career in theatre, but gravitated toward songwriting in her late teens.
After a move to London, Seger partnered up with Nick Whitecross and started writing would become her debut album, The May Street Project.
Enlisting the talents of Pharrel Williams of the Neptunes, Ron Sexsmith (with whom she duets on ‘Always’) and even Lauryn Hill (who is peculiarly credited under the pseuodonym Commissioner Gordon) as the album’s mixer, May Street saw release in October of 2000 when Seger was only twenty years old (it was released in America the following year).
The May Street Project is one of those rare records where every single song is top-notch. There is virtually something for everybody here: hip-hop, rap, rock, blues, folk; Seger nails just about every genre she’s up against. And her voice is remarkably mature and comfortable on these songs. Sometimes, subtle similarities to artists like Shelby Lynne or Sheryl Crow are very evident.
The May Street Project never made much of an impact with the general public, however. I’m speculating that this was partly due to ill promotion (there are definitely some airwave-worthy tracks to be found here). But perhaps the album is a bit too scattered in helping to define Seger’s true genre. Seger’s collaborators may also hold too strong of a presence here to allow The May Street Project to truly demonstrate who Seger is in the vast music world.
Nevertheless, The May Street Project is an album worthy of discovery.
There’s a giant step between love and understanding
And baby, I think you stopped at love
Sooner or later, you’re gonna have to take me as I am
Learn to hear these sounds and try to understand.
~ Shea Seger
Featured below are two original cuts off of The May Street Project: ‘Last Time’, with it’s 70’s inspired disco-pop and the highly recommended ‘I Love You Too Much.’ Also featured is a live/acoustic performance of ‘Shatterwall’ recorded at KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic in June of 2001 as well as a remix of Seger’s second single, ‘Clutch’ arranged by the Neptunes.
To date, The May Street Project remains Seger’s only album available.