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Linthicum: Local woman 'flying' to new heights in Baltimore music scene

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'Sometimes we have to throw away to take the pain along the way, visions in our minds, leave the past behind and fly."

Shelby Blondell's lyrics in the upbeat and rhythmic title track of her first EP, "Fly," represent a mentality that permeates the lifestyle of the 20-year-old Linthicum resident. She does not just say she wants to make it in the music world - she is making it happen.

After releasing "Fly" last year, Blondell juggled a grinding schedule of being a full-time student at the University of Baltimore, working for her dad's special events business, and using the evenings to play many of the top venues in and around Baltimore.

There were acoustic shows at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and the Fillmore Silver Spring, rock 'n' roll sets at the Hard Rock Cafe in the Inner Harbor, and opening acts with her band at Rams Head Live and the Baltimore Soundstage for national acts like Howie Day.

But success so early in her career has made the youngest daughter of Mike and Sandy Blondell anything but complacent.

"I've played at Rams Head, but that was as an opening act," Blondell said in an interview last week. "It would be really cool to have a headlining show - sold out - at Rams Head. Yeah, now that would be cool."

Blondell will release her second EP later this summer before she returns to school, where she is majoring in business entrepreneurship, and has no intention of slowing down any time soon.

"It is tough," said Blondell of balancing life as a student, employee and musician. "It is a lot of work, but it's fun though. It keeps me out of trouble and on my toes."

Her friendly and down-to-earth demeanor, tireless work ethic and professional attention to detail have helped her stand out from a crowded field of people trying to make their way into the Baltimore and national music scene.

"She's so likeable," said Eric Robinson, a guitarist who has played with Blondell for the past three years. "She's really driven, too - all around, she is just a great girl."

The drive to succeed and build a fan base is what has helped her earn the respect of promoters like Kevin Hock, marketing director for 24-7 Entertainment, who frequently calls on Blondell to open for national acts that pass through the area.

"Her positivity has always struck me as a key factor in her success," Hock said. "She takes every show as a commitment. It's a very professional approach."

Hock said Blondell succeeds because she is always working on something new, whether writing new songs or honing in on different facets of her band's approach to performances.

"I just saw Shelby at Hard Rock and it was clear that she was making new fans," Hock said. "If you're not making new fans, what are you doing this for?"

While Blondell actively develops relationships with fans at shows and on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram, she said she resists the temptation to write songs just to please people.

"In the beginning it was a fear when I was performing - 'are people going to like it or not?'" Blondell said. "I've learned more so not to care what people think of my music. Yes, I want them to enjoy it, but I need to enjoy myself, too. If they don't like my music, they can listen to the next band."

Anyone wishing to catch Blondell perform can next see her from 7 to 9 p.m. Aug. 13 at the Tin Roof, 32 Market Place in Baltimore.

Free picnic

The Linthicum-Shipley Improvement Association will hold its annual free picnic from 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday.

The picnic will offer free hot dogs, chips, cookies and beverages. Donations to offset the cost of the food will be accepted.

The concert in the park will begin at 6 p.m. and will feature the Junkyard Saints. The rain date for the picnic is Aug. 3.

Day lily sale

The Free State Day Lily Society will offer hybrid plants for sale at bargain prices from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 3 at Benson Hammond House, 7101 Aviation Blvd.

For details, contact Ann Evans at 410-945-6449.

Church VBS

Linthicum Heights United Methodist Church, 200 School Lane, will host its annual vacation Bible school for ages 3 through sixth grade from 9 a.m. to noon Aug. 4 to 8.

A community movie night at 8 p.m. Aug. 8 will be a celebration of the week.

The theme of this year's program is "Shine." Students will learn about the many different ways that crowns are given to those who shine for Jesus Christ here on Earth.

Registration is $7 through the PayPal link on the church's website, http://www.lhumc.org. It also can be paid on the first day the school.

The free movie night will feature an outdoor showing of the Disney film, "Planes." This event is free for the community. People should take folding chairs or blankets for seating. Free refreshments will be served.

If it rains, the movie will be shown in the church's fellowship hall.

7th-grade vaccines

The Anne Arundel County Health Department will provide a vaccination clinic from 3 to 7 p.m. Aug. 18 at Lindale Middle School, 415 Andover Road, to help all students entering the seventh grade meet the new Maryland state requirements for the 2014-2015 school year.

In addition to school immunization requirements required in previous years, beginning this school year, students entering the seventh grade will be required to have had one Tdap, or tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis/whooping cough, vaccination and one meningococcal vaccination.

Students are welcome regardless of whether they have health insurance or not.

For more information, call 410-222-4896.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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