Instead of summer camp, Shaun Munday spent his childhood days jamming in the music room with his family in Springfield. That foundation helped him become the remarkable soul and rhythm and blues musician he is today.

“I’ve been playing music pretty much my whole life,” Shaun says. “My parents put a guitar in my hand as soon as I could crawl. My whole family is musical, so that was the thing to do as a child.”

Shaun graduated from the Berklee College of Music in Boston where he learned from some of the best in the industry, including Jetro De Silva—Whitney Houston’s music director and keyboard player, who taught a performance class. After graduating, Shaun moved back to Springfield where he resides today and works as a full-time musician.

“On a personal level, I never found a good enough reason to do anything else,” he says. “It just seemed like the thing to do, the thing I was passionate about, and the thing that I seemed to have aptitude for. So that’s the direction I took, and it’s paid off.”

Shaun has the ability to play multiple instruments, including drums, guitar, and keyboard, but he really shines on the bass. His sense of rhythm, quick fingers, creativity, and soulful voice has made him a standout artist in Springfield and beyond.

“At my core as a musician, I am a bass player,” Shaun says. “That is a unique position in that you are connecting the top and the bottom of the music. You are the bridge between the drums and the rhythm section with the melody or the singer or the trumpet player and everything else. You’re in the middle and you have to pay attention to all of these things.”

His signature soulful voice is on display during his performances, where he alternates between raspy high notes and silky and smooth tones. In Springfield, he plays at local coffee shops and breweries, private gigs, and The Mystery Hour, a local, late-night talk show. He’s also taken the stage at The Gillioz Theatre and opened for British singer-songwriter and Grammy-winner Corinne Bailey Rae and Grammy-nominated Andra Day.

“The music that most resonates with me for the last few years is a lot of the music that my parents listened to, so I’m an old soul in that regard,” Shaun says. “Soul, R&B, jazz, and hip hop music of the late ’60s through the late ’80s. The first album I remember listening to was Purple Rain, the soundtrack with Prince, and that stuck with me. That whole aesthetic made an impact on me.”

Shaun also receives inspiration from other musicians he frequently listens to, such as Al Green, Donny Hathaway, Otis Redding, and Sam Cooke. He is currently working on his second self-produced, solo album. All of the instrumentation on the album is done by Shaun, but he has cowritten songs with some friends of his, as well as his father. The release date is to be determined, but Shaun is aiming for late summer or early fall. He plans to travel and promote the album when the time comes.

“I hope it is as enjoyable and exciting to listen to as it has been for me to make it,” Shaun says.

Photo // Starboard & Port