Shawn Alpay learned his first instrument at age ten. He chose the cello because it wasn't too big and it wasn't too small, and that suited him fine. He played in orchestras throughout high school and college, but departed the classical world soon after to pursue the potential of writing songs in one's own voice.
For several years, Shawn led a large orchestral rock outfit called The Definite Articles, and they recorded their only full-length at Tiny Telephone in San Francisco. The band produced relatively little material, as Shawn tended to overthink his efforts and deem much of them not worth completing. The group disbanded, and Shawn hung around the studio to learn the craft of audio engineering; the focus on his own songs faded into the background.
Then his mom unexpectedly passed, and it shook a lot loose; the sharpness of those emotions got him to push through his self-doubt and to start writing clearly. The stage name of Completions serves as his continuing reminder that revision can serve too much like a shield, and that it's more important to finish an imperfect creation than to let it die on the vine. With that in mind, Shawn once again hunkered down at Tiny Telephone to record a fresh batch of songs, serving as his own engineer.
Completions' self-titled EP will be released on October 1, 2015. While the material touches on several personal stories and specific experiences, the central theme is empathy -- an "I feel it too" sentiment. On the album, six original songs are accompanied by a Joni Mitchell cover. Sorting through his mom's things, Shawn found a handwritten collection of lyrics and chords from Blue, and he crafted "A Case Of You" into something of a goodbye to her.
As a band of one, Shawn sings over a plucked cello onstage, invoking the idiom of quiet and thoughtful projects like Jose Gonzalez, Andrew Bird, and Sufjan Stevens. Shawn will support this release on a national tour this fall opening for matt pond PA. In addition to pursuing his own project, Shawn is a cellist in several others, including matt pond PA, How To Dress Well, and Emily Jane White. He also serves as a house engineer and producer at Tiny Telephone.