This local musician’s life has been filled with music, and she loves sharing it with others.
For singer-songwriter Shelby Lauren Frostman, lyrics are life. When she first fell in love with her husband, Josh, she wrote a song. The day she lost her mother to cancer last year, she wrote a song. She believes music is healing, and it’s been a way for her to process her emotions for longer than she can remember.
“So, if you really want the origin story of Shelby Sakalo, now Shelby Lauren Frostman, it goes way, way back,” she said. “When I was a kid … the one way you could get me to settle down was to put me in the car and turn on Deana Carter’s ‘Strawberry Wine.’ It would calm me down.”
The 22-year-old remembers entertaining herself by listening to music, singing and humming as a small child.
“There was always music,” she said. “When I wasn’t feeling good, I would sing. When I was feeling really good and happy, I’d sing that. It felt like something I needed to do all the time. It has been my lifeline my whole life.”
Growing up in Ocala, Frostman attended Madison Street Academy, where she remembers having “so much access to the arts.” It was at the age of 12, after a few months of guitar lessons and private voice lessons, that she had her first solo musical performance. With encouragement from her dad, she approached Greg Pando at an open mic event at Mojo’s. The popular local musician, who passed away in 2020, not only allowed the pint-sized performer to play his 12-string guitar for that debut performance, he would continue to encourage her as she launched her musical career.
“I was so nervous,” Frostman said. “And he just saw past the nerves and saw something that he thought was worth cultivating. So we kept going back to see him, and I learned songs that he knew so I could actually sing along with him. He was really pushing my showmanship.”
Though she says her original music “typically ends up kind of folkie,” her family helped Frostman develop her sound, blurring the lines between country, folk and rock. She enjoys playing covers of diverse artists from Tom Petty to Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez to Jewel and Alanis Morissette.
“My dad and mom and my grandfather and grandmother had a lot of input in what kind of music I listened to,” she said. “My grandfather really likes the Eagles and Emmylou Harris. My dad really likes ’70s/’80s/’90s rock ‘n’ roll. My mom listened to a lot of folk and country with me.”
Frostman was attending Hillsborough Community College in Tampa when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and she decided to return home to Ocala and continue classes online. She started to get serious about performing at local venues in 2021, playing two or three shows a month while working as a registered behavioral technician and at a post office. Now she’s entertaining audiences around the region with as many as 18 shows a month. Frostman also has a new avenue to share music—as an artist practitioner with Arts in Health Ocala Metro, where she can use her music skills to help others connect with the arts in a therapeutic way.
“I want to connect people to the music because I really believe that connecting to the music does something good. It’s done a lot of good for me,” she said. “I want to make other people feel more comfortable with themselves and bring a smile to their face with music. I want to connect with people. I want them to feel more loved and more grounded when they leave than when they came in.”
Find her performance schedule on Facebook @ShelbyLaurenMusic.