“They said I could make a better living in science. I had plans for pre-med but studied chemistry instead,” said O’Shields, who grew up in Aiken County, but now lives in Colorado. He will be performing his contemporary/New Age piano with soloist, Karen Gordon, at Imperial Theatre at 7:30 p.m. April 12.
After 30 years of working in the environmental testing industry, O’Shields’s life changed. The company he worked for was acquired by another company, which wanted to replace management with its own people.
“It happened by a phone call. It was not even in person,” he said.
Music had been an important part of his life, but he’d never pursued it to the fullest extent. Now was O’Shields’ chance to do what he enjoyed.
In the fall, he recorded a self-titled debut CD. He is currently working on a Christmas one and has plans for another CD in the spring of 2013.
The CD features 13 original compositions that are inspired by nature and by events.
“I live in the Colorado mountains. I’m inspired by the beauty of nature – the rain and snow,” he said. “I’m also inspired by things that just happen in life.”
O’Shields said he was affected by the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and subsequent memorial. He tries to tell stories with his music and says his music strikes a chord with people, he said.
“I’ve performed, and people say ‘It does touch my heart.’ ‘It made me cry,’ ” he said.
And that is the response O’Shields said he wants; he wants people to connect with his music and feel the emotion he has put into it.
O’Shield said he’s looking forward to returning close to home. He still has family in the area. He’s also excited about performing with Karen Gordon of Garden City Jazz.
“She seems like such a great spirit. I have great admiration for her,” he said.
While he hopes people will get the message in his music, there is another message he wants to deliver – that it’s never too late to pursue a dream.
“I’m not too old,” said O’Shields, who declined to give his age.
Tickets cost $16-$26. For more information, call the Imperial Theatre box office at (706) 722-8341 or visit www.imperialtheatre.com.