Shelley Segal on Her Religious Producer and Pseudonymous Band Members For Her Atheist Album

Kylie recently interviewed Shelley Segal who wrote An Atheist Album (which I very much liked and recommended you pick up). Particularly notable revelations were that the album’s producer was religious and that the band members, fearing for their careers in America, opted not to have their names listed in the credits of the album rather than be associated with such a bluntly atheist record:

Additionally, were there people who you worked with who hesitated about the content of the album (or even just the title)? If so, how did you deal with it?

The team I worked with on the album were all very supportive regardless of their beliefs. I remember having a discussion with the engineer on the last day of recording, that was continuing out the door, as the band had to rush to a gig. Heated but still good-natured. Also, my producer is religious but he felt that this album would encourage people, who hadn’t really questioned what they believed in or why they believed it, to think. Which we both felt would be a very positive outcome.

The only problem was that my studio band, who do a lot of work in the US, were concerned that having their names on the album would potentially harm their employment there. So we gave them pseudonyms: Mark, Matthew, Luke and Mary :) We also jokingly called the band ‘Shelley and the Disciples’! The main hesitation came from some family and friends who were very concerned that singing about atheism would ruin my career. I disagreed. I think that if you sing about what means something to you, that will come across in your music and can be powerful. I’ve met a lot of people in the industry who, while disagreeing with my world-view, tell me it helps that I have something to say. I am also grateful to live in a country where I can freely create something that discusses these issues. I am taking advantage of that freedom and hopefully adding my voice to a movement that seeks to protect it.

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You can also listen to Atheist Talk‘s interview with Shelley co-conducted by Freethought Blogs‘s newest blogger, Brianne Bilyeu of Biodork. You can download her album here. And all in the YouTube video below, you can hear her terrific lead single “Saved”, followed by another podcast interview and an especially kick ass passionate live performance of “Eve” (at 19:34):

Your Thoughts?

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.