At the young age of 15, Ajay Shughart has surprised many with his musical passion and ability.
Ajay grew up in a home filled with all kinds of music. The 2000 release of the BB King/Eric Clapton collaboration, “Riding with the King” had a major influence. At the age of 4 he was already a blues fan. It is still one of his favorite recordings.
At age 9, after watching the movie “School of Rock”, Ajay decided he wanted to play the guitar. His parents, thinking this was just a passing fad, purchased a cheap Fender beginner guitar set up. It wasn’t long after starting lessons that they discovered this “passing fad” had become a passion and that Ajay had a true gift.
Soon after, his parents began taking him to local open mics; blues jams and live music venues. Although his parents were by his side at all times, his youth didn’t always make him welcome in some of the places he visited. Listen to the words of “Little Blues Man” for the story.
With the encouragement of many musical mentors, Ajay began writing his own music and lyrics at the age of 13. Older musicians often teased him for not being mature enough to sing “the blues”. That all changed in 2011 when he lost his home and dog in a fire and within a few weeks saw his Grandfather and Uncle succumb to cancer within days of each other. You can hear this reflected in the lyrics of “Leave It All Behind” and “Grim Reaper Knockin”.
Ajay’s talents aren’t limited to blues though. He plays with the Central PA Friends of Jazz Youth Band, the Trez Music All Star Jazz Band and the Dickinson College Jazz Band. He also plays with the country band, The Oddbaws. You can also see him performing his original music as well as many blues, r&b and rock covers with his band Rhythm on Main.