Michelle Shocked (born February 24, 1962) is an American singer-songwriter.
Shocked was born Karen Michelle Johnston on February 24, 1962, in Dallas, Texas, at the Baylor University Medical Center. Her stepfather was in the US Army and the family moved from base to base. Her mother was Mormon and she was raised in that faith. Her mother had her committed to a psychiatric hospital for a time during years of drug abuse. She went through a punk rock phase, wearing a Mohawk hairdo and squatting in abandoned buildings in San Francisco.
In 1984, Shocked adopted the stage name "Michelle Shocked", a play on the expression "Shell Shocked", as she explained in an interview with Green Left Weekly: "The term 'Miss shell shocked' is a direct reference to the thousand-yard stare, which was a term that they first used to describe the victims of shell-shock in World War I. These people from outward appearances had survived the war quite well when in fact inside their minds were blown. I first used that name in 1984 at the Democratic Convention in San Francisco where I was arrested for protesting and demonstrating against corporations who contribute money to both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party campaigns."
Shocked received her first international exposure after Pete Lawrence recorded her performance on a portable tape recorder at the Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas. Lawrence released the tape in Europe as The Texas Campfire Tapes (1986). The album's success brought major labels asking her to sign a contract. Shocked was resistant to what she saw as the machinations of the music industry, and worked to retain a degree of creative control...
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