Shawn Alpay learned his first instrument at age ten. He chose the cello because it wasn't too big and it wasn't too small, and that suited him fine. He played in orchestras throughout high school and college, but departed the classical world soon after to pursue the potential of writing songs in one's own voice.
For several years, Alpay led a large orchestral rock outfit called The Definite Articles. They recorded their only full-length at Tiny Telephone in San Francisco. The group disbanded, but Alpay hung around the studio immersing himself in the craft of audio engineering. He soon rose to the position of house engineer and producer there, and his own creative output drifted off.
Then his mom unexpectedly passed, and the sharpness of those emotions got him to push through his self-doubt and to start writing again. The stage name of Completions serves as a continuing reminder that revision can serve too much like a shield; it's more important to finish an imperfect creation than to let it die on the vine. With that in mind, Alpay once again hunkered down at Tiny Telephone to record.
Completions, the self-titled EP, was released on October 9th, 2015. While the material touches on several personal stories and specific experiences, it also speaks broadly of empathy, the shared experience that binds us all together. On Completions, six original songs are accompanied by a Joni Mitchell cover. Sorting through his mom's things, Alpay found a handwritten collection of lyrics and chords from Blue. He crafted "A Case Of You" into something of a goodbye to her.
As a band of one, Alpay sings over a plucked cello onstage, invoking the idiom of quiet and thoughtful projects like Jose Gonzalez, Andrew Bird, and Sufjan Stevens. In addition to pursuing his own project, Alpay is a cellist in several others, including matt pond PA, How To Dress Well, and Emily Jane White. He is still house engineer and producer at Tiny Telephone.