At first glance, it might seem like Baltimore songwriter/singer Shelby Blondell has it all. The 24-year-old only began writing and performing about 5 years ago, but her fame has skyrocketed—her original songs are a hit on the European charts, and she has opened for everyone from a cappella group Pentatonix to Howie Day to Disney Channel star Sabrina Carpenter.
But things haven’t always been so easy for Blondell. The artist was born with craniosynostosis, a brain condition that causes high intracranial pressure. (In fact, Baltimore’s own Ben Carson performed her first craniotomy.)