TAKE a glance at Shenna and one will experience…
smiles, colour and fascination! I have been speaking with the New York-based songwriter about her new song, MAGENTA - and how it differs from her previous offering, Made of Gold. I find out about Shenna’s favourite music and how of New York’s (five) boroughs differ, music-wise; whether we can expect to see her in the U.K. – the new artist that stands above the rest.
I discover what Shenna is doing this Christmas; how she came into music; what it was like working with Austin Bello; if an L.P. is forthcoming – and the musicians that compelled her step into music.
Hi, Shenna. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey! It’s been cool - just been organizing some shows to end out the year!
For those new to your work; can you introduce yourself, please?
My name is Shenna (Shay-nuh) and I am an Indie-Pop artist from Virginia - but currently live in N.Y.C. I am a singer-songwriter and am known for my quirky fashion, red hair - and writing songs about life experiences others can relate to.
I’m all about embracing individuality!
MAGENTA is fresh from you. What does the song represent and what influenced its creation?
MAGENTA is definitely a different vibe compared with some of my past music!
The song represents feeling sexy, confident and having all eyes on you in that moment. I picked the color ‘magenta’ as the feeling because it is such a unique color. Seriously; when you Google ‘magenta’ a lot of different colors of pink and purple tints pop up - and it’s vibrant. I was honestly influenced by Bruno Mars’ last album - and wanted to create a female type of track (in that same feel).
Austin Bello is a name I recognise! What was it like working with him?
Yes! Austin is a member of an awesome band, Forever the Sickest Kids. Austin is one of the best writers and producers I have ever met. He is very passionate about music and honest with me when working together. We go through tons of ideas and he’s like: “That’s not it, let’s think bigger: let’s get weird on this track!” (laughs).
I totally love working with him I am such a stronger writer now studying and working with him.
MAGENTA is your first material since the album, Made of Gold. Do you think you have developed a lot in that short time? What have you learnt from your time in music so far?
I feel I have developed, for sure!
Most artists want to create music that is relevant for the radio and trending in the moment - but may be afraid of losing who they are. I feel I have learned to make music that is for today but is still true to me! I have a lot of new tunes that are so much different and some that have a similar vibe to Made of Gold. I have learned that not everyone is going to like everything you do, release; write etc. but, at the end of the day, if you put something out you have to own it - and rock it to the fullest!
It’s just like an outfit. It is all about perception and how you own it and embrace your brand.
Is a new L.P. part of your 2018 plans?
I am working on a collection of songs and, who knows…maybe an L.P. will come of it!
Tell me about the artists who inspired you to get into music…
I love Corinne Bailey Rae and Sia because of their songwriting; Rihanna, because she is a brand - from makeup to fashion to her music; Bruno Mars...because he is the ultimate performer!
If you put all these artists into one...the world would not be ready!
From Woodbridge, VA; you moved to New York City. How important is the city and its people regarding your music and drive?
Being in New York; there is always something to do, somewhere to go network; some show to play, etc. I lived in a suburb area in Virginia which I do miss - because it really was a great space to clear my head, write and create. Sometimes, I go back to visit for a few days and write some of my best songs - like So Low and MAGENTA.
Each of the boroughs must have a different flavour and music scene. What is your favourite part of New York State?
Yes! Each borough has its own cool vibe and scene!
Harlem is very Jazz-oriented; the Bronx is more Rap-based; Brooklyn is actually very open to a lot of genres - but is the home for some of the greatest unsigned and signed Rap acts. Manhattan is, of course, very hip and mainstream! My favorite part has to be Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
The music scene there is so cool - and a lot of people look like they belong NYLON magazine!
Your music has amassed a lot of love and support! How important are the fans and the loyalty they offer?
Without support, my career would still be ground-level.
I honestly see my support system as my team because they spread the word; purchase merchandise and keep me motivated! No matter how many releases I may have, it is always nerve-racking putting out my art to the public - and, seeing I have my dreamers to back me up and support, means the world to me, honestly.
Do you have a favourite album and/or song from 2017? What have you been vibing with this year?
Hmm…that is a tough one.
I really like SZA. I have been vibing to Love Galore. I also really love I Feel It Coming by The Weeknd and Daft Punk - they are an amazing collab. Oh; I also love (basically) anything Chainsmokers-related.
I saw them live and, ever since, I have been hooked!
IN THIS PHOTO: Dua Lipa/PHOTO CREDIT: Luc Coiffait
Which new artists do you recommend we check out?
Dua Lipa has a crazy following - but she is a newer artist. I suggest anyone reading this blast her on Spotify or Apple Music right now!
Are there any tour dates coming up? Will you be coming to the U.K.?
Yes! I actually just came back from London, which was amazing - but I plan to come back to the U.K. again very soon maybe (in the spring-time!).
If you had to select the three albums that mean the most to you; which would they be and why?
That is tough!
I would have to say Off the Wall - Michael Jackson; The Emancipation of Mimi - Mariah Carey and last, but certainly not least, Corinne Bailey Rae - Corinne Bailey Rae
Each of these albums I grew up with as a kid and played for hours; days, months – and up until this day. They made me feel the emotion behind every song - that I would lock myself in my room for hours and just listen…
What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?
My advice would be: there are very high moments in a rising artist's career - and, also, some very low. Despite what happens, keep your faith alive; make sure you focus on your priorities because there is always someone else outworking you - so you may have to sacrifice some of your free time.
At the end of the day; never quit on something you can’t go a day without thinking about it.
Christmas is not too far away. Do you have plans already - or will you be busy working?
Yes! I actually am planning on releasing Christmas covers and, for the holiday, I am partnering with a huge brand for a toy drive. I am very excited for that. (As for) vacation-wise; I am going to go home to see my family and friends in Virginia for a little.
I am so excited to see everyone.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
Raury - Mama