NOT content with being a successful musician and songwriter…
Sharlene-Monique runs an inspirational blog, Uniquely You. Drawing from her church/Gospel background; Sharlene-Monique brings messages of self-improvement and acceptance into her songs – You is the perfect example of her uplifting brand of songwriting. Produced by her husband Chris Morris; it is a captivating number and one that looks to the future. I ask her about upcoming songs and whether there is more music approaching; how important her childhood visits to church were – and what role her faith plays in her present endeavours.
I learn more about Sharelene-Monique’s tour dates and what her fondest musical memory is; what is was like working with her husband – with some advice for songwriting newcomers.
IMAGES: Relm Photography (except where noted)
Hi, Sharlene-Monique. How are you? How has your week been?
I’m having a great week so far.
For those new to your work, can you introduce yourself, please?
I’m a singer-songwriter, dancer; speaker and blogger.
I’m really passionate about inspiring people and encouraging them using the mediums said above.
You is your new single. Can you tell me about its origin and what inspired it?
You was written in 2014 around the time when I really began to discover my greatness. I had spent so many years prior to that feeling inadequate, from my body image to my talents.
You is my gift to anyone who has ever felt like they weren’t good enough.
Talk to me about the video. How did the concept come together and can you tell me about the people who appear on it?
The video was produced by MsMono Productions (http://www.msmono.com) and they were excellent. We wanted to find a unique way to tell the story of the song visually - and Karla Williams (the scriptwriter) done that so well along with Rebecca Coley (the director).
Without her knowing, she showed many elements of my childhood in the video. The video features some amazing actors, in particular, Jessica Hagan and Aquila Grant - who play the same character (Jesse) at different ages.
What was it like working with producer (your husband) Chris Morris on the song?
It’s been amazing to do a project together. He is very particular and he pushes me to ensure I give my best.
He has a wide range of musical influences from Hans Zimmer to Robert Glasper - so the production to this song is quite a masterpiece in my opinion.
In addition to music, you are an inspiration speaker and blogger. How do those ‘roles’ feed into music? Is there a connection between them, would you say?
My blog is called Be Uniquely You and it’s an inspirational and fashion blog. I very often do talks around the themes of my blog which are purpose, self-confidences and self-esteem. I love it when I get the opportunity to speak.
IMAGE CREDIT: @rebekahsarahofficia
Be Uniquely You is your blog. It promotes self-confidence and self-love. What was the reason for setting it up?
I primarily set it up for women to be inspired to embrace all of who they are.
But, I have had men message me who enjoy the blog - so it’s for anyone who wants to see diversity celebrated.
I believe you spent a lot of your childhood/youth in church. How important is that background to your music? How much of the spiritual and religious do you apply to your music?
Yes I did and that’s a good question.
My church background plays a huge part in who I am today and the music that comes out of me. My passion to inspire and help people comes from my faith and belief in God - and the fact that, even though the people who listen to my music may not share the same faith as me - we all can connect on a human level.
We all have down days and up days. I want my music to be something all people can relate to and hopefully be impacted by in a positive way.
Is there an E.P. or album coming later this year?
My E.P. will be out later this around October.
Can we see you touring at any point? Where can we come see you play?
My next tour date is in Glasgow on 23rd July at the Drygate.
I’ll also be at St John's Church, Hoxton on 18th August for my headline event.
What kind of music did you grow up listening to? Were you surrounded by a lot of genres and different sounds?
To be honest, I listened to a lot of Gospel music growing up - and little R&B. My dad played the piano and was always learning songs for church services and concerts. I love Gospel music.
You have been involved in music for a while now. Is there a particular moment/memory that stands in the mind?
I can’t think of one particular moment.
But, as long as I can remember, I loved the stage: it honestly feels like home.
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
All except Yebba are U.K. artists - who have amazing talents.
If you had to select the three albums that mean the most to you; which would they be and why?
I find this question hard and I honestly can’t pick three...sorry.
But, one would be The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill by Lauryn Hill - because it’s a vocal and lyrical work or art.
What advice would you give to any new artists starting out right now?
Figure what it is you want to say.
There are so many artists out there right now so make your music relevant and be honest. I think that’s what people connect with: your truth.
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).
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