NMV Sit Down: Shantina
Creative, multi faceted vocalist Shantina talks about releasing new music, balancing 9-5 work with creative, and exploring the art of theater.
We caught up with Shantina as got detailed about starting her brand from the ground up and keeping creative progress coupled with other hustles.
SM: Steven Mainzer
SL: Shantina Lynet
SL: Hi Shantina, how’s it going what have you been up to?
Shantina: It’s going pretty well, right now I’m just working on some music, working on building my brand a bit more. I’m putting together music videos and doing more shoots. I have some other stuff too that is going to be a surprise. Just working hard really.
SM: Do you have a follow up '#Stuvibes' yet? What is '#Stuvibes?'
SL: It was the first project that I ever released. It was the first body of work that I released. It was the first piece of original music of mine. I put that out together in 2016, after that every year I been releasing new singles-- once I graduated from college I started to get in the full swing, released more in 2017 and 2018, then I released my first official album this year in July and it’s called 10,000 hours.
SM: Can you talk about '10,000 Hours' and your project this year?
SL: 10,000 Hours is the rule that says if you want to become a master of anything, it is the amount of time that you’ll put into it and that you will be a master at it. I’m still independent. People often just talk about how hard it is and there is only a certain few who make it out in this industry. While that may be true, nothing comes without hard work and that’s at least something that everybody can agree on. It’s suppose to motivate them to do whatever their doing and also my journey how I was working to get the album done, working two different jobs and this on the side - trying to build my brand pretty much from nothing. That’s what that whole project was about.
SM: How do you find the balance between work and your creative life?
SL: I’m still finding it. Honestly it gets difficult just because it’s not like waiting a table or anything. It’s something that I enjoy. That’s the hardest part about it. How much time and energy and am I putting into that? This is my main job. I guess put the right time and energy into it and making sure that this doesn’t fall underneath or that the other job doesn’t either because that still matters. I do theatre for my other jobs -- live theater, I musical direct. I’m doing a show right now. Since theater requires so much time, I try to find that balance between how much time I’m giving to that and how much time I’m giving to my studio sessions. Really planning out my branding and marketing and all of that stuff. It’s getting easier as well if that makes sense. It’s a give and take always.
It is crazy, I don’t get sad but it bothers me a bit because so many people have to do two things at once. Not everyone has the privilege of just doing music until we get to a certain stage. It’s hard down here. Maybe you been doing it a while but you just started out, while still adulting and taking care of your real life responsibilities, it becomes a lot. I commend artists who have jobs during the day and then having to come do this at night because it’s two full jobs. It’s not even a side job and one full job it’s two energy-taking jobs. I love that about artists that I see now especially around the city.
SM: How did “Ain’t Ready” come together?
SL: The song was produced by Shinobi and he executive produce my album as well. We been working together since #Stuvibes. He was making this track in the parking lot of Dollar Tree. He was putting something together on his laptop. I went in to buy something and came out and was like oh this is cool, then I went to my friends house. Shinobi and I decided that St. Rose (a super talented rapper from our camp) would sound perfect on the beat, so he wrote a verse for it.
He finished up the beat and got a bass player and orchestrated all of that. I was writing lyrics all around it. He actually helped write the chorus as well. So I wrote the verses and stuff around it, then we had the song and I went to record it. Then I decided to shoot a video, I had it at my house because, hey it’s cheap. I invited my gang over and it was l my siblings and I had my cousin and a few other my friends and we had some wine and recorded a little bit of a video -- it was cool.
SM: You got your bachelor’s at Western, what made you want to pursue music full time?
SL: I always knew that I was going to do that -- both of my parents are singer/songwriters and my siblings are musicians too, so we been doing music since I was like 4 years old, I knew that was going to be my main focus, but theater kind of helped me shape what kind of performer I was going to be. It also shaped my creativity as far as writing and music videos because I studied film as well. I decided to do music because I know that it was always there and what I was passionate about it.
SM: Who were your musical influences growing up?
SL: I listened to a lot of Michael Jackson, I would start naming the most random people. James Fauntelroy, Drake, Rihanna, Beyonce, Ciara, some Hilarry Duff, some Foreigner. Anything that you can think of, just random bands, everything can be in there if it was a good song. Anything that can penetrate your soul.
SM: Any special plans for the last quarter of 2019 and moving into 2020?
SL: I do have a single I released to finish the year, it's called "Time Lost." I’ll have another music video releasing as well. “4 Gang” is on 10,000 Hours. I have been saying and screaming that since your gang is a part of your community and people that you love. Really speaking positive things over their lives and making sure that everything is going. That’s what I’ll be doing for the rest of 2019 and releasing new music. I’m releasing music with people from my camp. You’ll be hearing some stuff from them too I’m really excited.
SM: Do you have any dream collaborations? Alive or dead?
SL: Drake, James Fauntelroy, Whitney Houston, beautiful Soprano. I love collaborating with Sopranos because my sisters are both Sopranos so I like singing with Sopranos. Rihanna, Future, Beyonce, the list can go on and on.
SM: Favorite thing to do away from music?
SL: Well the theatre thing, but right now I’m getting more into writing plays and musicals more so that aspect as opposed to acting, but now I’m getting into forming the shows that we perform. That’s where I am right now --writing little skits, show plays, all those things.
SM: What is a career milestone that you would like to achieve?
SL: I could get a Grammy, and maybe a platinum album and something that I would like to achieve. I’ll just say those are milestones, I usually focus on the little successes that I have because everything a part of my journey is difficult in some way, so making it past each step is like a little journey and milestone for me. I’m also looking forward to the little ones I am reaching to because I’m learning stuff on the way.
SM: What obstacle have you been happiest about making it through as a part of your journey?
SL: Getting that album done 10,000 Hours. There were a lot of components that went to it, a lot of parts that I had to make sure were together. Shinobi that I mentioned earlier, it was a lot for us to orchestrate, paying for everything, getting everybody together all the musicians we wanted to use, make sure the rollout was okay. I originally wanted the album to come out in August 2018 and it didn’t come out until about July of 2019. That whole process I’m happy to have made it over and succeeded, because I know I will be able to do it again.
SM: Advice to up and coming female indie artists?
SL: Keep working at it, everything takes time, your journey is unique to you and there is a space to everybody and there is no need to compare yourself. Have a passion for what you want to do because sometimes you may want to give up, make sure you really love it and you really want to do it. And no one can decide what your journey will look like and what your finish product will look like for you, you have to decide that and have you goals set in mind, keep going after them and all issues are just obstacles and lessons for you to learn, and use it on your journey and continue to push forward and you’ll get there.