“Valentine’s Day is coming up, right?..
Wait.. What day is it? OH NO, IT.. IT WAS SUNDAY!!” Quentin exclaimed, pure fear and dread crossing his face in one horrible moment. He began pacing back and forth, muttering to himself nervously.
Checkout my Interview with Shanell while she is on the I’m Still Music Tour with Wayne, Nicki, Rick Ross and Travis Barker. She opens up about dating, her musical inspirations and most of all her button! Check it out and see what I mean. (transcribed from a scheduled telephone interview)
Quentin: Hey Shanell! You just got off a flight from Florida to where?
Shanell: I flew in from D.C. to Florida.
Quentin: And it was for your tour? What is the name of your tour?
Shanell: It is called the I’m Still Music Tour. It is a tour with Wayne, Nicki, Rick Ross, Travis Barker, and myself.
Quentin: OMG! I’m sure it’s so much fun!
Shanell: It is! It is! It’s a big, big show. We are doing sold out arenas and stadiums, can’t complain.
Quentin: Yeah, how many cities are you guys going to?
Shanell: I think it’s like 25 or 30.
Quentin: Wow, Omg! That’s crazy, and you are the Artist Director of this tour?
Shanell: I am. I won’t say the tour. I would say the Wayne segment.
Quentin: The Wayne segment?
Shanell: Yes, it’s Wayne and Young Money. What the Artist Director is responsible for is tying in all aspects of the show albeit the music, the video, the choreography, the lights. The Artist Director sits in with each of those departments, corrects, makes changes, okay’s certain things. It’s a lot of work. I’m usually in charge of the choreography, but this time they put me in charge of all of it.
Quentin: You come from a dance background. Do you find it difficult to juggle so many hats? You have to make sure the lightings right, the music is right, and the dancers are on point or is it second nature to you?
Shanell: Yeah, I have a background in dance and musical theatre. It is kind of second nature, but on a larger scale with a big artist like Wayne. I’m learning a lot, and preparing myself for when I perform in a big arena on my own tour.
Quentin: Yeah. So they must really trust you, and value your opinion as an artist.
Shanell: Definitely, I shall improve!
Quentin: How long were you dancing?
Shanell: All of my life. I went to a performing arts high school called Tri Cities in Atlanta, Georgia. A lot of people came out of that school, Kandi Burruss, Bangladesh who actually did A Milli went there, Kenan from Saturday Night Live, D. Woods from Danity Kane. So it’s a pretty well known school for entertainment.
Quentin: That sounds amazing. So was it a difficult transition from being a dancer to a musician?
Shanell: Well, I really have always done it all. When you are training you learn one thing doesn’t live without the next. You learn that you are an artist all the way around. The thing I will say was being vocal was different. I was used to expressing myself through movement then I had to learn to express myself through my voice. I was like Wow this mic is on,okay let’s go. That was the transition for me.
Quentin: Were you always confident in your voice, or was that something you had to train?
Shanell: Confident yes, but trained…I had to find my own sound, what worked for me. It was a growing process. Growing up my sister, D. Woods from Danity Kane was the powerhouse singer. She sang the Whitney Houston, the Mariah Carey, the Mary J. Blige songs. I was more of the Erykah Badu vibey, the emotional type of singer. I had to find my sound. When people say can you sing? They basically think of riffing and running all the time. That’s not the type of singer I am. I have my own sound.
Quentin: It’s about the emotion not necessarily the technique. It’s about selling the song, I guess. Is that what you are saying?
Shanell: Um Hum!
Quentin: You wear so many hats. You are also are writer. How did you get into that?
Shanell: Again, one thing begets the next. I was training in modern dance and ballet, and through the training you listen to so many different types of music. I wanted to make my own music, my own voice to dance to. I don’t know. Writing just kind of came, this movement makes me feel like this word. Because of my dance background my writing style was a lot more rhythmic than other writers at the time. Through movement I needed up developing my own style of writing.
Quentin: So for you everything comes from the movement, like the beat, the percussion.
Shaenll: When I’m doing a sound check the first thing the sound guy wants to do is give me more piano or guitar, and I’m like, no I want to hear the drums.
Quentin: Haha. I want to hear the beat!
Shanell: I want to feel that when I’m singing.
Quentin: Who did you first meet in the industry? Who gave you your start?
Shanell: My dad. Yeah. He would always have my sister and I step in, and be his little background singers. We would take piano lessons. He pushed us a lot in that direction. My mother kept us in dance classes. My brother was singing, traveling, and acting. So it was kind of the family thing to do.
Quentin: So it’s in the blood.
Shanell: Umm Hum!
Quentin: OMG! So you have a new song coming out?
Quentin: Can you tell us something about it? What inspired you to write this song? The Buttons or My Button?
Shanell: My Button!
Quentin: There we go! My Button! (Mutual Laughter)
Shanell: What inspired me were the stories that I have heard from women, girl talk. So My Button is a conversation a woman has with her button, talking herself into (Sigh, Laughter) Whoa! (Mutal Laugher) Talk herself…Ok, ok, ok. I’m not trying to give it away, all the way but um.
Quentin: A sexual moment, being with a man, or what is it about?
Shanell: She’s basically trying to convince herself, her button to get there. The guy she’s with isn’t getting her there.
Quentin: OOOh yeah…that’s a problem, right? (Laughter)
Shanell: And I think it’s a problem a lot of women deal with.
Quentin: So have you experienced that then?
Shanell: Have I gone through that?
Shanell: Of course!
Quentin: With the guy you are dating? Are you dating anyone?
Shanell: I am not and that is probably why. (Mutual Laughter)
Quentin: There are rumors that you are dating Lil Wayne, but that’s not true?
Shanell: No, no we went through that last year already.
Quentin: I know. I know. You guys just work so closely together. I think you two would make a cute couple.
Shanell: Aaaw. (Mutual Laughter) People are starting to say we look alike more than we are dating like we are brother and sister.
Quentin: Is that how you see him, like family?
Shanell: Yeah. I mean the whole Young Money. It’s crazy. We are not the average label like that’s the boss, and this is your label mate. You know we are family for real.
Quentin: So what’s a typical day for Young Money? You know, do you hang, do you see him and Nicki or are all of you doing your own things? You guys are on tour now. Give us some inside scoop.
Shanell: Well now it’s crazy, because like you know, not last year, because Wayne was in jail, but the year before that, and the year before that we basically lived together. We were all coming up, and working on our craft. We saw each other day in and day out. Now we have all evolved. We are all developing our own businesses, our own individual albums, and pieces of work. We don’t see each other as much as we used to, but we support each other 100 and 50 percent. So, I’ll see Nicki in the hallway on the way to the stage when I’m running off the stage to change my outfit. I’ll see her again when see is running back changing her outfit. You know what I mean, and Wayne in the same capacity. We party at some after parties, and that’s when we really get to be ourselves and chill like we used to.
Quentin: Do you ever feel like there is competition between you guys, especially the ladies?
Shanell: Umm, not competition, like bad competition. We all kind of keep each other on our toes. Just making sure we keep the Young Money name, you know credible and running…sh*t!
Quentin: Yeah exactly right.
Shanell: Umm Hum!
Quentin: What was it like when your mixtape came out and you had 2 million downloads? That’s incredible! Did you feel like OMG I made it or was there even more pressure?
Shanell: I was stunned! I was a little nervous, because the mixtape thing is a big part of Young Money, and me being a singer it’s kind of different. My journey is a little bit different. I put out a mixtape of not just hip-hop. I had slow songs on there, but the audience took to it. They understood it, loved it, talk about it, and ran up to me singing the words to the songs. I was really proud of the outcome.
Quentin: That’s amazing!
Shanell: I’m ready for the Nobodies B*tch mixtape to drop. Heard about that????
Shanell: Did you hear about that the Nobodies B*tch mixtape coming out??
Quentin: uh uh.
Shanell: It’s a mixtape that I’m working on as of now.
Quentin: Uh huh, Nobodies B*tch! What does that mean to you???
Shanell: Exactly what it says!
Quentin: Yeah, it seems like you are in control of you image, and exactly what you do. That’s really impressive for someone who is such a new artist. Do you consider yourself a new artist?
Shanell: There are days that I do, and there are days that I don’t. That’s the great thing about being signed to this label. Wayne is like I’m not trying to create you. You are a raw talent. That’s the same thing he was, raw talent. You get into this business, and you learn. He trusts us all to be our own bosses, in order to do that you have to experience the business for yourself. You can’t be made into someone, because then you will always have to be that person.
Quentin: This isn’t some Hollywood thing were we are going to dress you this way, or tell you what to say. You get to make your own decisions?
Quentin: Where do you see yourself in the future, more albums, producing other people’s music, movies?
Shanell: Definitely, all of the things you just said. I dibble and dabble in that stuff now.
Quentin: Did you create Lil Wayne’s video?
Shanell: Ground Zero, I wrote Prom Queen. I’m working with some other Artists on their projects now as well as my own. To me being creative is just one big melting pot. When people separate it, that is what confesses me.
Quentin: It sounds like you’re a boss!
Shanell Yeah! You got to be!
Quentin: How does Wayne inspire you?? What do you love most about Wayne as an artist or as a person? Do you see him as a mentor?
Shanell: Umm….mentor…I guess. What I love about him is that he doesn’t let anybody direct how he feels, what he is doing, what he wants to do. He lives to make himself and the people he loves happy. That’s the one thing. You know dealing with the rumors, and the critics. I’ve seen him act like that stuff doesn’t even exist. He gets on stage, and lets himself go free, and in the booth the same way, and in life period. That is the one thing that I have learned from him that will stick with me forever. Being able to be so free.
Quentin: What are you looking forward to??
Shanell: I’m looking for the day I see my video on T.V., my video, and my songs.
Quentin: And not just being featured.
Shanell: That’s the moment I’ve been waiting for since I was a kid. I’ve heard other Artists stories of how they felt when they turned on the radio, and heard their song for the first time. I want to feel that way. I want to feel that! (In a little girl’s voice).
Quentin: Ok, that was what I was getting at from the beginning . So you have always wanted to be an artist.
Shanell: Yeah! My parents did have a lot to do with me choosing this path, but it wasn’t hard for them to convince me.
Quentin: You were like, Yeah! That’s so cute. I love it! How do you flirt? Do you think it’s bad to flirt to get what you want?
Shanell: No…Well I think anything can be bad. If you are flirting to do bad or take something from somebody. I think flirting is fun and carefree.
Quentin: How do you find yourself flirting?
Shanell: I flirt with my twitter followers a lot. (Mutual Laughter) It’s so funny. This one morning I was like Wake up I’ve cooked you some scramble eggs and coffee and some orange juice. Meet me in your kitchen!
Quentin : Aww, that’s so cute.
Shanell: It’s a great way for them to wake up, and imagine me there. I’m pretty sure some guys ran downstairs to their kitchens.
Quentin: Yeah right. It makes them feel like they are close to you. Speaking of twitter. I read on your twitter today This Flight Attendant is trying me, or something like that. (Laughter) What happened?
Shanell: Yes, on a plane! He read the twitter (to someone else).
Quentin: What happened??
Shanell People are trying to turn off their phones. You know you have a couple of phones, a couple of gadgets. It takes you a minute. So the flight attendant was really rude about telling someone to turn off their device. I was in the process of turning it off. I was like I’m turning it off . Then he went to say Out of the 3 hundred people on this flight we are all waiting on you to turn off your cell phone.
Quentin: Wow. Rude!
Shanell: He had his finger swinging, and his head twisting and turning. I was like you are trying it right now. But I’m not trying to get kicked off this flight. I’m going to go ahead, and act like I didn’t hear you, but I’m going to tweet about it!!
Quentin: Was that when you were like I love a queen but I hate when they pretend like they have more p*ssy then I do? (Shanell begins to laugh) Was that about that flight attendant? Tell me.
Shanell: Yes it was! (I start to laugh) I was like girl I’m about to give it to you and you can’t do sh*t about it.
Quentin: Do you think he knew who you were?
Shanell: No, I wish he did. I just wanted to ask him to follow me, because I just twitted about you.
Quentin: Hilarious! Maybe you should have done that and then said here is my album.
Shanell: I think we have all had our Flight Attendant horror stories, because they get a little crazy sometimes.
Quentin: They do get crazy. Did you hear about the one who took all of the alcohol, and went out the emergency exit? He went crazy?
Quentin: Insane, insane, insane, but you know what I would feel the same way if I were flying all the time dealing with annoying people, maybe not maybe. Is there anything else you want to say or announce like Hey I’m pregnant !(Mutual Laughter) I’m just joking.Nicki Minaj is my girlfriend!
Shanell: Wow! That would be some interesting News. I’m pretty sure that would make headlines.
Quentin: Yes! Lets make headlines! Tell me some dirt. Who is the biggest b*tch in music?
Shanell: Oooh see. I going to get me into trouble. It’s too early for that!
Quentin: I feel like Wendy Williams.
Shanell: Second single call me back I’ll talk, I’ll open my mouth. No, I want to tell people to checkout Gyspy’s Closet. I’m going to have some to noise piercing thingy things that I wear.
Quentin: OOOh nice.
Shanell: Little pieces, Nobodies B*tch pieces. So people can check that out, look at it, buy a piece or two.
Shanell: Be apart of the Nobodies B*tch movement.
Quentin: So you are coming out with a fashion line? Nice.
Shanell: Yeah, we are starting small, very small. Hopefully I keep it going.
Shanell: A boss can only spread herself so thin.
Quentin: Are you making those pieces yourself, or are you having someone else head that for you?
Shanell Actually, right now I’m making each and every individual piece. That is as far as the nose pieces are concerned, but the bags and the t-shirts. I’m not making them.
Quentin: So you are making the chains and nose pieces?
Shanell: Umm Hum!
Quentin: So people should know that your hands have touched it.
Shanell: Yes they have.
Quentin: Nice. Congratulations. So finally who are some other Artists that you want to work with??
Shanell: Francis and the Lights, Ryan Leslie, and I want to work with Amy Winehouse.
Quentin: Do you think she’ll be able to pull herself together?
Shanell: I don’t even want her to pull herself together. I just want her to be her, and then we can have apple martinis together if that’s ok with her. That’s my favorite drink.
Quentin: Those are really good.
Shanell: I love her voice, and the story she tells in her music.
Quentin: Yeah. So who are some of your inspirations, modern day inspirations?
Shanell: I just like good music. You now artist that are my friends that’s who really inspires me. My sister, another artist named Timothy Bloom. He is a new artist signed to Polo, but we have done a lot of work together. I’ve watched his work. We have kind of come up together. I am also inspired by my home girls who tell me their stories.
Quentin: So who’s on your Ipod?
Shanell: Well Francis and the Light. I’m sure the dancers are like can you please play something else. Oh, I have the new Chris Brown album. Yeah.
Quentin: Well that’s pretty sweet. Thank you for this interview, and I hope you continue to checkout my blog.
Shanell: Yeah definitely. Give me the information and I’ll tweet about it.
Looking sophisticated and work-appropriate in sequins is no easy task. Will stylists Beagy and Quentin be able to make a sequined outfit look professional for the office? Find out in battle 11 of Dress to Kill!