Ludacris’s “Disturbing Tha Peace” is quietly becoming a breeding ground for new talent. The newest member, Shareefa, a singer and songwriter, is sure to follow the success of the DTP camp. As soon as you meet Shareefa, her energy starts flowing and when she opens up to speak, her sincerity shapes you into both a believer and a fan. She has a dash of hood with a warm heart that she uses to pen lyrics that are “relatable”. Shareefa’s experiences are trials and tribulations most urban youth go through from playing on the wrong side of the law to finding her own identity before reaching the ‘Point of No Return.’ Shareefa took time to introduce herself to Singersroom, describes the ‘Point of No Return’ and whether the pretty boy or thug was her choice.
How did your background shape you musically?
Shareefa: It just made me strong. I thank God for everything that I have been through and I thank my mamma. She was a strong woman, she’s why I’m here today, standing here doing this interview. Despite all I have been through, I’m still here; I’m still standing strong!
You started working with Teddy Riley at an early age, what did you learn from that experience?
Shareefa: It was dope. Working with Riley taught me how to go in the studio and not necessarily need a producer to stack your vocals or to do harmonies or to know what’s flat and what’s sharp. I learned a lot from him, he is a perfectionist.
You wrote ninety-five percent of your album, so did you start your career as a writer or have you always done both singing and songwriting?
Shareefa: Both from the very beginning. From the time I met Teddy (Riley) I was a writer, which was one of the things he liked. Writing my own music pushed me to even go further, like wow, people like my stuff. I was just being honest on the record; I can do that all day!
When you hear the music does it set the tone to what you write about?
Shareefa: It does. I can write without music, I’ll make the beat up in my head. It is better if I go through a bunch of beat CDs and I listen like “oh that beat was crazy.” Then I just instantly get it, and I start writing.
What type of instruments draw different emotions from you?
Shareefa: Guitars say a lot, it really speaks. You can get down whether you’re sad, whether you’re happy. It’s almost like the blues. The piano too, it’s real sexy and tells stories.
The name of your album ‘Point of No Return’ is a strong title; did you have the name and concept of your album from the beginning?
Shareefa: I didn’t. I was bumping my head against the wall like what the hell am I gonna name my album. I didn’t want to self title it because that’s like the easy way out. I wanted something that describes me and where I’m at in my life. Somebody was like don’t press it, it’s gonna come to you. We were just talking about videos and if we were to shoot a video for ‘I Be Around’ from the (DTP) compilation. It was gonna take the whole ‘Set It Off’ scene when she was in the car and I wanted it to come to the end of the road with a sign that said point of no return, meaning this is your last chance to get out of it. Then I was like that’s it. That is what I’m naming my album ‘Point of No Return.’
Do you feel like your album is a story telling how you came from the ‘Point of No Return?’
Shareefa: Oh my goodness! From one to fifteen, all you get is me, Shareefa. Your really about to get what Shareefa’s about if you didn’t know.
You talked about making a classic album, which albums do you feel are classics?
Shareefa: Lauryn Hill’s ‘Miseducation (of Lauryn Hill)’, ‘My Life’ (Mary J. Blige), Life After Death (Notorious B.I.G), Faith’s first album. These are classic albums that I can go put in right now and you just start bumping “if it could all be so simple” singing like it came out yesterday.
All those albums you named were classics because the writing on the albums were personal. On your album, do the lyrics relate to you and come from your life?
Shareefa: They relate to me and they’re coming from me. You get it every shape, form, and fashion.
I heard the song ‘Phony’ which describes a friend’s betrayal. Was that an experience from your life? Are we going to hear similar stories?
Shareefa: Yea! If y’all think that story is hot, I got some more stories.
What other stories do you tell on this album?
Shareefa: There is another story on the album called ‘Sometimes I Wonder’ and it’s about you being in a relationship with a guy and you have to have your cake but you want your ice cream. Now your falling for the other guy, so it is like you are going to stay with this dude or are you gonna take your chance with the other guy. This thug, this other one you know is almost a sin, but you have got to have it. Like chocolate, something you ain’t suppose to be eating. I went off on that song.
So who did you choose?
Shareefa: I can’t tell you that, it will ruin everything; you will have to get the album (laughter). Did I choose the man I had relationship where it was kind of sticky or this guy that was giving me all this attention? I’m thinking that is where I want to be but I’m taking a chance because this is home.
How does it make you feel that you touch people?
Shareefa: It makes me feel good to hear somebody knowing my song off a mixtape or something, quoting your lyrics and being all into it. I’m like ok, she feeling how I’m feeling. Like girl, I feel you, I hear you. It’s overwhelming.
—— By: Interview by Adeniyi Omisore