In the music industry it’s hard to get a first chance. And, in most cases, it’s next to impossible to get a second one. It takes a strong spirit and an immovable belief in yourself to press on after your first failed attempt at stardom. Such a spirit resides in ShirÃ©. This former member of LovHer, the all female R&B group introduced to the world by Dru Hills’ Sisqo, has a song in her heart and a story to tell. With her debut solo album, Picking up the Pieces, she’s going to let the world know why you should love her.
Singersroom: You began your career as a member of the group, LovHer. You guys seemed to be on your way but then suddenly people didn’t see you anymore. What happened?
Shire: In regards to LovHer, we were a “put together” group. We were girls from all over the country who were put together by Sisqo from Dru Hill. We were going to be the female version of his group, Dru Hill. We did the situation over at Def Jam through Kevin Lyles. We were set up with the song on the Rush Hour 2 soundtrack. At the time, Sisqo was going through his own issues at the label in regards to his follow up album. Some of the things we needed as a group we weren’t getting due to his discrepancies with the label. If we needed more money in our budget for stuff it had to go through him to get approved. With all that going on we had our own internal issues amongst me and the other ladies of the group. Unfortunately one of the members had quit. It was a very hard time for us at that moment because we were trying to place a second record and we had just done the Lady of Soul Awards but Def Jam was standing still. They didn’t know what to do with the situation. So when we weren’t able to pull it together and Sisqo didn’t have any answers they decided to drop the group. We had done two videos and a whole album that never got to come out so for myself, as well as the other ladies, it was very disappointing.
Singersroom: It must have been devastating to be living your dream then have it snatched away from you. How were you able to keep going?
Shire: My dream and my aspirations to sing doesn’t stop at just one situation, one deal, or one group. The young ladies that I sang with, we had a good chemistry for that time. The sound was hot but that ended. I still love music. I’m not going to allow anything to stop me from doing what I feel in my heart. I feel like I’m very talented and I have something to offer as far as, America, the industry, the hoods, the MTV crowd, the BET. I’m bringing soul and my own story of triumphing after the loss of that situation.
Singersroom: You mentioned earlier that your situation didn’t work out partly because of Sisqo and the problems he was having with the label. What’s your relationship like with him now?
Shire: Me and Sisqo are very cordial toward each other. Me and the group as well. They actually got back together. I speak with them occasionally. They keep me up to date with what they’re doing. It’s all good between all of us. I’m very supportive of everything Sisqo does. He’s the one who brought me into the game and if I hadn’t gotten a taste of it I wouldn’t be going for mines right now.
Singersroom: Would you work with him again if the opportunity presented itself?
Shire: I might. It depends on what he wants to do. He’s very creative and he has his own vision when it comes to things he wants to do. If he feels like he has something he’ll reach out to me.
Singersroom: You have since signed with Midi Mafia. Although they have a track record of making hits for other artists, they’re not really know for breaking artists on a mainstream level. What is it about them that made you put your faith in them for this project?
Shire: Actually, Midi Mafia partnered up with Hot City Music Group, which is a company in Philadelphia. They’re collectively putting together my whole project. Them along with my A&R, Reality, over at SRC. With this whole thing, the industry of music, it’s a gamble anyway. You’re going to take risks and I’m definitely a risk taker. That’s why my record is called “I Used to LovHer.” As controversial as the title sounds, it’s about breaking through in the game. You have access with the internet. You have access to any type of music you want. It’s not about talent nowadays. Certain companies have a certain history of breaking certain acts. Now it’s about the record and about the artist. They can have the reputation but it has to be able to stand on its own. As far as with me and them not breaking an artist like that into the mainstream, it’s all a new thing for all of us and I think that’s what makes it hot. We’re just going to do what we got to do and keep pushing.
Singersroom: The song, “I Used to LovHer” is becoming a hot topic. Where did the concept for the song come from and what are you talking about?
Shire: Well, coming from a woman’s voice, when you hear “I used to LovHer” it’s automatically going to grab a certain amount of attention. Those who know about me and were prior fans of LovHer, you’ll see the spelling of it. The title is done more in a poetic sense. I used to be a part of this group but I am no longer part of that situation. I’m doing my own thing now. As far as the lyrical content, it’s meant to have multiple meanings. It can be for a friendship, it could be about your preference if you’re a woman that’s gay, it can be something a man would sing, or for example, it could be a song one of my cousins would sing about a friend of hers that did her wrong. It’s meant to make you think and you can apply it to your life anyway you want to.
Singersroom: That’s not a bad way to gain attention especially with the industry’s hang up about who’s doing what with whom.
Shire: It’s funny because I’ve been reading some of the blogs and the people are all like “I think she’s talking about this, I think she’s talking about that” but the point is they’re talking about me.
Singersroom: You currently have a mixtape out right now as a precursor to the album. What is the album called and what can fans expect?
Shire: The album is called ‘Picking up the Pieces.’ A lot of the songs are about coming from that situation. Coming from being exposed to the industry and then falling. I went from being on stage, doing videos, staying in mansions to me living in a small on-bedroom apartment, getting a job, and catching the bus again. All that glamorous stuff was just a distant memory. It took a lot from me. I had to change a lot of things about myself that was hindering me from being able to see what I needed to do for me. My album is about all that. I speak on my childhood, what makes me be a certain kind of way, relationships with certain men, which caused me to be a certain way, etc. I talk about pain, I talk about strong love. I talk about how I put my faith into other people who mishandled my career. You can listen to it and say “oh, I get Shire. I see what’s going on with her; I understand what she’s gone through in her life and I respect.”
Singersroom: We’ve all heard the phrase that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. But do you have anything you regret or wish you could do over?
Shire: There are a lot of things I wish I could change. Well, there are certain things I feel that if I had been a little sharper, I could’ve seen coming. But if I hadn’t gone through it I would not be able to do what I’m doing now. The way that I write now is from experience. I think everything happens for a reason. I’ve grown from it all. It’s a part of me now.
Singersroom: What do you want people to get from your story and your music?
Shire: I want to inspire other aspiring artists out there. Whether you’re a producer, a rapper, singer or whatever. Don’t let anything stop you. If that’s what you want you have to go after it and I am a living example of that. I’m grateful for everyday that I’m able to wake up and sing and do what I love to do because I thought it was gone. I thought I was done. A lot of times you’ll get people, you’re environment and even the haters out there who will make you believe that. You’ve just got to do you. Sometimes that means reinventing yourself, sometimes it means making a small self adjustment. But I just really want to get my story out there. I’m not trying to be a role model and I’m not claiming to not have done anything wrong or I never messed up. I’m putting it all out on the table and I want people to learn from me. Don’t judge me, just learn from me. If you dig what I’m talking about in my music then support me, show me some love. But either way, I’m going to keep doing it. —— By: Interview By Haaron Hines