Interviews

Shonie: Passionate Soul

As the style of music progresses with futuristic music production and vocal enhancement software, the true talent of an artist’s voice can be hidden. Slip-N-Slide’s new vocalist Shonie is focused on highlighting her natural talent without the fancy features of a recording booth and auto tune. As an accomplished songwriter, Shonie has worked with B5, Trina, and Flo-Rida, amongst others to establish a footprint in the music business. Now that she has been given a chance to display her full arsenal as an artist, Shonie is slowly connecting with fans by providing a glimpse into her life through song.

Singersroom: How did your mother introduce you to music?

Shonie: She definitely was a part of me doing music. [She] was always cleaning around the house listening to Billie Holiday, Mahalia Jackson and Lena Horne. Music was always in my ear and she just had me under her like this is what you’re going to do regardless of whether you want to do this or not and I want you to sing like this. She has always been there kicking me in the butt. She threw me in the chorus and started recording demos and sending them out. She is a big part of why I am here today.

Singersroom: What role does she play today in regards to your career?

Shonie: She plays the mother role now. (laughter) She got me where I needed to be so [now she is like] spread your wings and enjoy life. She is in mother mode; she is standing back and being proud of me.

Singersroom: Starting out, did you pursue a career as a rapper and singer?

Shonie: I don’t know if I wanted to pursue a career as a rapper. I grew up rapping. I grew up listening to Big Pun, Big L, DJ Quik. My brother always had that in my ear; we would always play around rapping and stuff like that. That was something I loved to do; I don’t know if I wanted to kick it off as a career. I definitely use it to my advantage today; when I sing and [on] different flows. It has always [helped] me to write for so many other people. Rapping is always going to be in me.

Singersroom: When you say rapping helps you write for other artist, what experience from rapping has enabled you to write for other artist?

Shonie: When you hear Dream, he is rapping. When you really listen to his different flows and how he does melodies and things like that, he is actually rapping just with melody. So many records that he has like Beyonce’s “Put A Ring On It,” that is something different; it is not an ordinary record. It is that whole rapping feel that allows you to write for other people because it makes you do things an ordinary R&B singer couldn’t.

Singersroom: Are you happy for the death of auto-tune?

Shonie: It has definitely been taken too too far. T-Pain brought it there and he made it known [that] this is auto-tune, this is what sounds good right now and people gravitated towards that.

Singersroom: Do you think it will cause singers to sing and rappers to rap?

Shonie: Auto-Tune is basically for when you are flat, it keeps you in tune. I think people are going to get lazy. I think people are getting lazy as far as with auto-tune. People are singing how [they] want to sing because they know regardless auto-tune is going up there. People need to start singing more and throw auto-tune to the side and let them know we can really sing. It makes it bad for artist like us who are really trying to get on. Besides us looking cute there are some who can actually sing and I think auto-tune kind of holds that back.

Singersroom: It does hold back your talent.

Shonie: It definitely holds back the talent. When you come out people automatically [say] she is using auto-tune now. They would not even know how it sounds [but] they will automatically think that she is using auto-tune or he is using auto-tune. Because you hear it so much you don’t know what is real and what is not. Who really can sing and who really don’t. That is part of the reason people are not buying albums anymore more. They just download the song because they like that particular song and it is auto-tune and hey it sounds good.

Singersroom: Part of the reason also is people cannot match the artist to a song because they have not seen the artist’s face. Initial people did not know Jeremih was singing “Birthday Sex” until the video.

Shonie: That is why you do stuff [like] how Jeremih is playing the piano and singing a cappella. You have to go to the extent to do all that stuff because you have to let people know “I have talent, I can really sing, I can really do this.” You never hear anyone like Cassie sing live. When they’re doing interviews or radio interviews, when they’re like “can you do something for me,” you never hear them do it because they don’t really sing like that. It’s not dissing anybody but, it is the reality of it.

Singersroom: Which rapper do you think is the best for an R&B/Hip Hop collaboration?

Shonie: Before we were actually going to flip “Can’t Knock The Hustle” by Jay-Z, I thought that record was incredible. I would definitely remix any Jay-Z record. Any record he came out with was a hit whether it was a sample or not.

Singersroom: What story are you trying to convey with your album titled “Passionate Pieces of Me”?

Shonie: I named the album “Passionate Pieces of Me” because I have been grinding for a very long time and everybody knew me as Shonie the young writer. [I] always had a dream of being signed to a major label and doing what I love and getting away from all that negativity. My team and I always had bumps in the road but we kept going no matter what. So many people said Shonie maybe you should stay a writer; maybe you should do this you’re not cut for this; you’re too dark and you go through all that. We kept going because we are passionate about what we do. That is why I named [the album] “Passionate Pieces of Me.” In every record that they hear on the album I am giving them a piece of me; a little bit of my story in each song.

Singersroom: What was the biggest barrier you had to overcome to become a solo artist?

Shonie: The negativity of people. Sometimes it is your closest friends and there are definitely people who do not want to see you succeed. Saying that you are not it, you’re not cut out for this, and being tried when you go to different sessions and men want to see you in another way. Being a woman in this industry is the hardest thing. I have overcome [the negative] and I have positive people around me.

Singersroom: On your single “I Can’t Let Go,” it sounds like a person is addicted to their partner.

Shonie: I guess you can put it that way. There is always a relationship where you can’t let that person go, whether that person cheated; whether you have kids with that person or whatever. In every situation you have that person you can’t let go. We as woman put up that front like we are strong and he can go do what he do. Once we see that man with another woman we go crazy and that is the same thing for men, it happens. You can’t let that person go and that is why I wrote the record.

Singersroom: Is there anything R&B has taught you in regards to how to love another person?

Shonie: I don’t think R&B taught me how to love a person. I think that from life experiences. Music is strong, sometimes you may hear a record and it might make you go back to a time in your life where you forgot how it was to make a man feel good, sometimes records do that to you. —— By: Interview By Adeniyi Omisore

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