Big Drawz: Doing It BIG

Striving to do everything very big, songwriting duo Big Drawz makes a point to stamp all their actions with a heavy impact. Tenesha Blacks and Shanell Irving were former singers of an independent female group, but when the group split the two friends began focusing their energy on songwriting. Beginning their journey as songwriters, the ladies ran into obstacles because they did not have experience in the business side of the industry but they quickly adapted, adding production, vocal production and artist development to their skill set. Now with a growing playlist of songwriting credits for artist including Destiny’s Child, Jaheim, Charlie Wilson, Patti Laballe, Trey Songz amongst others, Big Drawz have made the impression that they do everything very BIG.

Singersroom: How did you get started writing and how did you meet each other?

Shanell: We met a few years ago. We used to be in a singing group together, and wrote all the songs for the group. The group disbanded, me and her (Tanesha) kept writing.

Singersroom: What song of yours do you consider to be the most successful and why? This doesn’t necessarily mean financially, maybe a song that solidified your force as songwriters or marked a turning point in your growth as a group.

Tanesha: I would say, our first placement “Good loving”. We worked on it with Trey Songz and Troy Taylor. It wasn’t our first major placement, but it was great. Everything at that point seemed attainable.

Singersroom: It’s no secret that working in a group is very difficult, especially when it comes to creativity. How does your writing process work?

Shanell & Tanesha: We really figured it out a long time ago. We’re one. When something happens, we’re together. When we are together, it just happens, its magic, the music comes on. By the time we come up from it, it’s done. Chemistry.

Singersroom: Big Drawz is setting out to be an empire, with the clothing line, perfume line etc. From what I’ve seen not only are you successful writers but prominent business women. Is it difficult to juggle?

Shanell: It’s definitely a lot. But having two heads is a great thing about Big Drawz music. We both have big ideas and things we want to develop. Like the clothing, the perfume and the artist development.

Tanesha: We have a great team that helps us mend our businesses and our ideas and we’re really thankful for that.

Singersroom: Artist Development, that’s a word you don’t hear very often. What made you guys decide to get into that?

Shanell & Tanesha: We weren’t just writers. We were artists first. There are certain things we wished we had as artists. We had no one to push for us. Hair, vocal classes, choreography…We got our own deal at EMI. We were writing the records. We didn’t have other people writing for us. We understand the process and wanting to have longevity. If you want longevity you need artist development.

Tanesha: Everything needs attention. Like a microwave. By the time you take out your food, five minutes later it’s cold. You want to make sure it stays hot. Then performing, if you perform for a label and you are horrible, that matters. I’m not going to pay one hundred dollars for a concert and watch someone prance back and forth on the stage. (laughter) No one is tapping into entertaining any more like Michael [Jackson], Bobby [Brown] or Janet [Jackson]. I would pay one hundred dollars plus to see Chris Brown, Beyonce and artists like that. That’s why we put so much into the artists.

Singersroom: A lot of popular music seems to be driven primarily by the beat and a catchy phrase, where as Pop and R&B in the days of Whitney Houston was danceable yet emotional. With technology, music has become a very do it yourself craft and everything is focused on the single. How does this accessibility to programs in music influence competition in the industry with regards to you guys?

Tanesha: That’s a good question. It doesn’t affect us at all. Everybody is moving. Everything is so fast paced now. Times are changing. I think it’s really great! Music always did something for us. It moves us in a way that makes everything great

Shanell: I think some of it is great. We can still relate to it. A lot of it is watered down. It’s up to us Big Drawz and a couple of other amazing writers and producers to bring music back.

Singersroom: Inquiring Minds want to know how you came up with your name?

Shanell: We were sitting in the living room one day…

Tanesha: Yea. It was way before that actually, when we used to call each other big drawz. When we were in a group, we were bigger than the average girl group. They wanted us to be the size of En Vogue. We used to call each other Big Drawz as a joke and people’s reaction would be like, “OMG why are u calling them Big Drawz?” (laughter) someone would say no that’s their name…

Shanell: We want to do everything on a bigger scale. We want everything to be amplified. We have the whole women’s movement going on. The men, they may be the head but we are the neck. (laughter) They can see everything, but the neck makes the head move. (laughter)
—— By: Interview By Fritswa Baffour

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