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Interview with Shawney
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I actually was planning on going to law school after college (not my plan but my parents). I had a mid-college crisis and dropped out my Junior year, and moved to Nashville to pursue music instead. Music and creative expression is what I had always craved for myself, but I had been paralyzed by my environment and ultimately my self-doubt. If I hadn’t gotten in my car and blindly set on this journey, then I would most likely be extremely unhappy in some political or legal occupation making a lot of money…but never truly connecting with myself and my purpose.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I love to explore different creative outlets but usually gravitate towards dance, fashion, modeling, curating events, and hosting experiences. Also, I’m a professional overthinker and spend more time than I am willing to admit on creating and recreating lists. My music is influenced by these creative outlets in more ways than one, but overall these outlets show up in my music as eccentric, feminine, and sensual energy and interpretation.
How long have you been making music?
I started creating music when I was about 12 years old. I was a shy, misunderstood, and somewhat lonely child. My family had a “children should be seen not heard” approach, so I found it easier to write my feelings down vs try my luck talking to anyone. Eventually, my words became lyrical as I sat down at the piano and began matching melody with my lyrics and started to experiment with sounds that felt comforting.
Where are you based and how did that influence your music?
I am currently based out of Nashville TN. Although Nashville is known for its country music scene, there’s a beautiful underground community of spoken word artists, hip-hop, R&B, Jazz, and Soul! When I moved to the city I had no sense of self, and thought I wanted to break into the country music scene…simply because I was raised on a farm and thought that country music made the most sense for me as a new inexperienced artist. I quickly realized when I set on my spiritual journey that I was not a country music artist. Nashville is exactly where I needed to be to find myself, and my soul connected with this underground community that is in all reality the true heartbeat of Music City.
Tell me about your most memorable shows, if you haven’t played live what is your vision for a live show?
Okay, I have to tell you about two shows because I can’t seem to choose between the two of them. The first show was the first time I ever stepped on stage. August 2019 I was asked to be featured on MTV’s show Siesta Key for the “Nashville” Episode. I performed my song LIAR on the stage at ACME for an MTV show. For the first time I realized my dream could be my reality and this was the moment I started believing in myself. This was right before COVID put the world on pause, but it was definitely a monumental moment in my career.
The second show actually just happened May 18th 2023. This show was a combined fashion show/ EP Release Show! I organized this event so I could celebrate my EP Release, Alter Ego, but also display elements of my fashion side through a fashion show that represented the songs on my EP. Not only was the turnout incredible, but the love, support, and receiving energy from the community is a gift I will cherish forever
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
There are a ton of venues to play at in Nashville. It’s kind of hard to pin a favorite venue. I would love to play Exit Inn and The Basement East, though! Both these venues are on my list to play someday! Well, and of course bridgestone…but baby steps.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Man, this is a hard question…so many incredible artists that I look up to for different reasons…If I had to narrow down my selections, I think it would look something like this…(I think)
Intimate/Acoustic Show: Madison Ryan Ward, HER, Adele, Sam Smith, Alicia Keys
Full Production Show: Rihanna, Janelle Monáe, Jhené Aiko, Ciara, Kelly Rowland, Chloe Bailey
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into making music and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
If you’re just getting started, I would say trust the process, don’t be afraid to start, and have fun! Follow whatever feeling led you to your music journey, and believe in your purpose.
To my younger self, I would say you are so much more than your environment. You are more than your trauma. Trust your nature, trust your Light, and believe in your creative spirit. Your story, your voice, and your Light is Divine, and this path will set you free.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Two songs come to mind, both written about my mother who was murdered when I was 3. The first song is called Dear Mom. It is a sweet love letter to my mom where I tell her the things I want to say to her. I tell her about life and all the things she’s missed that I wish she was there for. I don’t know if I’ll ever release this song, as it is still quite painful to share the words.
The second song is called Reflection. I wrote this song when I saw my mother’s reflection instead of my own when I looked in a mirror. At that point in my life I felt lost and as if I was constantly fighting my own demons. In this song I am challenging the reflection in the mirror and associating the reflection with the side of myself I don’t know but deeply miss. The person I want to be but don’t know how to be because there’s a void in my soul. I’ll be releasing this song June 30th, 2023!
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
I have an unreleased song called “Pray” that people request pretty frequently when I perform at local writers rounds in Nashville. It’s an intimate and vulnerable song about me realizing I’ve lost my faith and I’m having a conversation with my past, present, and future self about Prayer. I do plan on releasing this song but I am not sure when. For more intimate settings, I also love singing PRAY, Disappear, and a slowed-down version of Overdose.
So some favorite songs to perform for a high-energy audience or during a fully produced show would be Daddy Issues, Issa Setup, and Disease! These songs are so much fun to dance to and play with the crowd. Not all released, but release dates pending!
What is your creative process, and what inspires you to write your music?
My creative process is all over the place, but there are a few constants. When I am really struggling to process my feelings, or when I feel like I’m REALLY messing up my life, I start writing. Usually, the feeling strikes in my car. I’ve written 70% of my songs in my car…about 20% at 3 am in my room, and about 10% in the studio or during co-writes. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure how my car became my sacred writing space, but it seems to protect me from the outside world. I guess when I’m in my car I feel invisible to the outside world, and it's me vs myself. My car writing experience begins with playing an instrumental beat, listening for the message in the instruments, writing mostly gibberish, crying…more gibberish ... .and eventually a story, a message, or a feeling will come to me in the form of .
Do you have messages that you like to get across in your music, if so please tell me about them?
Yes, whatever I write tells a story about my life and my experiences. It’s either me processing something current or trying to heal from and process past trauma. Ultimately my music is my vulnerable expression, and that is the message I hope to put out into the world
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
I’ll be dropping songs every month through November 2023! I have so many songs I’ve just been hanging on to, so I want to put some of them out into the world before I start telling a new story. My next release is June 30th and it is a 2 track EP called “REFLECTION” and it will feature my songs “Reflection,” and “Disease”
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
The best place to start is my Instagram because that’s where I’m currently the most active. However, I am on all social platforms and my handle across all platforms is @shawneyrainne