Tell us about your latest single “SEXUAL”, how was it working on it, and what is the story behind it?I strongly believe that the purpose of this world is to show love to your family, Most younger people are unaware that ‘SEXUAL’ is a cover of the original version from 1999 of that song by the artist Amber. It was a club song from my late teens that I always loved: and I had always wondered why no one had done a cover of it. We were in the San Fernando Valley in September 2022 whilst making a video of my soon-to-be-released collaboration with the rapper Fat Joe. But, my longtime partner Damon Sharpe told me I needed to come over to his nearby studio during a break in the production, in which we had scheduled to experiment with this song. We knocked out our version of ‘SEXUAL’ in just over an hour.
How did Corona’s year change you as a musician and what did you learn about yourself during that time?I grew up in The Bronx, New York and later in Miami. Both cities were As with a lot of people, the Global Pandemic only reinforced for me that life is unpredictable and life is fleeting. It also reinforced in my mind how fickle the entertainment industry is: and that my professional luck would hopefully improve in proportion to the degree to which I worked harder and harder at my craft.
Tell us something that your fans do not know about you?
People are often confused by the reality that my on-screen persona in my music videos is very different from my everyday reality. While I like to think of myself as somewhat stylish, I am not a person who is instinctively drawn to glamour and JetSetting. My day-to-day routine is much like any other young mother out there — except for the fact that I have to be in the gym for two hours most days and otherwise fill much of the rest of my time with various training. And I might be directly behind you in the carpool line!
Who is the next artist you would like to collaborate with?
Female: either Dua Lipa or Lady Gaga.
Male: Post Malone or Bad Bunny.
Some claim that COVID has given other proportions about our lives, has the plague affected you in terms of creativity? Did you find yourself more time for writing and creating?
The global pandemic was as nurturing to my work as it was also detrimental. I had long periods of time to contemplate the types of songs and messages that I wanted to produce, but it also kept me from beginning performances of my music at an earlier date. (And I think, for the most part, my songs are better heard on a live basis and when I am backed by my regular band.)
What inspired your single “Serenity” and what message do you hope that fans take from this album?
It seems to me that many people do not understand that the beauty of life is in its day-to-day living. SERENITY is about progressing through life well understanding my ever-deepening relationship with God as well as the forward progress of my personal growth as a woman, mother, lover, artist and person. It is about finding a primary purpose in my life as a result of mothering two beautiful children. And it is about the quiet confidence that comes from having partners in your life who absolutely, positively have your back.
Can you share any upcoming plans with us?
Well, after my European tour finishes just before the holidays, I intend to spend the remainder of the year deep in Mommy & Wife Duty as well as reconnecting with my family.
In January, however, it is going to be really interesting as Fat Joe & I will be unveiling our first collaboration, a joint effort on a song that we call ‘VOODOO’. It is a very different type of song than people thematically and musically might expect from me: and I hope that my fans are as blown away by our creation as much as the very few who have heard this single.
I also expect that I will be releasing my second album — ‘EUPHORIC’ — at some point during mid-2023. I feel that our selection of songs is going to be stronger than my debut album, ‘INFINITE LOVE’ — and with advance knowledge of my view that these new songs are more mature than the catchy compositions on my first collection.
And further: I would be very disappointed if we didn’t figure out some good touring opportunities for me over the coming year.
From all the singles you’ve released so far, which one still makes you excited every time you hear it?
I now appreciate what people say about the impossibility of choosing a favourite among their various children. Some songs I enjoy more on certain days simply due to my mood. So, while my preferences can change suddenly, as of today I would probably have to go with ‘WHAT I DO’ as being my favourite — and since it is such a personal song about committing one’s self to love through good times & bad.
You and many of the artists share their daily lives on social media, how important is exposure and connection to the audience for you?
Connecting with people on social media has been probably more difficult for me than people would expect: and simply because I am unaccustomed to sharing daily details about my life. But I completely understand the hunger for personal connection and have become more aware of this reality. Music listeners want more engagement with their favoured artists in the present environment, so I have become more fastidious and determined to create good content for my fans. Moreover, I very much want them to better understand me as a person and as an artist.
As an artist, you are influenced by other artists you value and admire, who are the artists who have influenced you over the years, and is there anyone special?
Well, there are a host of artists whose work I admire and follow – just like any other fan. But, I probably most admire those artists who have carved out decades of relevance and creativity.
I think it’s quite extraordinary that entertainers such as Pitbull & Lady Gaga can bring their audiences along with their own personal growth as artists over the past two decades.
And it is utterly mind-bending that musicians like Elton John & Mick Jagger & Bono can remain today both musically and conversationally relevant – and yes, dominant – in careers that started before I was even born.
Where will we find you in 5 years? We’d love to hear some of your aspirations, dreams, and goals that you have.
It kind of makes me cringe when asked to predict where I might be in five years. I have learned firsthand the truth of the old aphorism that the way to make God laugh is to earnestly tell him your plans for the next two years. So, while I would very much like to be doing much of the same things I’m doing now, I am hopeful to be performing for and engaging with, my fans more than today.
Without a doubt you are very creative, how involved are you in the whole process of creating the music videos and production of your songs?
We internally call the members of our team the Shab Squad: and the anchor members of that team are might producer & songwriting partner Damon Sharpe, my director & close friend Eli Sokhn and my sometimes-choreographer Richy Jackson and my Music Director Mike Manning. We are all very much involved in my major projects and I seek input from each of them throughout these group efforts.
One of the greatest things about my Shab Squad is that each member firmly believes in the intentions and expertise of the other members of our team. Such interpersonal belief naturally drives our team members to coordinate their efforts and solicit the advice of others towards producing what we feel is the best idea towards resolving a targeted result.
And what I most appreciate is that each of the extremely accomplished principals of Shab Squad understands that I am the one who ultimately has to be comfortable with my career choices.