Shontelle the Bajan international recording artist took time out of her busy schedule last week, while travelling and promoting the Caterpillar shoe line, to chat with WE Magazine. In this interview she tells of her passions and expectations.
WE: Are you where you want to be in your music career?
A: I’m blessed. I have a music career. That’s exactly where I want to be in my life. It’s very exciting to see my growth and progress and I’ll never feel like I’ve done enough. I will always want to climb higher.
WE: Have your songwriting skills grown?
A: I feel so. I think it’s as simple as this: experience equals knowledge. With time, like an infant to an adult, I continue to grow. With each step I have taken, I’ve been able to expand my network and this has led to many great opportunities. I have worked with a long list of artists and writers from Diane Warren and Tony Kanal of No Doubt, to Rihanna and Bruno Mars . . . the list continues to grow. It was one of the best experiences of my career to be able to work with Ri on Man Down. Sitting with her on the studio bus trying to channel “RiRi”. It was so easy. She’s so great!
WE: Any insights into the music business? Is it harder work than you expected?
A: The best way to understand it is to live it, I guess. I was wrong about a lot of things I believed before coming into this industry. It’s not that it’s harder work than I expected. I always expected it would probably be one of the most challenging feats I would ever face in my life. I expected to have to work at it for much longer than it would take to actually reach any success. I expected the grind. What I never expected was how emotionally and mentally taxing it could be! Through it all I learnt that I am stronger than I knew I was. I have to be.
WE: You studied law at UWI. Any plans to adapt this knowledge to your music career?
A: Well, I already have. I mean if you think about it, what you know affects how you make decisions. So in essence, the more you know, the better you can make more informed decisions. The music industry IS a business. It involves investment, spending, revenue, profit, loss, returns, politics, war . . . .It’s very vicious and competitive. A lot of money is invested and can potentially be made . . . and even more is often lost. That means things like security and protection are very important in order for business not to fail. I inherently use and incorporate all my knowledge from school and from my own research in every aspect of my career.
WE: What are your views on Rihanna – the path her music is taking, her fashion statements, people’s belief that she is not a true cultural ambassador?
A: I love Rihanna . . . everything about her. She has millions of fans and she talks about Barbados all the time on Twitter. She’s so fierce and fabulous. More people should be as bold and fearless. Go RiRi! Go!