New York, NY -- In late May, we jumped
In The Mix
, the Boston up-and-comer who who brought us "
" and "
." For the fourth installment of our Booth-exclusive interview series, we're giving readers an up-close-and-personal look at
signee who listeners everywhere to her radio-ready take on R&B with
-featuring debut single "
Shonie began entertaining notions of a musical career at age nine, soon after she and her family had relocated from South Bronx, NY to her current home, Miami, Florida. Like so many R&B artists before her, the budding songstress got her start singing in a church choir, and at 17 she was signed to local indie label
South Beat Records
. Shonie's first deal eventually soured, but she continued honing her skills as an unsigned artist;
Street Heat, Vol. 1
, a mixtape recorded during this period, was what ultimately caught the attention of CEO Ted Lucas and led to a deal with current label home
. Having racked up writing credits and guest features with such big names as
, Shonie is now preparing to step out onto the national stage with the release of her debut studio album,
Passionate Pieces of Me
In this exclusive, five-question interview, Shonie describes her plans to create a timeless fusion of old and new-school R&B, tells why she considers her current label home a perfect fit, and reveals a few of the emcees she personally considers to be the 'best of the best.'
Two of your many influences are Lauryn Hill and Betty Wright. Do you plan to channel their traditional, old-school soul sound or will you stay more current with your musical direction?
I plan on making music that is timeless. Music is always evolving and changing and who am I to go against that? However, I will always look up to the greats of the past. Part of my musical identity was shaped by those that came before me and some of that might be apparent in my sound stylistically speaking, but I'm always gonna be myself no matter what. Shonie is a little bit of the past, a little bit of the now, and a whole lot of the future!
Your debut single, "Can't Let Go," features Fabolous. Where does he rank on your personal favorite-emcee list?
Fabolous has always had a place in my top 5; Jay-Z, Jadakiss, Busta Rhymes, Foxy Brown. Being from New York, the birthplace of hip-hop, my favorites had to include him. Fab has this swag that hasn't wavered since way back when he first stepped onto the scene and something else I admire about him is his longevity. As the music scene has shifted to the south with the north becoming less relevant, Loso has managed to stay just as relevant if not more so than the new acts without compromising his up north style. That's why I knew he'd be perfect for a collab when it came time to choose.
Slip-n-Slide Records is the label you call home. Besides having their headquarters in sunny Miami, what else do they offer you as an artist?
At Slip-n-Slide, one of the things I appreciate the most is a lot of creative freedom and support for my artistic point of view. Its a very comfortable environment... it's like being around big brothers and sisters who aren't afraid to put their foot down when you get off track, but who do it to keep you on your toes. It's also humbling to be part of a label who has put out greats like Trick Daddy and Trina who paved the way for Miami hip hop. There's a lot of history there and to be part of it is a really good feeling.
On your MySpace page, you mention an interest in acting. What actress would you cast to play yourself in a biopic about your life?
Gabrielle Union. She's one of my favorite actresses and as I've watched many of her movies, I've noticed that I have a lot in common with the characters she has played. A lot of the facial expressions and mannerisms her characters have remind me of myself and I feel she'd be the person to enact the most accurate portrayal of me.
When your music career comes to a close, what one word do you think people will use when describing your impact as an artist?
Iconic. I picture people saying eighty years from now that 'Shonie' is a musical icon who put out classic albums. I want people listening to my music decades from now to regard me as a true artist who left her fingerprint on the industry and who paved the way for the next generation.
Shout out to my DJ's [at] Djbooth.net, DJ Z, DJ Affekt, DJ Aspekt, DJ Daa One, DJ Mike Man, DJ Ekin, DJ Entice, DJ Griot, DJ Kool G.