Aside from being a rising R&B/Pop artist, Shenna is a songwriter, model, and activist. With over 1 million streams on Spotify, the young singer has extended her reach into being a brand ambassador for companies like Reebok and Master & Dynamic. Her upbeat and spirited music has been featured on shows such as The Bad Girls Club, Netflix Miss Stevens, Teen Mom Og, and many more. Hailing from Woodbridge, Virginia, and growing up with music heavily influenced by her culture, Shenna is a force to be reckoned with.
Following her recent success, Affinity is proud to premiere Shenna’s latest single, “Can’t Get Enough”. I chatted with the young artist about her recent music, upcoming LP, “Blue Memories”, and forthcoming tour.
Ariel Zedric: Tell me about the inspiration behind your new single, “Can’t Get Enough”?
Shenna: Most of my songs have super complicated messages and imagery however I wanted to create a tune with a summer crush vibe. The phrase “I Can’t Get Enough of You” was stuck in my head. When writing this song I had in mind that new love/ super crush feeling when everything that person does you do not know why but it makes you even more attracted to them. I wanted the person telling the story in the song to be a sexy yet secretive type of person who wants to keep the relationship fresh.
How is it different from your debut EP, Dream in Color? How is it the same?
I have grown so much since my debut EP, Dream In Color!
Several of your songs have been featured on shows, such as The Bad Girls Club, Netflix Miss Stevens, Teen Mom Og, and Disney. Is there a show or movie that corresponds well with “Can’t Get Enough”?
I would say it would be awesome if “Can’t Get Enough” was on How To Get Away With Murder during one of the romantic scenes because I love that show! It’s always fun hearing my music on shows I already watch because I am on edge the whole episode thinking “oh my gosh is this the scene that my song will be played?”
Your LP, “Blue Memories”, is slated for release this summer and discusses overcoming different stages of depression. Walk me through your decision to write the LP and what message you hope to spread to your fans.
Every project I have released so far and some of my singles have colored themes. “Dream In Color” was about me being happy to become a solo artist, “Made Of Gold” was my rise in the music industry, and “Blue Memories” are the effects that the music industry has had on me especially living in a social media era. I wanted to be 100% real with my supporters and show them that I too suffer from stages of depression and wanted to have songs on how to overcome it when feeling that way such as lessons. For example one of my songs is called “Alone” and it’s about taking time to yourself and tuning out the world. Another one is called “Misfit” and it’s about being okay with being totally different than everyone around you.
You’re heading on tour this summer, congrats! Are there any aspects that you’re particularly excited about? Places you’re eager to see?
Thank you! I am so excited! I’m super excited to visit Japan because I love traveling to new places and I’m a huge foodie! It’s fun to network and meet other artists from different countries when touring and, of course, during my free time, I want to stuff as many new clothes as I can into my suitcase!
You also have a background in modeling and have partnered with brands, like Reebok, as a brand ambassador. As a model, activist, and singer/songwriter, how do you balance what you do and what you show the world?
All of these experiences have been great and have helped me grow. I try my best to stay as organized as possible and write everything down in my phone planner to not put off task and opportunities. I feel that being an artist it ties in many things such as modeling, acting while performing, and my music carries a message of embracing who you are so my ultimate mission is to travel the world and inspire young women who through my lyrics and journey. I see all three of these things as a unit.
How big of a role does social media play in your life? How do you stop it from being too draining?
Oh my gosh! Social media is a blessing and a curse. I love that I can meet so many people around the world and interact with my followers. I hate that it sucks up so much time and that it can be overwhelming especially with so many different networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. I honestly schedule my post sometimes and when I feel super overwhelmed I put my phone on airplane mode and watch Family Guy.
How do you think your upbringing and your culture has affected your music style?
Growing up in a multiracial household with my father being Syrian and my mother African-American I truly feel I was exposed to the best of both worlds. My father played a lot of Arabic music while I was a kid and I loved the riffs and style of the artist. My mom listened to all genres of American music and bought me CDs which I would keep on a loop all day and memorize the songs which helped me learn how to write and also how to perform because I would spend so many hours imitating what I heard and saw on tv.
Explain the personal and professional struggles you’ve encountered thus far. How have they molded you?
I think my main personal struggle has been being too hard on myself because I have high expectations. I have learned to not be my worst enemy and to be proud of myself and my journey by not comparing my success to others. My main professional struggle has been finances because investing in your craft is crucial but also expensive. I told myself it’s all the sacrifice and to take the risk if I believe in it. I have molded myself to be strong, alert, and open-minded.
What’s it like being a female of color in the music and modeling industry?
I feel that I have been lucky to be around so many positive people because of living in New York. People here are more open and love curly hair and think it’s interesting of my cultural background. Being a woman is still tricky because guys sometimes see a woman as a potential date instead of a working individual but I always keep it clear that I am about my business!
Who is your biggest inspiration? Why?
My biggest inspiration, to be honest, is watching stories about kids who face challenges whether it’s a physical challenge or a life challenge. I want to be able to help others through my lyrics and to be successful enough to raise money for those in need. I watch many documentaries and shorts on sites such as Born Different and I want to do my best to help.
If you could give young aspiring artists one piece of advice, what would it be?
Stop comparing your journey to others. Time is valuable but success comes with hard work and drive.
Any last thoughts?
Stay true to who you are, enjoy life, and try your best to be happy!
Feature image courtesy of Shenna