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New Artist Spotlight: Nyasha Shani

by Travis on April 4, 2008

When I started to do this New Artist Spotlight, I was hoping to get a variety of submissions, and thus far, I have. I wanted to hear from DJ’s, producers and MC’s. I love hearing new quality music, it’s been one of the things I get the most enjoyment out of doing the blog. It’s just fun to do to spotlight some good up & coming artist trying to get their name out there. This week is my first R&B artist on the site. Now I haven’t always been very big on R&B in general, but in my older age, I’ve learned to appreciate it when done right and this young lady does it right.

Nyasha Shani

Residing in NYC, Nyasha Shani has the package of that old soul musical feel, the natural beauty and a smooth singing style that breathes some new life into a somewhat stale R&B genre. When Nyasha inquired about being on the site, I honestly hadn’t thought of including a traditional R&B artist. Not that I was against that, it just hadn’t crossed my mind. She sent me some of her music and while both tracks were good, one song in particular stuck in my mind. “Habit” is on some smooth, scorned lover type of steez that uses one of the more catchier hooks I’ve heard in awhile. I could see this getting some spins on the local quiet storm station, which in no way is a dis, cause this isn’t your little sis’ Hot 97 music.

Nyasha’s Myspace

Tunes From Nyasha

What Do You Need?

Habit feat Shaka

I had the chance to kick it with Nyasha to get a feel for who she is and what she wants to accomplish with her singing:

WYDU: Could you drop a little knowledge about who you are and your background?

Nyasha: My name is Nyasha Shani (knee-asha sha-knee). Just turned 23 :) I’m originally from Baltimore, MD by way of Southern Illinois and I rep West Indies! (LOL)

W: When did you realize you wanted to be an artist and how long have you been singing?

N: I’ve been singing since I was about three years old; I played a couple instruments, including piano, before finally settling on vocals. I wrote my first song when I was nine years old and I’ve been composing and writing ever since. I think music was that thing that I always knew was in me to do. I can’t escape it and I wouldn’t want to.

W: Who are some of your influences?

N: I’d have to say artists like Nina Simone, Billie (Holiday), Floetry, Kanye West, Andre 3000, Lil Wayne, Gnarls Barkley (have you heard their new shyt? i love it!); artists who sorta did/do their own thing regardless of whether there’s a following or not. Their music and persona’s are touching and innovative and trend-setting in different ways and for different reasons; a little against the grain, but shyt, you’re gonna it remember years from now.

W: Do you have any “dream collaborations”, meaning people you would like to work with?

N: I’d love, love, love to work with Kanye, Marsha Ambrosious, and Danger Mouse- dude is freakin genius! Those are my top three. And Nina, if that were possible.

W: Describe your style? Do other types of music influence you and if so how do you incorporate them into your style of music?

N: Allow me a minute to explain something before I answer that. I am not a neo-soul artist, but I know that’s what they want me to be just because I have the standard neo-soul look (i.e. natural hair), but does not mean that’s what I am. But since this industry is so compartmentalized, I am what you think I am, so with that being said, i think I’m just straight R&B. alright, just had to put that out there (laughs). I mean I’m trained in jazz, so I’m definitely influenced by that era. I get influenced by whatever is pleasing to my ear. My music is musical, I mean a lot of stu
ff I work on is beautiful to listen just on some instrumental shyt. On the other hand my writing is dope (if I can be cocky for a minute), I think listening to what I’m saying and how I’m saying it is just as good, if not better than any track I’m saying it on.

W: What do you hope to accomplish in your career?

N: I am trying to build a legacy thorough my music. I’m want to be an icon. . .

W: What do you have going on in the near future?

N: Putting the finishing touches on my company, YoFoy Publishing (YFP- myspace.com/yfpublishing) and finishing up my first project. I’m really excited about this year, just puttin myself and music out there.

W: Thanks for your time and best of luck!

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