Meet newcomer vocalist Michelle Shapa! She is originally from Eastern Europe and Israel, but later moved to Switzerland for college and to pursue a high profile finance job. After a few years of working in the finance world, she decided to pursue her true passion, music.
Her main genres are Indie Pop and Electronic, and she has gone on to work with Grammy Award-winning DJ/Producer David Morales on a track called “Lover”, as well as on an upcoming release titled “Let It Go”, which will debut on his upcoming album.
Learn more about Michelle Shapa in the following All Access interview:
Thank you for your time. So given these unusual Covid-19 times, what does a typical day look like fo you? How have you adjusted to these times?
Luckily for me, I am currently back to “normal life”. As I am based in Switzerland, we were able to be back on track regarding social life. During the quarantine I spent time in Israel though, with my family. And even during these tough and limited times, I still managed to write and produce a song in hebrew called “HURT” (produced together with Lior Avramov) that I released in April. The english version of the song will follow shortly.
At first I was a little shaken, as I am used to traveling a lot and also to work a lot in the studios worldwide, but I tried to make lemonade out of the given lemons 😉
What has been the hardest/most challenging part about being quarantined? Is your city starting to open up more now?
As I mentioned, Switzerland took a good path of opening up slowly since the middle of May. Today we are almost back to normal. Everything is open and social distancing is no longer enforced. I think people should still be careful in order to minimise the chance of having the same issue.
What has it been like having to reschedule so many of your spring, summer and most likely fall shows? What shows in 2021 are you are already excited for?
Of course it was very frustrating, as for all the artists. Unfortunately as it is not dependent on me, I could only try and make the best out of the circumstances. With my team, we were working on marketing, writing scripts and ideas for future music videos, and of course I write a lot of new songs that I can’t wait to produce. 2021 looks bright though, and I am very excited for all of the upcoming shows but mainly for the big Festival in Norway and for upcoming shows organised by NOFACE records, which is a label I am working with.
Since we are all desperately missing live music, can you recall a favorite show of yours from the past? What do you think ultimately makes for a great show for this band?
It’s hard to choose only one:) One of my favorite shows was actually partly a competition in Switzerland (it resembled the concept of “The voice” in Geneva). The jury was few of the top people in the music industry in Switzerland. One of them was Paul Sutin, who was working directly with Phil Collins (and many more) and was in charge of his foundation for young artists. After the show I was invited to his enormous studio (where artists like Alicia Keys, Sugarbabes, and many more were recording) for a few collaborations. I was then invited for a few shows with the artist from this foundation. Was such an amazing experience!
Another one of the shows was a private show for a private event in Russia. As NDA was signed I can’t reveal much information, however it was a luxurious event of around 300 people and I felt very lucky to be part of the artists that got to perform there.
Let’s talk about your newest music. What has been inspiring your songs lately?
I always write about my personal experience. As an artist, I am very emotional and I live in a world of black and white. That means that all the feelings are very sharp for me. If I love-it always feels like forever. If I hurt-it feels like the end of the world. And I always have to put my feelings in lyrics and music. HURT was born from a heartbreak. When I wrote it at first I wanted to just record it as a part of therapy for healing, but when we got to the studio and began to produce it, I was like-damn, people need to hear it. And so at first I was hesitant if I should release it, as part of me knew that the person who I wrote it about will know that it’s about him, and I didn’t want to make him feel on top. I didn’t want him to know that he managed to hurt me that much. On the other hand I thought, I need to be real with myself, my music, and mainly-my fans. They need to know what I’m going through,good or bad. So I got the courage and released it (and even went further and used a private picture for the art cover. I am also grateful for Gabriel Sancho, who is a very talented cartoonist from Argentina, who got inspired and created the logo of “HURT” in both hebrew and English).The original was written in hebrew, and the fact that people who don’t speak this language wrote to me that they have goosebumps listening to it-shows that I did the right thing by showing it to the world. I am very curious to see the reaction for the english version.
What was the inspiration for your songs, “Lover” and “Let It Go”? How do they compare to anything else you have previously released?
LOVER was actually the first song that was released of me being a full time artist. David Morales and I go way back, we’ve been friends for more than 10 years now. I was always too shy to ask for us to collaborate. One day out of the blue he just sent me a message saying that he has a song for me. He sent me the first instrumental and I wrote the lyrics and melody. The finished song had nothing to do with the first version. It came out to be much more melodic and sexy.
LET IT GO is waiting for its release. When David suggested we work on another song, I was just at a point in my life where I quit my banking job and risked it all to follow a dream and go all in into my music. So this song has a lot of power in it, it talks about believing in yourself and pushing through even when no one believes in you. David is a perfectionist, he is a true legend that knows exactly what he wants and how to do it. He’s been a mentor to me for many years and helped me grow into an artist I am today. I can’t stress how grateful I am for having him in my life. He is family!
How does “Let It Go” prepare listeners for your upcoming album?
LET IT GO has fire in it. I remember when I sent David the demo of the idea, he called me right away and for about an hour was talking about how ecstatic he was about it. I felt so honoured and happy. Can you imagine a grammy award winner calling you and saying that he LOVES what you wrote? I wish every artist to feel that feeling. I hope my listeners will become inspired by the energy of that song and will be motivated to always shine bright. Even though my album and other projects are mainly POP-every song that I’ve been working on with David is special to me. It shows another side of me. I am always bringing out the confidence in them.
How do you think that you have grown as a musician over the years? What has changed about your songwriting process? Has what motivates you to be an artist changed much?
As I mentioned before, I write about my personal path and experiences. Every song of mine, every lyric-talks about moments I’ve been through. Some of them are harsh, some are sad, some nostalgic, and some are extra confident (when I feel like I am a superwoman that can do anything 🙂
I think that over the years I learnt to play more with lyrics. Sometimes I like to show the simplicity, but sometimes, I like to put a lot of personal hidden messages that only few people will understand entirely-but surely everyone will get it, just differently. A lot of lyrics in HURT actually talk about my personal moments, but at the same time-everyone can relate.
My motivation will always be expressing my feelings. I never write or produce out of a motivation to write “a song that people will like”.I always want to show the real me and the process I’m going through. And if I’m lucky-it will make people feel something and connect to it.
How do you think future music is going to be influenced by this incredible and absolutely necessary Black Lives Matter movement that the US and even the world is going through now? Is it inspiring you and your music today?
As someone who is very international and lived in many different countries (Russia, Israel, Switzerland) the fact that people and the world can be so unjust devastates and shocks me. I am lucky to have friends all over the world, with different nationalities and religion, and we all connect on so many levels. When we are in the room-we just love life and learn so much from each other as human beings. Nothing else matters (and nothing else should matter). I am happy that finally people are able to fight the injustice, speak for what matters, and change the world to make it a better place.
If you could get into the studio right now to work with any artist, who would it be?
Definitely THE WEEKND. However if we could add “Oscar and the Wolf” and Alie Gatie to that studio session-I would not say no:)
What would your dream music video look like?
Thats a hard one…Every time when I have an upcoming new music video, the director and I begin with referencing and watching tons of music videos of other artists. I can’t say what a dream music video would look like, but I definitely know that I would love to have one of my music videos being directed by Alan Badoev as he has this crazy artistic touch mixed with luxury. I love it when music videos are not boring and have a story to tell.
Would you like to share anything else with our readers about yourself or your music?
I would like to thank you for this interview and I hope your readers will enjoy to get to know me and my path a bit better. I want people to believe in themselves, and to push forward to follow their dreams, just as I did.There is no limit-you just need to conquer your fears. I am aiming high and I am very grateful for all of my supporters and fans.A lot of new music is coming out very soon. I have many songs that just sit and wait to be released with a lot of music videos to follow. Can’t wait to share it all with you.