Posted On 05 Jun 2018
On March 9th, the indie pop artist Shelita released “Hola.” The song bends genres with its sensual vocal and production mashup of trap, R&B, electro pop and Brazilian baile funk. The release of this single comes after having amassed over 20 million streams with her last EP, Special, and reaching #24 on Billboard.
Shelita’s unique vocal delivery evokes a strange beauty, as if she was channeling a blend of Bjork and Beyoncé to create an intimate yet powerful performance all her own. She made her first appearance in the pop urban music scene charting #14 on Billboard’s Next Big Sound Chart in February 2017.
Raised in Seattle, she left for Europe to pursue a music career. Through touring the world, she built a loyal fan base and peaked #1 on MTV’s popular artist chart. Shelita has become a viral phenomenon on Spotify and Twitter, with over 250,000 followers and counting.
Shelita explains, “You can dream about moments and you can be in the moment at the same time as you are dreaming about it. Love transfers as each moment passes. It is also about creating new moments through movement and falling in love with each new movement. With this song I was in a place where I was doing nuevo tango with someone. I channel the feelings of wanting to be with the other person in that moment. But at any moment the song could end. The love that was felt between us goes with them as they dance with the next partner. When you dance nuevo tango there is physical closeness with your partner, but there is also psychological closeness. It goes beyond any movement and starts translating into the wide array of the emotion.”
CONNECT WITH SHELITA HERE:
Learn more about Shelita in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! So where does this interview find you? What’s on tap for the rest of your day?
I am currently visiting Las Vegas for a Mastermind and am on a rooftop overlooking the city, writing a song. For the rest of the day I’ll be site seeing a scenic place called Red Rocks. I love nature and looking at scenery for writing inspiration.
Overall, how do you think 2017 was for you and your career? What are you most excited about for this year? What is one big goal you have for 2018?
2017 was an exciting year for me. It was filled with a lot of firsts, it was my first time having songs chart on Billboard, and the first time I ever heard my song play on the radio in Los Angeles. One of my goals for 2018 is to write a song better than “Happy Birthday” but not “Happy Birthday. ” I want to write something people can sing everyday 365 days a year. Every day around the world it is someone’s birthday, multiple times a day people sing the “Happy Birthday” song.
Growing up, did you ever think that this would be the kind of life that you would have? Has music always been a big part of your life? Can you recall your first ever musical experience?
Music was always a huge part of my life. I couldn’t imagine doing something else. When it comes to life, I feel that life is created by the way we design it through our thinking, I feel like the life I have now was created by my thinking and if I want a different life I have to alter my thinking. Music has always been my central focus, everything else that I do like geeking out about technology compliments it. My first musical experience I recall having was making up songs when I was six years old to make people feel better around me, I saw music as a healing tool early on.
How do you think growing up in your hometown has influenced your sound and who you are as a musician? I would love to more about why you decided to move from Seattle to Europe to pursue a music career? What was that big transition like for you? How do you think it affected your career as a whole?
I feel like my musical development is independent to my surroundings and more dependant on my thinking. As I explored the Seattle music scene, I felt very misunderstood as an artist and I knew there was a whole world out there. Since there are billions of people in the world, just because the people around me didn’t get it doesnt mean people in a different place would have the same experience. So I tested out that theory by packing my bags and leaving for Europe. I landed in Paris, France and the audience there was very supportive. Then I started to expand from country to country and by the time I made it back to visit Seattle I felt more supported. I think every artist should expand outside of their hometowns. Doing that really helped me evolve as an artist.
How was your experience performing at SXSW for the first time this year? Was it what you expected? Do you have any upcoming shows this spring or summer?
I felt honored to have a platform at SXSW to perform and to showcase new songs that my fans haven’t heard yet. I really got to connect with new fans. For me everything is about connecting. I love being on stage because I feel like I’m connecting with my fans at a deeper level and I’m being appreciated. I am currently planning a tour for the fall.
What was it like putting your recent EP, “Special” together? Did anything surprise you about the overall process? Were they any unexpected challenges to it all?
I created these songs on the Special EP while going through a rough time emotionally and trying to understand who I am in a romantic relationship. I used to watch people in love acting a certain way and thought I understood what it was all about — and then it happened to me and I was forced to completely reassess everything I ever thought about love. I enjoyed writing and recording the “Special” EP because I was writing from a place of exploring the core values that make all human beings the same — and which of these values I could connect to in my own self.
The concept of the EP and the title song “Special” was born out of a collaboration with UK based music industry executive Nick Halkes who was a founder of the incredible XL recordings label (Adele, M.I.A) and then architected the dance/electronic business for EMI in the UK. He now manages the Prodigy and a roster of other successful artists with a couple of UK number one artist albums as a writer to his credit. Marcus “Bellringer” Bell produced the Special EP who has worked with megastars Timbaland.
Let’s talk about the latest music that you have released. What was the inspiration for “Hola”? How do you think it compares to everything else that you have put out so far?
“Hola” bends genres with its sensual vocal and production mashup of trap, R&B, electro pop and Brazilian baile funk in a way I have never done before.
With this song I was in a place where I was doing nuevo tango with someone. I channel the feelings of wanting to be with the other person in that moment. But at any moment the song could end. The love that was felt between us goes with them as they dance with the next partner.
When you dance nuevo tango there is physical closeness with your partner, but there is also psychological closeness. It goes beyond any movement and starts translating into the wide array of the emotion.
What did it feel like being recognized in Forbes and as one The World’s Blockchain Stars To Watch by International Business Times?
It felt awesome, squared, cubed and cubed again!!!!!! I feel very lucky.
We are living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious how you think being a musician gives you the most joy in life today? How do you think that music is going to reflect these challenging times?
We are living in challenging times and I feel like the more we connect with each other and show more compassion the more we can be in touch with our humanity. My mission in life is to connect to as many human beings as possible. Not just people living today but generations after. Music is a pathway to do this. I want to touch trillions of people. I want to touch people who colonize Mars. I want my music to live forever. And that’s not going to happen if I’m not out every day moving molecules and talking to new human beings. And the more I get out there and spread my music to new people the more I connect. Music is medicine.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? What musicians would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
I love Nina Simone and Janet Jackson. I would love to work with Janet Jackson.
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music?
When people listen to my music I want them to feel something. I want them to really like it or really hate it. I don’t want to sit in the middle. I want to be the soundtrack of their lives. I want my songs to live forever and that happens when people can’t get a song out of their heads. I want to be the song you play everyday forever.