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Interview With Singer-Songwriter Shailaun

How would you describe your music to any person who may have never heard it before? Shailaun: Many people find my music to be soothing. I'd describe it as the cozy feeling of being wrapped in a soft blanket, enjoying the warm glow of candlelight, and sipping on a cup of tea on a rainy day.

Press shot for Texas singer-songwriter Shailaun.

What’s the significance of your musical moniker?

S: I was originally named Shalaundra at birth. During my senior year of high school, as part of completing my modelling school curriculum, I had to come up with an official "celebrity" name. I wanted to honour my parents by keeping part of my original name, but I also wanted to express my individuality. So, I added an "i" in the middle and became Shailaundra. Additionally, I considered how the last few letters of my name might lead to discrimination on paper, so I decided to remove them and became Shailaun. With my new name, I felt like a completely different person and became curious about the symbolism behind it. After doing some research, I discovered that "Shai" translates to "gift" and "laun" means "purifying tool." Given my strong inclination towards spirituality, I interpreted my name to mean "God has made the gift pure." Interestingly, I find a true sense of purity in my creative pursuits What are your influences? S: Throughout my life, numerous artists have left a lasting impression on me. In my early years, I was captivated by the soulful voice of Whitney Houston, particularly through her performances in films like The Preacher's Wife, The Bodyguard and Waiting to Exhale. Whitney's beauty and immense talent inspired me, and I aspired to be like her. I also found myself drawn to the heartfelt music of artists like Donnie McClurkin, Brian McKnight, Tyrese, and Boys to Men. Their songs resonated with me on a deep level, and I often found myself playing their tracks on repeat. I am a huge fan of old-school R&B. As I matured, my musical preferences shifted towards songs that made me feel seen and loved. India Arie became a significant influence for me during this period. Her soul-stirring music and empowering lyrics touched my soul and provided a sense of comfort and understanding. In addition to these artists, I have also found inspiration in the eclectic sounds of Bjork, the soulful melodies of John Mayer, the mesmerizing vocals of Xavier Omar, the artistic brilliance of Janelle Monae, and the ethereal vibes of Jhene Aiko. Each of these musicians has contributed to shaping my musical journey, and I continue to explore and appreciate a wide range of genres and artists. Overall, my musical influences are diverse, reflecting my passion and love for music. I am constantly discovering new artists and allowing their artistry to inspire and fuel my own creative endeavors. What are your musical inspirations? S: My earliest memory of music takes me back to church, where I heard the choir perform a captivating rendition of "Fire" by The Ohio Players. The whole experience was like a theatrical spectacle, with lights and everything. It sparked something in me—an urge to create and be a part of shows that moved people just as I was moved. Music has always played a significant role in shaping my experiences, whether through TV, movies, plays, or live events. I found myself drawn to the characters and their stories, hoping that one day I could inspire others the same way they inspired me. Whitney Houston and India Arie have had the most profound impact on me. Their stories and the way they connect with listeners, performing with gentleness and passion, truly resonate with me. They have influenced me deeply, teaching me to love and uplift myself and others through music. But it's not just music itself that inspires me. My relationships with loved ones and my spiritual journey have also been powerful sources of inspiration. Sometimes, the best way for me to express something to someone is through a song. Through instrumentation, timing, and sheer passion, I can convey emotions that words alone could never capture. When I think about the impact I want to make, I envision my music as an invisible friend, spreading unconditional love and reminding everyone that they are cherished. It's like a sonic shoulder to lean on and a reflection of the best within ourselves—a warm embrace. My ultimate goal is to inspire people to love themselves and each other more. This belief guides my creative process and fuels my musical pursuits. I constantly ask myself how my music will make others feel, as I strive to create a positive and uplifting experience for anyone who listens.

If given the chance, what musician(s) would you like to collaborate with? Rather this is to either write a song or be featured on a track. S: I have this list of amazing artists I'd love to collaborate with: Londrelle, Joseph Solomon, Jhene Aiko, Common, Cleo Soul, Sade, India Arie, Moonchild, Sidibe, John Legend, Boys 2 Men, Alicia Keys, and Corinne Bailey Rae. They all inspire me, and it would be a dream to create music together.

What's your brand new song about? S: I'm currently working on my upcoming album called, Me Time. It's all about exploring the deeper aspects of my personality and how I navigate life. My first album, Spread Love, had a focus on self-love, but most of the songs were created with others in mind. This time around, I'm putting myself front and center. I kicked things off with my song "Glowing," which I released earlier this year. It's all about expressing and encouraging a greater self-awareness

What’s something you hope people take away from the new songs on the record? S: I hope people find new ways to navigate life's challenges, gain self-awareness, and keep growing and evolving. Which songs on the album were the most fun to write and which were the most challenging to write? S: I've had a blast writing songs for this album! So far, the most enjoyable ones have been "Self Aware," "All the Feels," and "Fruta." This album is all about expressing my desires in life, and honestly, it hasn't been challenging at all to convey that. Do you have any favourite songs on the forthcoming album? S: One of my current favourite songs is called "Glowing." It's a special one to me because it's about my experience with social anxiety. One day, while sitting in the car with my husband, I asked him why it felt like people were constantly staring at me or taking my picture. He reassured me, saying it was because I have an inner and outer beauty that attracts people. It was a relief to hear that, and I wanted to express those feelings in a song. I have a few other favourites too, but let's save those for another conversation.

Do you have any favourite songs to perform live? Could be your own music or even a

cover. Any reason why? S: I absolutely love performing two songs: "Au Naturale," where I can express my sensuality and truly enjoy the moment, and "Summertime" by Ella Fitzgerald. Whenever I perform that song, it transports me to a place where I feel a deep connection and a sense of passion that I've experienced before.

If you could perform a show this very second anywhere in the world, where would it be?

S: Right now, I'd love to perform a show in Amsterdam, Netherlands, as a way to express my love and gratitude. It's an opportunity to further connect with the audience who have shown such a special liking for my music. Let's come together and create an unforgettable experience! Is there any particular venue(s) or city/cities that comes to mind? S: Nope, just the Netherlands for now. I’ll keep the world updated on the location we secure.

What do you currently have planned for the remainder of the year? S: My current plans in the music business are pretty simple and relaxed. I'm focused on educating myself, connecting with people, creating new music, performing live, and finding my community. Just taking it step by step and enjoying the journey!

Thanks for the time today. Is there anything else you may want to add before you go? S: I want to express my gratitude for the opportunity to showcase my talent on your platform. It would be amazing to have a chance to perform live in the future. Let's remember to spread love wherever we go. Thanks again!

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