This is the first video that drew me to Shelly B. Check the lyrics and the flow. Tight…
Q. So, how did it all begin for you? What was your first show?
A. Long story short, if you’ve ever heard the record ‘Black Girl Lost’ by Nas, that was my story. I wasn’t found until Music found me. The typical teenager ripping and running the streets and living everyday life in an environment inspired by Hip Hop Culture, I became indulged. I was inspired by being around older guys who spent their time in the studio or hanging on the corner in Rap ciphers all day. It was a life infested by drugs, clubs, alcohol, partying, sex and of course music. I became a part of that and before you know it, I was pursuing a career as a young entertainer. What initially launched my career in Rap was an appearance on a local talent TV show. My city came to know Shelly B from the frequent performances on The Larry Picket Show. My very first stage show however was at a popular venue in Raleigh called The Ritz. I will never forget it, opening for 90’s Rapper Kwame and the Legendary Big Daddy Kane at age 16. It was the most exciting night of my life, and then I got booed off stage. Things haven’t been the same since, I think that instilled a determination within me.
Q. What is your favorite group and solo artist?
A. That’s honestly a difficult question. I have so many favorites, and just artist that I respect in general. It’s hard to narrow down to just one so I will just Salute some of the greats who had influence on who I am such as Big, Pac, Lauren Hill, Pun, Big L, Eve, Queen, Lyte, Nas, Jay and even some of the more modern entertainers such as T.I, Luda, Ross. The list could go on.
Q. What was your first song that you dropped?
A. OMG! Please don’t make me go there! Lol, the first full song I ever wrote was called ‘Training School’. I was a wild youngin, so places like group homes, juvenile detention centers and what most consider prison for teenagers was like home to someone like me. I started writing during one of my longest sentences at a TS and life in there was the motivation behind the music. The song was a mess. Lol, and I will leave it at that.
Q. What were you before a full-fledged artist?
A. A mess. Lol. I started very young and I’d say I was full-fledged by the age of 20. But before then I was all over the place. It took my entire teenage life to figure out who I was and where I needed to be which was in music. But until I got there, I was in the streets heavy, very smart girl but very fast and very grown to say the least. I held down a few jobs here and there, because there was definitely that hustle mentality embedded. But I always went into those positions with the attitude that it would be temporary and would never consider any of them my title. It was temporary money to get me by until I blew up in my mind. Music was who I was.
Q. Who inspired you and pushed you to become an artist?
A. A lot of the greats I mentioned previously inspired me throughout the years. They kept me in love with the culture and with the art through their craft and talent for lyricism. But there’s one in particular artist whom I accredit my picking up the pen. During my years as a young teenager in the streets, in and out of trouble and so on, there was this local artist, relatively older than I who became somewhat of a mentor to me. He was a mentor to many in that life because he was the streets and he spoke the streets in his music. Hustlers, strugglers, strippers, youngsters, baby mamas and baby daddys, anybody and everybody in the hood turned to his music for their stories because that’s what he was known for, making songs about what he saw and lived every day. Eventually he wrote a song called “Innocent Child” which was a story about a young female barely a teenager running wild in the streets with no regards or respect for life, her body, her future or others. He told the story of a young girl in the clubs, in the drug houses day in and out skipping school and poisoning her body with drugs and alcohol, the story of a child living the life of an adult who thought she had everything by doing everything but had nothing and was headed into the direction of being nothing. The song could make a grown man cry. It was sad, it was sick, it was dark and it was me. That track got big in the streets and the more I heard it, the more I wanted to change. I wanted to become the very opposite of what he was talking about in that song and become a woman of worth, noble character, self-respect, strength and success. The only way I knew how to do so was through music. The first verse I ever wrote before I stepped it up to formulating a whole song, was a response to that record as if it were a diss track lol. He wrote about who I was, I wrote about what I wanted to be. And from that day forward I was changed, and never put down the pen.
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Q. How many songs do you have completed?
A. A lot. Lol, I really don’t know. I try to keep the catalog looking as healthy as possible, so there is a large variety of music on deck.
Q. What is your real name ?
A. Shelly B haha! That is all the people need to know.
Q. Where are you from and what is the music scene where you are from?
A. Raleigh, North Carolina. The Capital City baby. The music scene here is flooded. A huge difference from back when I first started and hardly anyone was in music. But that’s a great thing! That means the talent in Carolina is plentiful. It’s a little difficult to break as an artist from here, but where there’s an issue there’s room for growth. I think that with more of the business aspect involved in an area with so much talent, it will create the balance that is needed for it to start getting the attention it deserves. Carolina has a place in the mainstream industry, you can believe it.
Q. From a woman’s perspective, R&B is just straight sex, no more wine and dine. Rap is about bioch this, bioch that and bubble gum. Why do you think that lyrics in Hip Hop are dumbed down and R&B has lost its heart?
A. I think there’s great music out there. But without a doubt it’s shoved underneath the shadow of the music that is made to generate revenue. And that’s just what it is, the industry has become a money driven market and as a result I think labels or the people in positions that have the power to push a certain sound to the forefront won’t because there is a formula that has been working for years and it comes down to what sells. These days music is more business than it is talent. Period.
Q. What would you tell youngsters trying to break into the business?
A. Keep God First, know yourself second, learn the business 3rd, and lastly grind hard. Even though there’s no wrong or right way to do this and different formulas work for different people, I think work ethic, networking, branding and oh.. TALENT are all great ingredients of a recipe cooking up success.
Q. What was your greatest accomplishment?
A. While perusing my career, I have been so blessed which many accomplishments that range from sharing the same stage with some of the greats of Hip Hop, to major publication features to all types of awards. But I would say thus far the most rewarding of them all was the honor of being recognized by The Underground Music Awards of NYC. In 2011, I brought home Artist Of The Year. This is the mother of all awards shows or recognition ceremony’s for independent artist in the US. So, to have been awarded that title by such an organization was a huge honor and confirmation for me that hard work pays off.
Q. Do you think that music with a meaning will emerge again?
A. Absolutely, Just as soon as my album debuts. (Laughs). No but seriously, again I say there is tons of great music that has meaning and represent emotion out there. It’s just a matter of the industry finding its balance again. Some of the newer artist breaking though are coming with it lyrically and are presenting projects that are beyond solid for this day and age. J. Cole’s the sideline story for example was one of the peeks into a new era of Hip Hop. I think the more artists like that get shine the more balance music with have, and it will happen.
Q. If you had one wish, for anything at all in the world, What would you ask for?
A. To be given the ultimate opportunity to share my gift with the world
Q. Any links, media players any song we can highlight right now for you? Any shout outs to anyone.
A. Absolutely, Crazy shouts to anyone who has ever supported Shelly b, those getting to know Shelly B who will support and most definitely my team of family, management & partners who continue to play huge roles in my career and success. I’m always on the grind and cooking up something new and fresh. You guys can stay tuned to everything Shelly B at ShellyBThat.com Follow me on Twitter@ShellyBMusic, Check out a few visuals on Youtube/ShellyBTV and lastly be on the lookout for my web series “On The Grind” With Shelly B – A behind the scenes look into my everyday life and grind. Shout out to MILE Magazine for the opportunity, continued success and blessings.