Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
It wasn’t really a choice, to be honest. I always say if I could do anything else it would make my life so much easier! If I was interested in something academic where I could buy a house and be happy. But that’s not for me. I’ve always grown up around music and knew from a teenager that I loved singing and deciding to release my own music has been the most confident I’ve felt in my path so far.
Introduce us to yourself and your musical history.
So I’m SHWA. I’m your typical Valleys-girl-anything-witchy-and-life-loving-libra, so, of course, was surrounded by music, haha! I started gigging around the local pubs at 16, singing a couple of songs in the interval of the main artist, eventually performing my own sets but thought that musical theatre was the path I wanted to take. That aspiration then swayed towards acting and I trained on the 3-year Professional Acting BA degree at Drama Studio London, then the pandemic hit, and I came ‘full circle’ realising that, no, singing truly is my calling card. I took up songwriting classes and became obsessed with getting my words onto paper and into melodies and began exploring the avenues that I could take to get my music released
Name me your 3 favourite Albums.
Swifty through and through from the beginning but 1989 is my fav.
21st Century Blues, Raye- blew me awaaaay!
And P!nk’s new album Trustfall is just gorgeously addictive.
What was the first song you heard that steered you into a music path?
Probably why I’m so obsessed, it was Taylor Swift’s ‘Love Story.’ It was the first music video I ever watched on the TV in my mam’s house and I immediately had to purchase her album ‘Fearless.’
The music industry is the hardest industry in the world to progress in, How do you feel you are doing?
I try not to focus on this sort of thing. Spending most of my educational life trying to figure out what I wanted to do and never quite feeling it was right when I decided that I wanted to be an artist, I was doing it for me. Success is subjective, art is subjective. I love what I’m doing, learning and expanding and I am surrounded by so much love. I’m very grateful to be where I am and where I go is only a bonus.
I’m seeing a lot of debate about women not feeling safe at music gigs, any thoughts on what we need to do to help?
Unfortunately, I don’t think anywhere is safe at the moment, especially at music gigs. The only way that things are gonna change is if people are open to kindness but we are in dangerous waters where everyone seems to be in it for the wrong reasons. We are in a digital age where people are forgetting basic human connections, consent is consent, simple as.
As you develop as an artist and develop using socials what ways do you get new ears on your music? Any tips?
Well admittedly, I am learning to love social media rather than resent it, and I’m getting there haha! But it is such a useful tool for an artist- Tiktok is always trending new music that people obsess with so that a great and easy way to discover new music. I also enjoy Spotify mixes- I love long walks, so sometimes I put on a random mix and find new artists/music that way too. We spend so much time on our phones and social media so it’s actively assessing which songs keep reoccurring and what takes your interest, whether it’s for pleasure or research.
Tell us Two truths and a lie about you.
I was in a Purple Bricks Advert
My name is ‘SHWA’ because of the phonetic sound ‘Schwa’
I was asked to do an Amy Winehouse tribute performance which turned out to be part of a pensioners’ bingo night
Did you buy anything you don’t need during the pandemic?
Just far too many clothes haha!! I would say I was pretty proactive in my buying actually- I bought a mic so that I could focus on singing, a wad load of skincare and a holiday which I can’t wait to finally go on!!
What was the worst experience on stage?
The worst experience I had was actually in a workshop! I bit a bit more than I could chew and chose an Italian song I think it was. When I say I forget every single word. I. Forgot. Every. Single. Word. No matter how many times we started again, I couldn’t even remember a single vowel or syllable. So that was horrifying.
Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about.
I’m a very mindful person and I have qualifications in practicing Reiki! I meditate daily, draw Angel cards, have far too many crystals, and just love life and lifting myself to high frequencies. What makes you stand out as a band/artist?
My songs aren’t just songs, they’re part of a story- each song is a chapter to an entire book and with the songs that are coming, you’ll be able to piece that book together.
I hear you have new music, what can you tell us about it.
Yes, ‘Butterflies’ is my second release. It’s about removing the rosy-tainted glasses of your 14-year-old self who thinks falling in love is easy and accepting that it is more difficult now being an adult in a swipe-right society but being open to the possibilities that love can happen.
Talk me through the thought process of the new tune/s.
Well, when I started this project, I was certain that it was gonna be all positive! It’s my ‘first spark’ unit- exciting, new, fresh- but then when I started freewriting around it, I wasn’t in that mind space. I was fed up and feeling quite down because everyone around me seemed to be moving forward with their partners and here I was, on my own. So, I had to honour that. But I’m a very optimistic person, so despite all these feelings, I know that life is amazing! And it was important for me in this song to remind myself of all the magic in the world.
What was the recording process like?
It was the best! For my debut single ‘Learn To Hurt,’ with all the restrictions from lockdown I actually recorded the vocals in my house and conversed with my producer, Tokøta through Zoom calls. This time we continued this process through video calls but we met in a studio to record my vocals and it was insane- for someone who’s really not techy, haha- to fully delve into just singing and conveying the story of this song was empowering and reminded me why I’m doing this.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?
I think the biggest learning curve was allowing myself to colour the writing with my voice. I often get scared that I have to fit a certain box and limit myself but actually, the vocal textures I brought to this song are what makes it true to me as an artist! And I have to remember to stay true
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
Not at all! Each song is a step forward in my journey as an artist and I know that I pour everything into what I do. I’m very proud of where I am and excited to see how my songs will develop.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
Just a little bit of inspiration- I grew up in a tiny village in Wales where big dreams seem unachievable and now I live a life in London, surrounded by love and people who are supporting me on my journey. I will forever want to share more music because I want to prove- not only to myself but to everyone else that has a passion for something that seems far-fetched or too ambitious- that you can connect to people in so many different ways when you speak your truth and trust your path. You got this!