THEHIPHOPDIVA.COM had a chat with Underground DIVA of the Week Shelly B about her life changing decision to become an emcee and her career thus far. Here’s what was said.
HHD: Is it safe to say hip hop turned your life around? Did you ever dream then that you would be where you are today because of hip hop?
SB: Hip Hop definitely turned my life around. Music itself is the reason for who I am today. I think that when I was introduced to it, its culture, the elements and pursuit of becoming an artist, living this every single day, that is when Shelly B was born. And everything about me was brought to full circle. I then began living my purpose from a life where I would agree to being completely lost. For those that may not know my background, I began writing around age 14, 15. Since then my entire existence has been revolved around and motivated by music, by the grind, the pursuit of success. When I first started, of course I didn’t expect what was to come, I didn’t expect a successful career in music or entertainment, nor did I foresee a promising future built off a strong independent background which is what I’ve obtained thus far. I was young and having fun with it to say the least. But as time would go on, and I grew more experienced, learned a lot more about the business, built a lot of business relationships, rounded myself as an artist, and educated myself on the craft, I started to believe in myself. I was instilled with a confidence that could never be broken by anyone and knew that in some form I’d be successful in music. I am in love with this.
HHD: How did it make you feel to hear the song about a lost young black girl written by a local rapper and know that the song was about you?
SB: There were a lot of emotions that circled around this record. I think I experienced every emotion there is to have when I heard it. I was filled with hurt by the story, weakness by realizing that the story was my own, motivated to then re-channel my goals and ambitions, mad that this is what I had become knowing my momma raised me better, refreshed by the fact that the truth sat dead in front of me and I was given a 2nd chance to make it right. I felt a lot of things, but I could never be more appreciative of that struggle, it created my path.
HHD: What is your secret weapon? What are you bringing to the table that no other female emcee can bring?
SB: In all honesty I think my secret weapon is me. I am my biggest fan, worst enemy, hardest critic all in one. I know who I am, where I’ve been, what I want and where I’m going. I am driven, and very passionate. I have an incredible work ethic. When these values are instilled in you, there isn’t much that you can’t do. As far as the comparison between myself and other female artists, let me first say that I respect them all regardless of their choice of brand, image or topic. Any woman who is woman enough to stand up and push through trying to be apart of this industry is a strong one. There are plenty of females that are talented, but as far as what I bring, I’d call it a very rare talent. I was blessed with the ability of a limitless sound, a very lyrical background but we all know I stays rockin’ with the commercialized and mainstream market. I know that my grind is unheard of. My work ethic is one of those that has brought me places people never thought even a male would go without a team. My performance is exhilarating and entertaining without the gimmicks. My lyrics, delivery and attitude leave you hung on every word, therefore drawing listeners into the music, not just a hot beat with bass or a dumbed down swag phrase/line or a cosigned feature from another major artist. I will bring freshness, that’s for sure.
HHD: Out of all your accomplishments thus far, what are you most proud of?
SB: I have definitely been more than blessed to have accomplished a lot. From being a 3 time NC Underground Music awards winner, 2 time CM Awards winner, to receiving notable nominations for the SEA’s, Ozone Awards, SEMES Awards, to being a feature in the Source Mag., Ozone, DOWN & Vibe Magazines, I have more than enough to be proud off. And I am very appreciative for every opportunity of recognition, however I think I am most appreciative of the accomplishment that young black girl lost made when I was out in the streets. It was very hard for me to walk away from it all. But I did, one day something inside me told me that I wanted more. I got up, walked out and turned myself in to authorities, into the system. That decision would then lead to me changing my life, going after something, and getting back on the road that God designed for me to begin with which would then lead to the successes and accomplishments.
HHD: In terms of your career as an artist what future goals are you working towards?
SB: The main goal is to get to the top of course, to have that opportunity where I’m able to share this talent with the world and beyond. It’s always been a goal of mine to contribute what I know I can to music’s history and be remembered for that. I also have aspirations to gain experience in other markets: acting, producing, modeling; promotions/marketing other artists. I have a Carolina based TV show now that I have grew a passion for. I can also see a future in television, hosting and personality work. The goals come in by the day, and are endless. The dreams and the drive are there, so with the right timing and resources there’s no telling where you might see me.
HHD: Which female emcee, if there is one, would you like to pattern your career after and why?
SB: I can’t say that I would want to pattern my career behind anyone. I have always done me and will continue to do so. I have however been inspired and motivated by the careers of Queen, Lauryn Hill, and my most favorite Female Hip Hop Artist of all time, Eve.
HHD: Who would you consider to be the top three most influential female rappers and why?
SB: Queen Latifah, for one she is a pioneer, one of the founding mothers who contributed to birthing the game for women in Hip Hop. She contributed lyricism, inner beauty, self respect and power to music’s past. She was also one of the few who elevated her career to endless heights, creating longevity as a business woman turning rap into acting, singing jazz and owning businesses, sponsorships with some of the largest companies in the world, running a label and so on. Its takes a powerhouse to do that, and for those reasons she is one of the most influential female rappers of all time. I would then have to go with my girl L. Boogie. I think what she bought to the game was a rare talent, versatility. She also bought the concept of independency to the forefront. In most cases with female rappers you notice a co sign of some sort rather that be a group or label of dudes that were already on used to cosign her, or a lack of talent in a woman used to cosign the group of dudes in terms of being their “1st lady” or eye candy. Lauren Hill held her own and not only stood beside two other males in a group being its “first lady”, but stood out and became the final piece to a puzzle that was not complete without her. She was different, daring, tried new things, had lyrics, killed any beat and had a hell of a voice for singing. Her projects were solid, you got something from them, she did numbers, and men educated themselves off the miseducation of Lauren Hill. My 3rd choice would have to go with Eve. Eve is my favorite female Hip Hop artist. Period. She fell in the middle of the Old school era of true lyricism and the new school era of swag with her style. Eve also sold records, charted singles, something that has been said to be impossible for women in Hip Hop.
HHD: Complete the sentence. When Shelly B is on the mic….
SB: She rocks the mic RIGHT…lol I don’t know man, I be done dropped a whole 16 in this interview messing with yall. LOL.
HHD: What projects are you working on right now that we should be on the lookout to support?
SB: Definitely be on the look out for H.B.I.C 111 coming early 2010. Part 1 hosted by DJ Barry Bee, & 2 hosted by DJ Smallz were both successes. I look forward to a more mature Shelly B, the rounded & more experienced artist, the business woman, the swag queen and more personalized music to come with part 3. I am also in the works for completing a release that will be along the lines of an EP or album. That’s also been a goal of mine that as of yet has not came to full circle, but I believe everything has its timing along with its purpose, and I want it done right. Also you can be on the lookout right now for the TV show that I host. Big Tyme TV caters to the happenings across the Carolinas including Urban Entertainment from the indies to the majors, Fashion, Finances, Black Culture etc. We also do a lot to provide outlet and education to the up & coming in this industry. For those not in the area that we are broadcasted, we maintain exclusive clips from the shows episodes at www.youtube.com/bigtymetv100. You can also look out for a lot of performing. That is the part of the game that I enjoy the most, so she shall be through a city near you sooner than later. If you haven’t had the Shelly B Show experience yet, definitely visit www.youtube.com/shellybtv for those clips as well. Lastly we are gearing up for the re-release & campaign of my single Shoe Fetish which I am extremely exited about. Be sure to support the record. Just look out for the girl in 2010. I am definitely coming.
HHD: What is your definition of a hip hop diva?
SB: I was previously asked before what images would I say comes to mind when speaking in terms of my artistry, music and performance. I think my answer is very similar to what ultimately defines a Hip Hop diva such as myself. A dynamic woman who stands for something and falls for nothing, an undeniable talent with sex appeal and power to influence, a business, with numerous departments, a boss with the type of swag you can’t buy, in charge and in control.
Check out Shelly B in the following locations: