THEHIPHOPDIVA.COM spoke with Underground DIVA of the Week, Shonie, about her inpiration for singing and how she hooked up with Fabolous. Here’s what she had to say.
HHD: When did you start singing and when did you know that you wanted to make a career of it?
Shonie: I wanted to rap. I really didn’t know I could sing until at church one time when I sang “The Lord Is My Shepherd”. My mama was like, ‘You need to start singing.’ When I was nine years old I first recorded in a studio. I’ve always been around musical people. My mother sang, my father played the piano. I did my first performance when I was around eleven. When I got a reaction from the crowd I was like ‘Oh, okay.’ That was the only place that made me feel happy.
HHD: Who are some of your musical influences?
Shonie: Lauryn Hill, Shirley Caesar, Lena Horne, and Mahalia Jackson.
HHD: Tell us what you think your particular syle is you’re bringing to R&B?
Shonie: I feel like I’m the female version of Dream.
HHD: What do you think the game’s been missing and how are you filling that void?
Shonie: You hardly get to hear R&B records anymore. We’ve got to get back to the soul and I feel like people don’t do that. Maxwell is back and people are like R&B is back. I’m like R&B never left. I feel like that’s what it’s missing.
HHD: How did you and Fabolous hook up on “Can’t Let Go”?
Shonie: I just finally got to meet him for the first time at his album release party in Miami. When we sent the record to him he said it reminded him of what he and Lil Mo used to do. He said he’d love to do it. It’s a song I wrote when I was 17 years old. It was the last song I thought would be a single.
HHD: Who would you say are the top three female MCs?
Shonie: Lauryn Hill is my first. When you look at Luryn Hill she is an educator. Foxy’s delivery was amazing.. MC Lyte had that tomboyish thing and had that swag.
HHD: What is your definiton of a hip hop diva?
Shonie: It’s someone who knows how to carry themself. Someone who is about their business and who people respect.