London's R&B songstress, Shae Universe, speaks on her incredible latest single 'You Lose', being heavily influenced by gospel and her collaborations with Etta Bond and Boogie.
'You Lose' was inspired by a previous toxic relationship I was involved in.
I’m not quite sure y’know. During my songwriting process I usually start with the melody and add words later so as I started to brainstorm that song melody came to mind and as I hummed along to it I realised it slotted in perfectly.
Who did you work with on the artwork and what was your idea behind it?
My good friend Nigel, used a picture of me to form the illustration and he did such an amazing job. The original idea came from my sister after she listened to the song. She felt the artwork needed to have the duality of elegance and hard hitting edge at the same time, I was in agreement.
Last year you released a string of singles, what was the inspiration for ‘Meant To Be’ and sonically, what were your influences?
My inspiration for ‘Meant To Be’ was another failed love story sadly. I’ve had my heart hurt a lot, as you can tell, lol. In terms of influence sonically, I’ve actually never consciously paid attention to that in 'Meant To Be'. I know that my musical influences usually come out subtly in different ways in my music, however, I’m not the best at analysing this as I’m me :D
"I feel like gospel is the foundation
for most R&B singers ...
I think starting in the church choir definitely paved that way for me."
How did growing up performing in the church help you find your voice and give you the confidence to experiment with your vocals?
I feel like gospel is the foundation for most R&B singers. The musical choices, harmonies and range involved are very similar to that of R&B in ways so I think starting in the church choir definitely paved that way for me.
What are your thoughts on London’s current R&B scene and who are some upcoming artists you would recommend?
I haven’t been keeping up with the UK R&B scene of recent the way I usually do as I’ve been on a social hiatus however some UK artists I would highly recommend are Jaz Karis, Etta Bond, Kadeem Tyrell, Bellah, Tiana Major9, Knucks,
"I’m not conscious of the influences I exude whilst writing as it’s a natural authentic process that flows."
Who did you work with on ‘Misunderstood’ and what were your main influences for the sound and lyrical content of the track?
'Misunderstood' was actually written over a purchased beat that I found online. Again, musically I’m not conscious of the influences I exude whilst writing as it’s a natural authentic process that flows, however, the lyricism was inspired by my relationship with the music industry. I’m a very humble, forthcoming individual and in the industry this has often been misunderstood for naivety or weakness. It was frustrating for me so I wrote about it.
What was the inspiration for your breakout single, ‘No Stallin’’?
'No Stallin’', was literally me writing a love song in hopes that I manifest what I’m singing about, loooool.
Etta originally discovered me via my single “No Stallin’’ but I knew of her way before she knew of me. I’ve been listening to Etta Bond since school so it was really crazy seeing things come full circle. After 'No Stallin’' we became active music friends and one day she messaged to ask if I wanted to be on ‘No More Love’. I was on the train at the time and remember getting super excited on the first listen. The vibe was right up my alley and I was just chuffed at the opportunity in general.
It was eye opening and also a huge blessing. Prior to the album I had sent Boogie a whole bunch of different projects so I wasn’t sure what would/wouldn’t be used. Of course, I was super elated to find that not only was I on ‘No Warning’, but also on the opening track ‘Tired/Reflections’. There were initially some crediting issues which I had to go through legal procedures to sort however that was sorted promptly thanks to my music lawyer. It’s still a huge deal to me that I make a double appearance on the same album track list as legends like Eminem, 6lack, Snoh Aalegra and J.I.D. It’s even more mind blowing that this piece of work will live forever. It was definitely an enlightening experience.
"I don’t believe in collaborating with people just for the sake of it - I have to respect you, what you do and what you stand for."
What has been your favourite collaboration so far and how is collaboration important to you in growing as an artist and pushing yourself?
My favourite collaboration to date is probably '700 pennies' with Kojey Radical. This was my favourite collaboration because it was the first time I felt like a vital part of a studio session that wasn’t primarily booked for me. Considering this was before I’d gained much of the traction I have now, it gave me a certain confidence I didn’t have prior so thank you, Kojey Radical.
Personally, I don’t believe in collaborating with people just for the sake of it - I have to respect you, what you do and what you stand for. I understand the benefits of widening one's following by sharing it with another but I’d rather do this intentionally and authentically as I’m growing increasingly meticulous with my brand and who I surround myself with/co-sign. You can definitely expect more collaborations from me and involving me in the near future though :)
Are you working towards releasing your first body of work and if so, what can we expect?
Yes I am! My project will be here by the end of the year by God's grace. And honestly, I don’t even know what to expect at this point so I couldn’t tell you!
What inspired you to get into music and what/who is inspiring you today?
There’s so many things I could list in response to this but ultimately I put them all down to God. God is my reason, my most significant motivator and the source of all my inspiration in the grand scheme of things. Shoutout to you, God.
If you had to recommend five artists to your listeners, who would they be?
In no particular order:
What’s coming up for the rest of 2020?
An abundance of blessings :)