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INTERVIEW: Shayna Leigh

Hi Shayna, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

I’ve been great- writing and working on new music and I am so excited for the chance to talk about it. Thank you guys so much for having me!

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Cheeky”?

Of course! “Cheeky,” for me, is a song about standing up for yourself. It’s about setting boundaries and knowing your worth. It’s a bit of a departure for me stylistically – I think my sound has gotten edgier over time- but at its core, “Cheeky” is an empowering song, which I think is the cornerstone of the music I make. I have often felt an incredible pressure to please other people, in my life and in my career, and “Cheeky” is my response to that!

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

It wasn’t inspired by any specific event, but more of a reaction to a lifetime of pressure (whether perceived pressure or actual pressure) to behave a certain way. The longer I’m alive, the clearer it becomes to me that everyone will have a perspective on how I should do things. And I think that’s pretty universal. There will always be pressure to comply with what other people want from us, so it’s up to us to hold on to our integrity, to draw our own boundaries and figure out what works for us! No one will fight harder for you than you! “Cheeky” is a reminder to fight for ourselves!

Any plans to release a video for the single?

I would LOVE to make a video for Cheeky! I haven’t started making those plans yet, but that’s a pretty good idea actually 🙂

How was the recording and writing process?

The recording and writing process was really fun. This song was written in the best kind of writing session. I can’t remember exactly but it feels like we wrote it in like an hour! The concept came quickly and the collaboration was pretty effortless. And I have to say, recording the song was equally smooth. Sometimes it takes me a while to settle into a song when I’m first recording something I’ve written. I feel like there often is a process for me of learning the style and fitting my voice into the track. But on some really special occasions (like this one), it’s all kind of effortless. I instinctively knew how to sing “Cheeky.” It honestly felt kind of magical. I think a part of it stems from the fact that the message of this song is so meaningful to me- it felt like something I really needed to express.

What was it like to work with Adrian Newman and Rachel West? How did those relationships develop?

Earlier this year I went out to LA and spent a week working with Adrian. We wrote a handful of songs with a bunch of different writers. I instantly liked Adrian. He’s an incredible musician and he’s also so open minded and easy to work with. In our first day of writing, we stumbled upon this sassy (somewhat cheeky) vibe that ended up pervading all of our work together. I think we sat down with Rachel on our third day together. Rachel has a really kind and vibrant energy about her, so it was super easy to get right into it and start writing. I honestly cannot say enough good things about both Adrian and Rachel and the collaboration on this song. Writing can be challenging, but when you get lucky with the right combination of people, it is the easiest, most exhilarating thing in the world.

How much did they get to influence the song?          

At it’s best, co writing is a complete collaboration. I always try to go into co writes with a really open mind. It’s important to me that I write songs with concepts I believe in and messages I can stand behind, but I think when you’re collaborating, once you’ve got a concept locked down, the song often benefits from having multiple perspectives. “Cheeky” is a finished production that is composed in equal parts of all three of our perspectives and musical instincts. And that’s the most exciting part about it!

Do you tend to take a different approach when you are collaborating with someone else rather than working on your own?

Collaborating is completely different from working alone and I am a huge fan of collaboration. It helps me take more risks and I think it often elevates what I’m working on. With co-writing, you have to be wiling to allow your song concepts to grow and change. You have to be willing to take other people’s perspectives into account. It requires you to take a step back and look at what you’re working on from a bird’s eye view. But I find the process really exciting. I enjoy feeding off other people’s energy and seeing what we can create together!

What role does Orlando play in your music?

I think growing up in Orlando made me who I am. I was fortunate enough to have access to a lot of music and so many performance opportunities as a kid and that really shaped my relationship with the stage. I don’t know that Orlando plays an active role in my day to day writing, but I think my upbringing absolutely shaped me into the person I am, so I guess in a way, Orlando plays the biggest role in my music!

Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?

It does! I have another song ready to be released as the follow up to “Cheeky” and plans to write more! I am really enjoying the new direction my music is moving in and I am excited to explore it further!

Any tentative release date or title in mind?

I don’t have a release date yet, but I imagine it will be sometime this summer!

Any plans to hit the road?

I would LOVE to hit the road. Playing live is literally my favorite thing in the world so I would absolutely jump at the opportunity. Definitely keep your eye on my socials because that’s the first place I’ll announce tour dates when I book them!

What else is happening next in Shayna Leigh’s world?

A lot of writing and recording and exploring and travelling! There are all sorts of good things going on in Shayna Leigh’s world and I can’t wait to share them with all of you!!

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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