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INTERVIEW: Oakland’s Songstress Sh8peshifter

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

Wonderful, its my honor.

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

Yes, Basically the song was my ode to Black Women, specifically for folks like my 14 year old daughter. I wrote the song shortly after the assisination of Sandra Bland. I wanted to elevate the role of Black Women to their highest aspiration…God.

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

The song was so much bigger than me, I knew I needed to create a visual that highlighted the spectrum of black beauty. The video features artists, educators, changemakers and students from my community in Oakland

The single comes off your new album After Darkness – what’s the story behind the title?

The song represents me coming out of a dark period in my life. Every single one of us, every single seeds first begins in the womb of darkness. The seed then bursts open burrowing its roots deep into the soil before it begins to sprout. Most people are afraid of the dark because you can’t see. You have to trust your instincts, surrender to the process. Thats what I had to do in life and this music represents me stepping into the light.

How was the recording and writing process? What was it like to work with co-producers Kevin and Geoff McCann and how did that relationship develop?

Kevin and Geoff are brothers. Kevin and I have been making music together for over 6 years, we perform together as a duo and in a variety of other musical configurations that can extend to a 6 piece band. Kevin and Geoff also work with a lot of other Bay Area artists and we all are alumni of  the music accelerator Zoo Labs.

How much did they get to influence the album?

Kevin and I co-produced most of the album together and also worked with Anjalo Russel. In terms of the sound its dark, it electronic its synth heavy. Geoff also co-produced a track and played guitar on a few tracks. I call Kevin the spaceship, his ear is cosmic, transversing multi-dimensional worlds of reality. That was the foundation of the sound. I’m about that 808 slap, interesting chord changes and heartfelt lyrics.

What role does Oakland play in your music?

Oakland is home. Home of the Black Panthers, legendary music and culture. It is where I have lived for most of my life. Oakland raised me. Its one of the most diverse places on the planet, its where people go to do something that hasn’t been done before. That spirit and essence is in my blood and infects every part of my life-including music. Oakland is also changing, like every other major city in the world. Right now it is one of most expensive places to live in the world, most of my people are being forced out our just straight up leaving. Big tech rules. This also has impacted how I have had to navigate as a working artist in the 21st century.

What aspect of society and political climate did you get to explore on this record?

All of my work comes from my life. Its my medicine. A direct reflection of whats going on for me at the time. These songs embody my journey as a Black Woman. Black Woman are often the lowest on the totem pole of white supremacy. Everything about our presence on the earth is a political statement. We have been the canaries in the coal mine around the inequalities of the system. When she is restored, the earth will be restored.

How did you go on balancing the dark elements with the much uplifting tone?

Kevin’s dark edge, my afro-eclectic vibes combine like voltron!

Any plans to hit the road?

Yes! Pacific Northwest Tour + Wellness Pop Up Series licking off the end of October. In addition to performing I have curated a Wellness Pop Up Series, Sh8peshift: An Embodied Wellness Pop-Up, The Sh8peshift Experience, an intimate multi-sensory experience inviting the community into a sacred and shared space designed to provoke thought, healing, wellness, and creative transformation. As we hospice the old systems of lack, linear thought, and destruction that have plagued this planet and co-create new systems to support the world we want to live in. A new set of tools/medicine bag is needed to support women with “tangible” wellness they can apply to their everyday lives, as mothers, entrepreneurs, and leaders. We understand not just the future, but the present is female and when feminine power is acknowledged, centered, and healed the earth will be restored to its natural state of balance. The Sh8peshift Experience is a joint call and response to this need. Through movement, ancient wisdom and cutting edge research, participants will dive deeper into their bodies and connect to their inner intuition. Ultimately, Sh8peshift embodies the critical importance of how we as humans must begin to shift from our small compartmentalized worlds into the recognition that we are all part of a large interconnected universe. Follow me on IG for more info @shesash8peshifter.

Watch Sh8peshifter’s Video for Her Single “Abracadabrakaafrica”:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDtUS0k5r9o

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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