Hi Shaefri, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
I’m alright, thanks, delighted that my EP, ‘Girl’ is out now!
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Say You’ll Be There”?
‘Say You’ll Be There’ is inspired by a very old friend of mine and encouraged me to reflect on my own relationship with mental health. It’s all about both sides of a relationship reaching out – to ask for and to offer help when someone’s struggling.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
Yes, a friend of mine passed away.
Any plans to release any sort of video for the single?
Yes, I have a brief for it, which I think could be beautiful but means I need to be able to travel to the West Coast of Ireland, where I spent a lot of my childhood – the setting there is so beautiful; both wild and peaceful, and I think that reflects the song really well. I hope we can go this summer.
The single comes off your new album Girl – what’s the story behind the title?
‘Girl’ is really a reflection of my own personal journey – I really feel like I’ve grown up on this EP, so it’s kind of leaving the stage of being a girl behind and becoming more of a woman.
How was the recording and writing process?
Really fun and generally very easy – my producers, Traxx and Medeline, completely understood what I wanted and our styles complimented each other well. We started it in Montreal, did the bulk of it in Paris and then finished it in London (luckily we finished it last year otherwise it might have been impossible!)
What role does London play in your music?
I grew up here, so the music is grounded in the city – it’s alive, vibrant, exciting and has an edge to it, I think.
How does your own upbringing has influenced your writing and approach to music?
I grew up in an Irish/Egyptian household, so musically there was always Amr Diab or Christy Moore blasting in the car, or the kitchen! I love the instrumentation and tone of Egyptian music and of course, the storytelling of Irish. I try to incorporate both cultures in my music.
Was the album always meant to deal with the #metoo movement or it rather evolved into this?
‘Girl’, which is inspired by #MeToo, was the first song we wrote, and really the only song on there about the movement – I was just so angry at the time, when it was all coming out, and sort of poured it into the session that weekend.
What aspect of the movement did you get to explore on this record?
I tried to focus on the way women can come together and form a big support network and how we all need to work together to enact change for the girls to come.
How did you go on blending and balancing the dark aspect that comes with the subject with the rather uplifting message?
I think it’s just the way I view the world! I feel very strongly about these issues, which are serious but I wanted to make music that doesn’t dwell on the negative, I wanted it to be empowering and positive in its outlook.
Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?Any plans to hit the road?
Absolutely, the second it’s safe and approved to tour and play live again – I can’t wait!
What else is happening next in Shaefri’s world?
I’m working on new material already and excited to drop more of my limited edition merch – I’ve been releasing it with every single and donating a portion of the profits to different charities, which has been great to be able to do.