In this brand new exclusive interview, THP were honored to chat with Shab! Shab is a refugee, mother, and pop star who has caught the attention of a global audience. One of those audience members is her producer Damon Sharpe, who has worked with the likes of Ariana Grande, Jennifer Lopez, and more!
We love what Shab stands for so much, so it’s only natural we’d be huge fans of her music too! Recently, between a charity concert and releasing a live album, somehow Shab managed to find time to get into the studio too. Now, she’s back with her new single, ‘Criss Cross,’ and we could not have been happier to get the chance to chat with SHAB about this and so much more, in this exclusive interview!
We won’t keep you waiting any longer, and we’ll let Shab do the talking!
Shab Exclusive Interview
We’re really excited about your new single ‘Criss Cross!’ What can you tell us about the recording process of the song?
Actually, the process of co-writing this song with Damon Sharpe was not much different than it usually is for our other collaborations. I present some thematic & lyric ideas to Damon, who then takes the words and modifies them to fit a melodic vibe & beat that he feels that’s the nature. Once a demo of the song was produced, we went back and forth on elements of the orchestration and percussion — but it was a relatively short process. And it’s a wonderfully catchy little song.
If someone discovers you for the first time after listening to ‘Criss Cross,’ what should be the next project they listen to get to know you better?
I would strongly encourage them to watch the supporting video for my next summer 2022 single, which is titled ‘Serenity.’ The video was shot in Malibu during last March is a gorgeous little piece of romantic Eye Candy by my fabulous Director, Eli Sokhn. My husband says that if he ever has to explain me to one of his friends in three minutes or less that all he has to do is play the ‘Serenity’ video for that person.
We really enjoyed the energy switch-up on your EP Acoustic Reveal, and we love that it showed us a new side of your artistry! How did that project come about, and how did you decide which songs to re-record acoustically?
It was really, really cool to revisit some of the songs on my first album by reinventing them for Acoustic Reveal as unplugged ballads. The genesis of that project was out of one-on-one sessions that I would have with my Musical Director, Mike Manning, where Mike would play my debut songs on an acoustic guitar and I would sing in full voice almost as a vocal exercise. Mike especially like the way that the songs sounded on a stripped-down basis and began to lobby for us to turn them into separate version recordings. And when you see us interact on stage, you can tell that there is a real personal connection between us as well as a shared love for a really good vibe.
You experiment and switch up genres often, so what’s a genre or style you’d love to try in the future?
Well, we have a song that I am soon going to be recording which is a really in-your-face pastiche of country, rock, and R&B. While the song is more than a bit off-brand for me, it is incredibly catchy and also a declaration of women’s empowerment. And I wouldn’t be surprised if we released this new tune at some point during the late summer.
It’s clearly really important for you to uplift people and use your platform for good, which we love! Why is that such a big part of what you do?
I think that it’s simply a function of being an upbeat and happy person. If we were to have studied the news closely over the last few years, one would have thought that the world was coming apart – and maybe it is. But I believe in the power of positive thinking and in kindness, joy, and building value. Moreover, it’s going to require a lot of love and understanding if we are going to get our world back to a friendlier setting. So if I can spread some of that love through my music and my messaging, I feel as if I am doing my part towards restoring faith, hope, and love to our social landscape.
At THP HQ, we love when artists combine music with great causes, which is exactly what you’ve done with your benefit concert and live album for Hope Supply Co. How did that partnership come about?
Hope Supply Co. is a wonderful organization based in Dallas that provides for the essential needs of homeless children in north Texas. It is often compared to the far better known Baby2Baby charity in Los Angeles, which does in fact work with Hope Supply. My husband has more than a decade of involvement with Hope Supply and it is the main charity that our family supports, both in terms of funding and time. And when Hope Supply’s team asked if I would put on a charity show, there could only be one answer. If you want to see as to how these things unfold behind the scenes, there is a wonderful five-minute video on my Shab Music channel on YouTube that documents the production.
Seeing as it was your first English-language performance, and your first concert since before the pandemic, we have to ask how you felt during that show?
I felt amazing! What most do not realize is that, beyond being my first English language performance, it was also the first time that I had combined choreography with my vocals. I had the most wonderful team supporting me and my biggest fear leading up to the show was that I was somehow going to fail this team which is so focused on our group effort (as well as making me look good!). And as you can see from some of the live performance videos on my YouTube channel – some of which are now approaching a million views – the show was a joyous for myself as well as a triumph for both Hope Supply and our production team.
Is touring something you would like to do in the future?
Funny that you should ask! I expect that during the next several weeks we will be announcing that I will be making my first international tour, in support of a much more established female star, during the lead-up to the 2022 holiday season. We are really excited about this prospect and can’t wait to reveal more!
A lot of your music is very empowering, especially for women! Is it a conscious choice for you to write lyrics like this, or is it something that comes naturally to you?
It is both a conscious act as well as an unconscious habit. My nature is to be a supportive and uplifting person: and I very much believe in supporting my sisters across the world as we continue to struggle with a legacy of diminution. Indeed I very consciously want to shine light upon women of achievement, who stand as examples for younger women who are seeking to make their own way in the world. But having noted this legacy of benign neglect in the West, I am incredibly happy and proud to be living during the present era in America, where women have more opportunity and more equality than has ever been experienced by our predecessors.
What do you hope your fans will learn through your music?
I really have never thought of my music has been a vehicle for learning. While I do believe that music can change the world, I have issues with artists who feel themselves more enlightened or knowing than their audiences. If I had any message to my music, it would be “Live for the better moments in life, which are rooted in love. And, oh yeah…dance your ass off.”
You work with a really core team when it comes to writing and production, how important is it for you to have a tight-knit group in the studio with you that you can rely on?
If for no other reason then the cute alliteration, we have come to label my team as the Shab Squad. We have perhaps a dozen people working on various aspects of my career: and it is a team that has bonded over the past couple years as we have gained traction with audiences. And my music production team, led by Damon, is perhaps the tightest subgroup within the Shab Squad, armed with the view of making catchy World Power Pop.
We love that you’re very open about your spirituality and that you emphasize the importance of mindfulness to your audience! Do you have any advice for people just starting out on a journey of mindfulness?
If I was to give any advice to a person starting a devoted trek towards enhanced mindfulness and enlightenment, I would say: “Talk to God often.” It is God from whom all good things flow and God will be ever-present in your life if you simply invite him into your world on a daily basis. I have seen God at work, particularly over the last decade of my own life, and I am able to draw a strength, comfort and confidence in knowing that I can always draw upon God for support.
It feels crazy to say it, but somehow we’re already halfway through 2022! What plans are in the pipeline for you, and your fans, for the rest of the year?
There’s a bunch of stuff going on! First of all but as I had mentioned previously, I am releasing at least two singles over the summer to be followed by my second album – with all of my songs co-written with Damon Sharpe. Secondly, I am beginning prep for appearances at festivals in Britain during late August and September: and then hopefully will be serving during November as the opening act for a noted female artist on the British leg of her extensive European tour. And finally, we are beginning soon work on my third album, which will markedly different than my first two volumes. So you’ll have a lot of stuff coming from Shab over the next six months!
Well, we’re gonna be waiting with bated breath then! Sounds like the rest of 2022 is gonna be iconic. Thank you so much to Shab for taking the time to talk to us for this interview! And don’t forget to check out the MV for ‘Criss Cross’ below.
We simply need to hear your thoughts on ‘Criss Cross!’ And anything you wanna say about our interview with Shab? Let us know all of your thoughts over on Twitter @TheHoneyPop or visit us on Facebook or Instagram!
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