Today we have the Spotlight – Shantaia. We got the chance to sit down with this Saskatoon native to talk about her new release Had a Good Weekend. Check out what she has to say about her music process and how she stays grounded right now.
What got you started in music? Was it more through your family or friends?
My parents put me in singing lessons at the age of 3, and guitar lessons with my older cousin at the age of 6! So I definitely had Family support!
Growing up who are 3 major influences? Who are 3 artists you would love to collab with today?
Growing up 3 major country influences were Martina Mcbride, Shania Twain, and Carrie Underwood when she came onto the scene from American Idol! 3 artists I would love to Collab with now would be Maren Morris, Brett Eldredge, and Martina Mcbride!
How do you think growing up in Spiritwood, SK influenced your drive as a person? It looks like quite the small town!
Many things about growing up in a small town gave me drive in my music career. I’m always wanting to make them proud! I miss home a lot but that also gives me a lot to write about!
What was it like working with icon Crystal Shawanda?
Crystal is such a humble, talented, and beautiful person inside and out. She was such a confidence booster and I would still consider a mentor of mine! She was incredible to work with!
New single comes out later this February called “Had a Good Weekend” can you tell us a bit more about the track and what it means to you?
This song is just one of those songs that makes you feel good! When I brought this idea to my co-writer Ryan Sorestad, he immediately loved the melodies and lyrics and really helped me bring it to life! I haven’t released a fun, carefree, upbeat song like this so I’m excited to show a different side of me as an artist!
Your first EP “chapter one” was amazing. Very heartfelt. What was it like making it and finally giving it life after all those years performing?
It was a long process, but one I’m very grateful for and proud of. It’s the “little EP that could” in my opinion! It’s even nominated for EP or Album of the year at the 2021 SCMA Awards this year! My first ever nomination in this category, as well as Songwriter of The Year for “Two Cents”!
What is something you wish you had known before going into recording that no one told you?
I started recording at 13 years old, so I’ve kind of grown up learning my way around a vocal booth and in a studio. But one thing that no one told me the first time I went in to record, was how the mic picks up every single breath, swallow, mouth opening etc. and completely AMPLIFY’S it! One of the worst things is listening back to yourself making some very unflattering noises! Haha!
Like many country artists, you spend a lot of time going back and forth between Toronto, Nashville, and home in Saskatchewan. What are some of the biggest challenges and/or culture shocks you experience?
I spent about a year living outside of Toronto and living there was very different from my Sask roots. The traffic, the fast pace lifestyle, the sky rocket prices of living; all of that was a shock. I’m now living in Nashville and I would say there’s a few things that are very different here compared to Canada which most people are aware of- the comfortability with gun use, and the intense politics! These two things are handled very differently in the United States compared to Canada and came to a shock to me living here!
2020 hits, no more live shows, and concerts. You however, have been playing constant online shows. What was the pivot like to going back to such intimate shows with no audience to vibe off?
I haven’t been playing as many live streams as I did right when the pandemic hit, but when I was, the first one was weird, and then it started to get a bit easier interacting with people commenting on the lives! It was actually a lot of fun, but nothing beats a real, rowdy, loud crowd in a great Live Venue!
As an artist, what was it like to cancel shows and even now planning in an unknown climate?
It’s not easy, but I can’t imagine how hard it’s been on the booking agencies as well. Their job is to get us shows, and kinda know what our future of live shows looks like. They’ve been in the unknown for so long, trying to navigate it and I can’t imagine how difficult that is on them.
Social media for artists is so integral for reaching fans, self promotion, etc. Do you think that there’ s an overreliance on social media (Instagram, Twitter, etc)
I think there is an overreliance on social media for sure! But unfortunately that’s how things go in our industry, building engagement and social media numbers helps us build streams, music downloads, fanbase, and helps us then sign record deals and get bigger opportunities! I also think we’re lucky to have platforms to put our music out on where anyone can see it and become a fan, even if those social platforms can be stressful at times! It’s a double edged sword!
Thank you for sitting down with us so we can get to know you better. What is one thing you wish that people knew about you that we did not get to cover?
I’m actually a real country girl, I grew up riding horses and still have a horse back home in my hometown! I spent all last summer riding before moving to Nashville!
What are some selfcare that are helping you stay grounded this winter that are helping you stay grounded?And you cannot cheat and say music!
Candle lit baths, going for hikes with my roommate, soaking up the good weather in Nashville, and going to the gym!
Lastly as our favorite independent and smaller businesses have been hit hard this Covid season. What are some of your local favorite places to hype up and give a shout out to?
I’ve recently partnered with Provincial Vodka which is a local Saskatchewan Distillery in Blaine Lake, Sask! I love pumping up local when I can (even from Nashville) and can’t wait to promote their amazing vodka!
Spotlight – Shantaia is on the books. Big thanks to Shantaia for taking the time to chat with us
Check out Had A Good Weekend now!
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