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By Tanya McNaughton
The soulful sound of local songstress Shameem Taheri-Lee is certainly helping the 25-year-old make a name for herself.
Having grown up in Nedlands, the former St Hilda’s student released her self-titled debut album two years ago and has since supported international artist George Benson, Ronan Keating and Belinda Carlisle, toured Australia, the USA and Canada, plus had her single Turn It On used in the Kleenheat Gas advertising campaign.
She is currently in the studio putting the final touches to her sophomore album, due for release later this year, which will still be predominately soul with a touch of ’90s R’n’B and jazz flavour.
“I’m incorporating a few other styles, so there’s one song that is a bit reggae and a couple that have influences from Persian and Middle Eastern music that reflects my heritage,” the Victoria Park resident said. “It’s becoming more diverse as I go along.”
After mixing it up in the studio, Taheri-Lee will be performing alongside Geraldton-based visual artist Phil Doncon in the Fringe World Festival show The Art of Soul, featuring her original music sung while Doncon paints on canvas.
Taheri-Lee said Doncon had been a long-time fan of her music and she had admired his work for even longer, her mother a collector of the artist’s paintings.
“I think it’s magic and certainly very different because all of a sudden I’m not the centre of attention, which takes a bit of getting used to,” she laughed. “But the painting really underpins the emotions and the story behind my songs, and the audience feedback we’ve received after the few shows we’ve done so far is that it’s a much deeper experience for them.”
During a performance, which also involved some story-telling by the pair, Doncon will usually produce three or four paintings, with one painting ever four to five songs.
And the end of the show there’s a silent auction to purchase them.
Taheri-Lee admitted she didn’t have a painting herself yet and was waiting for just the right one.