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Perth artist Shameem found herself mastering her craft around the world and the musical partnerships on her new record come from the most weird and wonderful places. She talks to Jane Sutton.
“I had my last album out in 2011, then I toured in 2012, and that was such a busy year; a lot of gigs and stuff. In 2013, it was like, ‘Okay, I need to start thinking about the next thing,” Shameem, who dropped a new single, Beautiful Soul, towards the end of last year, begins. “I got invited to the Canadian Music Week, so that took up a lot of my attention, just trying to organise a Canadian and US tour. I’d actually already written all the songs [for the second album] by the second half of the year, so I decided I wanted to put together a crowd-funding campaign and record the album in the summer. The album was completely finished by March, so we were talking to the people we wanted to promote it and at the time I was thinking, ‘Now, let’s do it know,’ but they were like, ‘No, there’s timing, we have to think about when the big label artists are going to be releasing their things so you don’t have to compete because it’s hard as an indie artist,’ and all that sort of thing. I took their advice though, so it’s taken a little longer than expected.”
Shameem ended up working with Grammy Award winner James Bryan (Nelly Furtado). “It was the weirdest thing ever. No joke, he found me on Myspace back in 2010, and he didn’t even find my original music, it was like demos of jazz songs I’d put up there, and messaged me and was like, ‘Do you write your own songs? I really like your sound, you should come to the UK and we’ll write some music together.’ At first I was thinking, ‘Who is this hack who’s just found me on Myspace?’ But I humoured him and we began chatting and eventually I went to the UK and wrote some songs together. It ended coming out really well. I sent around a few songs from the album for a few industry people and other I trust, and I said, ‘Which song sticks in your head after you listen to it?” and they all said Under One Sun and Beautiful Soul, so they’re both on there.”
Shameem heads out on a national tour this month. “I have these big ambitions and I don’t like telling people about them because they sound so outlandish, so I try to take it as it comes, but you need to have a vision or you’re not going to go anywhere. I’ve found when you’re a self-managing musician, you need to be thinking three or four steps ahead at all times. I’m starting to think about 2016, and it’s scary, but it’s the truth. I’ve become a much richer person for managing myself, but that being said, I’m so busy that I’d really like to have my own manager now. I’ve been doing it for five years now, so I think that’s fair enough,” she laughs, a hint of pride in her voice.