Australian Musician – Shameem: vocals

For the musicians and the music geeks, here’s a Q&A I did with Australian Musician.

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Perth based soulstress Shameem is preparing for a huge 2015, which includes the release of her sophomore album The Second City in January. With a nod and a wink to soul, RnB superstars such as Alicia Keys, Joss Stone and Lauryn Hill, Shammem’s brand of soul/pop is both joyous and contagious. Shameem sat down for a quick Q&A with Australian Musician

What was your first gig?
Paid or not paid? Haha. First time singing solo onstage was at the age of 6 singing “Lavender’s Blue” at a school assembly, backed up by the upper primary choir. Can’t remember what my first paid gig was; I think I might have been in my first year at uni, depping for a friend in a soul/ funk covers band.

What microphone do you use on stage generally?
Shure SM58 is the microphone I tote around with me. It’s simple, but because it’s an industry standard all the sound engineers know how to work with it, and if I’m mixing myself I know how to get the mix I want out of it.

Is it the same for recording?
Definitely not. For recording, I always trust my sound engineer; a good engineer knows best which mic works for which song or which tone that you’re trying to achieve.

What’s your latest recording and when will you be back in the studio?
 I’m just about to release my sophomore album The Second City in January. I don’t know when I’ll be back in the studio again, because I’m all focused on preparing for the album launch and tour right now, but I’ve got some potential collaborations coming up with electronic producers and rappers in the not too distant future.

What gigs have you been playing lately?
 Lots! It’s summer time: gig time. Recently there’s been a band gig at an awesome street festival in Perth called Light Up Leederville Carnival, a solo gig on the keys by candlelight in an art gallery in Fremantle, our favourite Perth venue which is the Ellington Jazz Club, and because it’s the silly season, quite a few private functions and parties.

Most memorable gig?
Ooh, this is a tough one. I would have to say when my band supported George Benson. Not only was the venue great and the audience huge and very warm and receptive, but we got to meet George Benson and he was so friendly and cool and fabulous. And we got to see him perform, for free! Yay!

Worst stage nightmare?
You mean a nightmare as in a bad dream that I’ve had, or something that’s actually happened? Bad dream: running late getting to a gig and forgetting my dress, and so being forced to perform in my dirty jeans or pyjamas or something. I have this nightmare a lot! Something that’s actually happened: I got booked by a promoter for a massive support gig for an internationally renowned touring artist, and he didn’t tell me that he wanted me to do the show in Mandurah (which is one hour’s drive south of Perth) as well as the Perth show. In fact, I didn’t even know that there was going to be a show in Mandurah in the first place; it wasn’t being publicised in Perth. So on the night of the Mandurah show he called me up and was like, “Where are you?” and I was about to head out of the door to another gig! That was awkward as.

Album that changed your life?
Michael Jackson’s Thriller album. I grew up listening to that on cassette tape, and I think it will never leave my sub-conscious as I sing or write music.

What gigs are coming up in the next few months?
Our album launch show in Perth on Jan 17, and then a national tour in the second half of February, with shows in Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, Newcastle, Brisbane, Byron Bay and Adelaide.

A vocal tip for the kids?
You don’t need to push your voice or sing louder to get awesome, powerful high notes. Get yourself a good singing teacher who can show you how to achieve high notes without straining your voice. Not all singing teachers are equal.

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