Shanell Talks Throwback Thursdays, New Album, and More

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Vibe / April 16, 2013

YMCMB’s Shanell dishes on her new Throwback Thursday music series, upcoming album, and more.

VIBE: We know you’ve been working on this new music series, the “Throwback Thursday” project, tell us about how this idea came about and what should we expect?
It kinda just came about just listening to music that I used to really like and then vibing with some of my friends. Some of the songs that I’m gonna put out are songs that I wish I would have made. Just giving people a sense of who I really, really love in music. People miss that old school R&B feeling. The new school R&B sounds so different and I wanted to bring back that feeling.

We heard the two covers you did of Teedra Moses and Adina Howard. Would you say those are two women who have inspired you musically?
Those songs that are apart of my history. I remember “T-shirt & Panties” when I didn’t know what she was really talking about. Women supporting women, that’s me all day. That’s one of the things I stand for. I did those songs in respect to them.

What are some of your other favorite songs from the 90’s era?
Honestly, I was more into hip-hop but I really liked R&B when Bad Boy kinda took over. It was still R&B but it just had a rhythm and a beat that you can still bop your head to and dance to. Actually in the weeks to come, you guys will hear it. Every song that I’m gonna cover are my 90s favorites.

Are you working on any songs from your debut album or are you still in the experimental process?
I’m really a fusion artist. I listen to a bunch of different stuff and I fuse a lot of music. In my experimental stage, I said ‘you know what, I’m gonna make my first album a little more clear.’ There’s so much going on in music right now, I just wanna sing. And work with great producers and do some cool music that people can vibe to and that’s not too difficult to understand. I feel like that is a great way to introduce myself.

For your debut album, are you going to be working with Lil Wayne or Nicki Minaj? Any planned collaborations with your Young Money family?
I’ve done stuff with all of them, it’s just about picking the 12 best records. It will definitely have some Young Money features on it.

For a while you were the only female singer on Young Money, how was it being in that position? Do you have to work harder because you’re in a rap dominated label?
Definitely. It’s a responsibility to open their minds. I will be setting that tone for the female or male artists on the label who don’t rap. When a record company is used to doing things a certain way, and they have something different, you can’t solely just expect the label to get it and understand doing something different when they haven’t done it yet. It’s been a lot of work on my part and their part to really understand what we’re going to do with me and how to put me out properly.

Your sister D. Woods was apart of Danity Kane and now she’s working on her own stuff, do you two help each other out when it comes to creating music?
When we have the time. When she’s in town, she’ll come to the studio. She’s been in a group with four other girls so when it comes to the harmonies, she’s A 100 with it. She comes in and helps me out. She’s happy for me and I’m happy for her. We’re like the Venus and Serena of music. (laughs)

With everybody doing reality TV now days, is that something you and your sister are looking into to give the fans?
We’ve been approached about that several times. I’ve tried to stay away from it but she’s open to it. For me, it’s just about getting the right people to put it together. A lot of reality TV has it pros and it’s cons. I just wanna make sure that when it comes to family we don’t have any wrong light shed on us.

If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would you say?
I would say daring. Apple martinis. (laughs). And I would say love.

Do you have anything else planned for 2013, any upcoming projects we should look out for?
I would just say keep up with the Throwback Thursdays. That’s going to be fun. That’s the reason why I try not to give the songs away because I want to give people the same feeling of being surprised and say ‘I remember this, this was the jam.’ Other than that, the debut album is something I’m really focusing in on, and trying to make it perfect summer time transitioning into fall feeling.