Q: Welcome back to another edition of 1500Radio's Artist Spotlight. Welcome Shon Ski, a beautiful, black and multitalented women. Tell the people, who is Shon Ski.
I'm Shon Ski from East Baltimore, Maryland, dummy.
A: I'm just an overall creative. I do so many creative things. My artistic endeavors have led me in so many different avenues, but music is my passion. It's like something that no matter how far away I get from it, I just can't stop doing it. It just always brings me back.
So I'm an artist, first and foremost. I'm also a mompreneur. I embody that 90s type of vibe and style so I play it for my children and it was just something that was always in my house.
Q: I love it, so you're a mom. How old are your kids?
A: I've got three. I have a 12 year old, a four year old and a two year old. So life is always busy.
Q: Yes, there are many, many layers to you. You're also a songwriter, a rapper-singer, entrepreneur, audio engineer, media personality, model...let's start with how you first got into radio and audio production and becoming a media personality.
A: My first introduction into it was a friend of mine, his name is Karlito Freeze, he's another artist in the Baltimore scene. He kind of brought me into the world of media. We both met making music, but he thought it would be a good avenue for us to explore because we had so much to learn about the game.
He was just so big on us being independent and he thought that it was the best way to get the information we needed and also network and be able to build relationships with people.
Not just other artists, but we had so many people come through. We interviewed entrepreneurs, comedians.. it was beautiful to be on the other side of the table and not just talking about myself, but being able to hear about the journey of other people.
After that, I said "I'm gonna' keep doing this and build my own thing". I just love and appreciate being able to highlight the art community, especially my city where I come from with so many dope and talented people here.
Q: Agreed, that's exactly why we do this. Who were some of your favorite people that you've worked with or interviewed on your show?
A: Going back to Strong Way, I would definitely have to say one of my favorite interviews was Mike Evenn. That was an amazing interview for me. It was something so mind blowing. It's so many I could name and to see them grow from me interviewing them to now, it's just a rewarding experience. I got the chance to sit in front of so many creatives and I'm just grateful for that.
Q: So then it turned into a podcast...
A: Yes I wanted to kind of open up the idea of us having a real conversation. Not just topics like, "hey, what are you doing" and "tell me about your music". I wanted them to get comfortable and talk to me about real life experiences that we all go through as independent artists or entrepreneurs. Things like the struggle to understanding financial literacy, understanding the spirituality and how we got to love ourselves. More than just the music.
Q: Before we dive into Shon Ski the rapper-singer-songwriter, you did a little more behind the scenes. You went to college for audio engineering. That's not really a, "girl thing" as some would say. Tell us about some of your struggles and triumphs with that journey.
A: Oh man, listen, I was always hands on with what I wanted to do musically. I felt like I knew what I was supposed to sound like and I tried to work with other engineers, but they weren't helping me. I had a lot to learn about my sound, so I'm like"alright, let me just figure this thing out".
I always recorded myself and my brothers anyway, but I wanted to get the lingo behind it...really understand what it meant.
While I was at Strong Way, I became inspired to go to Full Sail University, which is an extremely difficult school, but I learned so much and I applied it all. Anyone that went there can tell you, that school is tough, but I'm so grateful.. I learned so much.
Q: Fastforeword to 2018, you drop your first project. Tell us about your sound and some of your musical influences.
A: I'm just going to give you my main three. I don't want to hurt your head cause the list could go on (laughter).
My top three... I deeply resonate with... Tupac, Aaliyah, and Left Eye. I feel like I have a spiritual connection with their music.
It speaks to me in a way that is reminiscent of my childhood and it's the same stuff that I try to embody in my own music too.
My logo is me as a baby, cartoony. I always want to represent the inner child. I feel a lot of times people don't want to remember their inner child. But that's what keeps you youthful and keep you going, for me, that's where it all started.
Q: How did you discover you are what you call a "rapper-singer"? When did you discover that you could do both?
A: So actually I started singing first. Right after high school I tried to do like a group situation and we didn't really put out much music, but I still got the experience of being able to work with a bunch of women and really understanding my instrument, my voice.
A friend of mine named Marcus, he's also a singer, he started writing songs for us. He was the one who really pushed me into singing, like I never sang for nobody. I was always a shy, introverted type of person.
Now rapping. I feel like that if you're a singer, it's easy to rap.
It a weird thing to try to explain but it's just really like melodies. Once you understand the concept of melodies and how stuff is suppose to sound...the transition is easy. But people who know me well were like "woah, now you're rapping?", because they knew me all my life to sing.
Q: Let's get into your latest single, Double Water. What was the concept behind it and what can people expect?
A: Well, the song really just came from some chords. Bari, I met him in the middle of 2019. He invited me to come to his studio and when I came, he was playing these chords, which are the ones you hear in the intro. I knew I wanted to talk about stuff that wasn't everywhere on the radio. I wanted to really dig deeper into myself because I felt like I was making a lot of cocky records and you know talking smack but I guess I would really say the beat moved me to make a deeper song.
So that's why I call it 'Water'. It was easy. It came natural, everything just flew together so personally.
Q: A lot of artist and everyone honestly, were deeply impacted by the Coronavirus. What are some hardships that you endured putting your music out during the middle of the pandemic? How did you stay creative and motivated?
A: Well prior to the pandemic I was doing all of this freelance work, but I still had a job. I was working for the Arts Council of Baltimore City, doing festivals so I was able to stay connected to the Art community.
But once the pandemic hit, I pretty much became a part of the people who lost their jobs because of it. So now me being a freelancer and entrepreneur became my full time job and I had to figure it out. I've never done it before because I always had my job to back me up.
So that was extremely difficult. It was points when I put the album down completely just being depressed by my situation and not knowing what I'm going to do. But my drive and passion came from my support system. Bari, my family, Boogie, my kids, all of those people in my corner...is just what kept me doing this, because I couldn't have if I didn't have them. They're all so instrumental in this album, it's like my life.
Q: So can we expect the full album before the end of 2021?
A: It is going to drop before 2021 is over, you know, being an independent artist is difficult. I'm still kind of going through the process, like getting my distribution things. I'm just in the middle of negotiations right now.
Q: Is there anything you want to leave with the people. Why they should keep going and giving all their talents to the world like you do.
A: You have to understand that with anything in life, you might fall in and out of love with it, but love is unconditional. You might not like it for a second. But if you love it, it'll always come back. The universe will always slap you in the face with it. With that in mind, don't be hard on yourself, be kind to yourself, and understand that it's gonna be motions that come with it.
Whether you give up or you keep doing it, it's gonna be hard either way, right? If you keep going with faith, and recognize the support system that you have and just be humble and patient... God will bless you. Everything will fall into place.
Q: Amen to that. Tell everyone where they can follow you and how they can support you.
A: Check me out on Instagram. That's where I'm at most of the time to keep you updated on my life and everything with the music and the media.