Shena Verrett – Interview

Singer-songwriter and Savannah personality Shena Verrett is interviewed about her passion for writing, her love of rock music, her meaningful professional collaborations, and much more.

What first got you into music?

As a kid I’d always been involved in school choir, musicals performances. But I was always a writer. I like to write songs, plays, poems, stories… But fast forward I began to write songs and actually ‘hear’ the song in my head, I didn’t play an instrument at the time but heard it so fully in my head I began to learn guitar to see if what I heard in my head was real.

Who are some of your influences?

I find it interesting to think about my ‘influences’ in music. Many people, including myself, find it hard to put my music into a genre. I’ve always been a rocker, I grew up loving the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Soundgarden, Fishbone but also Journey, Earth Wind and Fire, Funkadelic, PJ Harvey, Concrete Blonde; music that makes me feel. And, the voices of Anita Baker, Randy Crawford, Gladys Knight, Angela Wimbush, Astrud Gilberto, Sade… inspire the songwriter in me.

“Halo (my kind exists)” was a song that made me realize ‘songs write me,’ it just poured out of me

Describe your creative process …

I must be inspired to write. It could be anything that sparks the fire to write a song. I often start with lyrics and the words come with a melody. The melody develops as the story of the song unfolds. I’m usually in the tub or shower.

Any personal favorite songs you’ve written?

I have a couple songs that are faves for different reasons! I love “Girl Vs. Doubt’ which was written and performed by Jazz Songstress Waberi Jordan, my tour partner. I love it because the lyrics are words she spoke during a conversation we had. Waberi has performed the song during her Porch Serenade series, on the radio and in Europe. I have an album called “Ooze” and there are songs on that CD that were popular but not the songs I anticipated. “Halo (my kind exists) was a song that made me realize ‘songs write me’ it just poured out of me. “Tether’ was on a compilation CD with some music heavy-hitters including Tamar-Kali and Faith (NYC), I was just honored to be amongst them. “Goes to Show’ because it touches people and I feel that every time I perform it. “Get Along” is a song I wrote for a previous project that garnered some attention from a major label recording artist plus it’s just fun to perform.

Talk a bit about your life in New York and L.A. …

Just a little bit because I’m currently writing the book. I went to school in Los Angeles and my experience there was extraordinary because it was an amazing place with fascinating personalities, it’s actually the first time I began to flesh out my music. I met other musicians, vocalists and artists. There was Marla’s Memory Lane (owned by television Icon Marla Gibbs) and she’d showcase music, Fifth Street Dicks and the World Stage had the sic jazz artists ! New York is where I became an artist. It was where I met people like me, black people doing the music we brought to town ROCK! I had a punk band, an all-girl band, and my band Tenderhead. I grew so much just being in the proximity of the musicians there. I had the pleasure of hosting a performance by Kelsey Warren here in Savannah at Blends: a Coffee Boutique a bit ago, a musician friend of mine from New York whom I’ve been a fan of for a long time and killed it! I’m hoping to get my guys The Veldt to hit here soon.

Talk a bit about Live Like Locals …

It has been so great to be able to work with Live Like Locals TV. It’s a part of Speyre Network which does online broadcasting and marketing. We’ve been able to tap into the Savannah community and really highlight the events, charities, community leaders, artists that are making this city such a force. My bestie Renee LaSalle does the Top 5 Events Picks every week along with stunning community spotlights. I’ve enjoyed doing segments including “Who’s Who & What’s What” where I get to bring a more national scope of entertainment and community along with Savannah’s movers and shakers. They also support my music events including my weekly Songful Saturdays @ Tacos + Tequila, Family First Fridays @ LaScala Ristorante and other events at Tandem Coffee & Spirits, Noble Fare, and Blends: A Coffee Boutique

Any Savannah artists you’d love to collaborate with?

When the stars align Xulu Jones and I will get some tunes together. Josephine Johnson and I love the vibe when we sing together while hanging out so we might get to do something together. Kim Steiner who is an incomparable pianist…I’m hoping to work with him soon.

I’m excited to see the talent emerging in Savannah

What are some of your favorite local venues?

The ones that host my events : )

Your thoughts on the state of the Savannah music scene …

I’m thrilled that venues and business owners are appreciating the value of a live music component. I’m excited to see the talent emerging in Savannah.

What’s next for you?

I have some great events in 2022 from the venues I’m currently at plus two others I will also be launching my music program “Music Muses” that will bring local music to local kids. I am finishing the aforementioned book; and looking forward to a 2022 tour with Waberi Jordan (#twoontour #bmotc). Announcements mid November but of course, you’ll be the first to know.

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