Interview with Barbadian singer-songwriter Shontelle


This interview by Ryan Gilkes appeared in Barbados Today. Our thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.

Barbados and the other islands of the Caribbean are rich with tremendous talent that is just waiting to be discovered and it is not this writer that is saying this.

It is our very own Shontelle, and she should know. She has had her fair spell, writing for some of the big names in the industry – the Kelly Clarkesons and the Cee Lo Greens.

“What I have found from my experience in the industry is that they tend to think that you have a lot more value if you have something to deliver other than your pretty face, hot body and just singing.
– Shontelle

“The Caribbean has so much more to offer than we have been able to show, there is talent not just in the level of artiste, but we have musicians . . . .Miles Robertson [has been] playing for Adele. There is, of course, Rihanna. We’re not just singing but we’re writing songs for other artistes as well.

“I could go down the list of people that have made it from Alison to Rupee, Edwin who have taken our music beyond Barbados, even Red Plastic Bag. Ragga Ragga was huge. You couldn’t go to an NBA game and not hear that song . . . It seems that right now like reggae and island music is so popular. “I think it is time right now. Island people running things, from Nicki Minaj and Sean Kingston and Rihanna all the way right back to Beres Hammond,” she told Bajan Vibes while relaxing at home recently for the Digicel Reggae Festival.

Twenty-eight-year old Shontelle’s story should be well known by now. She released her debut album Shontelligence in November 2008 and dropped her second album, No Gravity two years later in September 2010. Her singles T-Shirt, and Impossible, also reached the Billboard charts.

But with her success, is she getting accustomed to all the attention?

“It depends on where I am. In Barbados people are really cool, you don’t really get too much issues. I love seeing everybody but other places it can get a little crazy at times. My craziest experience is like people [are] jumping on you, people throwing underwear on stage at me or like crazy old men stalking you when you come out of the radio station.

“All kinds of weird stuff, but it is fun. It is just good to know that people love you that much and that something that you are doing means something to them and connects with them and it’s fun. I enjoy it to the max,” she quipped with a smile, though quick to point out that it was not all fun and ease.

“In the music and entertainment business, there are lots of sleepless nights and it is tiresome. It takes a lot of time just to get a bit of success but the whole thing in it for me is being able to meet people and just share a message and just connect with people. That is where I get my joy from . . . It doesn’t matter how many nights of touring or how many nights I’m in the studio not getting any sleep, I would rather do this than anything but it is tough.”

On the production and song writing side of things for this hometown girl, she considers her talents a blessing, Billboard successes and all.

“It is a beautiful thing to be able to create what everyone hears and what influences their lives so I really think there is so much value in the production and the writers. Honestly without the writers and the producers the singers really have nothing to give the people. I love it and I am going to do it for as long as I can.”

For the original report go to

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