With the upcoming political race for the White House heating up and flooding our social media feeds, how about taking a break to listen to Artist B Shels? Tune into Indie-Spoonful radio and check out B Shels featured track "What You Need." This tune is the perfect antidote for all the political contention out there: it's melodic and catchy, well-produced, with a fun vibe. As CEO of the company Anthem Culture, B Shels has taken his music, and his global media lifestyle company to an international level with a mission to positively influence the connections between people of all cultures.
Indie Spoonful talks to B Shels about how he developed musically and personally through global exposure and awareness, about his CD CultureHeads: The Album, his influences, the songwriting/producing process and his future goals.
As a globally influenced Artist, how would you define your genre? My initial work was Rap/Hip Hop in which I produced a majority of my music. On this project, collaborating with the production duo 2Freshmen, we worked with several R&B tracks, allowing for a lot more fluidity of the lyrics and melodic delivery. Having a background in R & B myself, I can definitely hear the R & B influence in your music. How did you get started as a writer? I began my career as a producer and I gained writing experience through developing hooks to accompany beats I would send out to various artists. Wanting to take my career to the next level, in having a consistent flow of records being released, I began to search for an artist to really "produce" as opposed to the typical "beat maker" role; not being able to find the perfect situation that worked well for both parties, I decided I'd just begin completing the songs myself which became a quick process since I’d already been constructing the song as the beat was still being made and I had a mental idea of where I wanted to take it. “What You Need” is definitely a strong single off the album. Can you tell us the inspiration behind the song? "What You Need" is a very natural song in terms of content and overall representation of my personality. Even as far as the process of creating the song it was a very natural approach of talking about what is relevant in my life and my lifestyle/the perception that other people have of it. In general, being in any kind of role where you start to garner attention, you become exposed to more and more money, girls, partying, traveling, etc. which is why you hear these same topics in songs throughout the industry, but flowing with the vibe of the beat allowed for a more playful approach to it all and, by humoring my current reality, shows an enjoyment of all I've been working to accomplish in the first place.
It's always cool when you can sit back and enjoy what you've accomplished with a humble attitude towards it. It looks like you've traveled the globe. How has your exposure to other cultures influenced you as an artist?
Through my company Anthem Culture, I am fortunate enough to be able to consistently travel to various cities/countries, being exposed to a wide variety of lifestyles and ways of thinking from people of all ages, races, and religion. Continuing to broaden my scope of the world influences my music to not just represent situations from my own eyes but being able to take a step back and consider situations from a different perspective which could result in a much different story depending on who is viewing it.
Also the exposure to music from around the world, both old and new, gives ideas of how to really push the creative boundary and not just stick to the status quo of a defined genre but to experiment with various melodies, vocal techniques, rhythms, etc. Speaking of exposure, has the current political presidential environment in the U.S. influence or changed your music in anyway?
Believe it or not, I literally never watch the news so everything I know about the campaigns from both parties is what I've seen thru social media or word of mouth, which is biased in itself to the person sharing it. Being the case, it hasn't directly influenced me in terms of content, but I feel like that's part of the appeal to my music. With so many issues afloat in society, my music sort of provides temporary relief. I think we can all use some relief from the constant barrage of negative media and music is a great remedy. When you write your music, how does that process work for you? Do you start with an idea, with the lyrics, with the track? Most songs I make, I usually know on the first listen of the beat whether or not I'll write to it. Having a music background playing various instruments throughout grade school and learning the fundamentals of music, I see my voice as just another instrument to the final composition. Through my entire writing process I usually hum out a melody and rhythm and then fit lyrics into that pattern.
As far as an idea or concept for the song, the writing process is so fast; a song is usually done in one sitting, to maintain my same thoughts/feelings at the time. Having had so many experiences even up to this point in my life, a lot of music is based around a specific situation that happened or pulled from various experiences related to the same scenario. That's a benefit to me as a songwriter, pulling from personal experiences and as mentioned earlier, not only writing about them from my own perspective but also envisioning myself in 3rd person and how it would appear from the outside. What can we look forward to in the future? As of recent, my music has revealed numerous opportunities to me in terms of being able to travel to new cities, reconnect with friends who I've met in various places, and even meeting extended family. It's been a direct correlation in my growth as a person and the growth of my music and it's the case both ways.
Now even more than just releasing music as-is, I plan to utilize it even more with various projects relating to film, art, fashion, etc., to accompany those forms of creativity and reaching new audiences of people who may only be tuned in to those mediums.
For more information about B Shels and to access music, for purchase or download, please visit his website.