*TV One’s longest-running and award-winning series “Unsung,” now in its 11th season, aired its latest episode featuring Shanice last Sunday, August 6.
The Grammy-nominated singer exploded on the worldwide stage in the early ’90s with her hit single “I Love Your Smile.” The track landed in the Top 10 in 22 different countries.
Known for her five-octave range, Shanice found success on both the Pop and R&B charts with songs like “Silent Prayer”, “When I Close My Eyes” and “Saving Forever For You,” from the popular “Beverly Hills 90210” soundtrack.
In this candid episode of “Unsung,” Shanice opens up about her life as a child star, her personal and professional struggles, and the moment when she and her family lost it all. The episode also touches on how the industry attempted to make rivals out of Shanice and Janet Jackson.
“I wanna say something about Janet,” Shanice tells EUR/Electronic Urban Report. “Janet and I are still good friends. We’ve been friends since I was 11-years-old. Whenever she gets a new phone number she’ll text me like, “Here girl, here’s my new number.” So I just want to set that straight. We are very close. Janet and I are super cool.”
Check out the rest of our Q&A with Ms. Shanice below.
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I became surprisingly emotional while watching this episode, as your personal journey is quite resonating.
Shanice: It was emotional for me as well. It’s crazy ‘cause we all cried. My husband cried. My uncle cried. We all watched it together and it was real emotional. They did a really-really good job. I’m really happy with it. There were things that I learned, as far as my image. I was watching it and I was like, all they had to do was tell me, “Hey, we’re not happy with your image. Here’s a budget for some clothes.” I’m watching it and I heard one of the guys say, “Oh, it was the image.” And I’m like, that’s an easy fix. We could’ve easily fixed that. But it was actually great for me to hear ‘cause there were things that I learned just watching it. And it was cool to see my kids. Like, my husband got emotional ‘cause we showed when I gave birth and then seeing my kids at the end and they’re big now. My daughter’s in high school and my son is in middle school. When I lost my house and bankruptcy… reliving all that was a lot but I’m really happy I did it.
During the darkest moments, which many of us have experienced, sometimes we can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. When it was darkest for you, did you ever feel so hopeless that you were convinced that there’s no way out of this mess?
Shanice: I felt like, “Okay, we’re never-never going to get through this.” But my husband would always uplift me. It seemed like we were never down at the same time. So when I felt down about it, he lifted me up and when he felt down, I had to lift him up. We helped each other get through that and we prayed a lot. I was on my knees every day praying and I believe that’s why I got through. All the praying I did and Flex and I just helping each other mentally, just uplifting each other and just speaking positive. I had a vision board and I started speaking life into our situation and I think that helped.
What was the moment when you felt like, “I FINALLY MADE IT!” — as an artist?
Shanice: I think when I was 14 and I first heard myself on the radio. Do you remember that scene, what’s that movie with Robert Townsend?…. “The Five Heartbeats.” Remember their song came on the radio and the whole family ran into that room and they started screaming and hollering? That was me. So when I first heard myself on the radio, I felt like, “Wow. I made it. Like, I’m on the radio.” That was a big big deal for me. And even to this day, “I Love Your Smile” still gets played and I hear it on the radio and still have that same feeling inside. It’s almost like starting over again. It’s still exciting for me.
When you reflect on your career, are there any accomplishments that are just as fulfilling as releasing your debut album?
Shanice: My Grammy nomination. That was always a dream of mine. I’ve always wanted to be nominated and I was nominated for “I Love Your Smile.” So that was a highlight for me. And outside of my career, having my children, my family — that’s more fulfilling than anything to me. And that’s something that’s mine that no one can take away. I feel like my career, in a way — for a moment — I feel like it was kinda taken away from me. And having a family is one thing that’s mine. My kids bring me so much joy. Giving birth to my children was definitely one of the greatest things I could’ve done.
Can you elaborate on what you mean by having your career taken away?
Shanice: I’ve always tried to stay current and so when the music started changing I changed with the music ‘cause I still stay true to who I am but I always said I never want to sound like, dated, or anything like that. So I always try to stay fresh and I enjoy a lot of the new stuff that’s out right now. So that was never an issue. The issue was when I got pregnant. I started working on my album and when they found out I was pregnant, I got dropped. I was on a major label and I feel like that was taken away from me because I was pregnant. Because of the timing of it. I’m five months pregnant. I started working on my music. I was excited and I said, ‘By the time I finish the album, the baby will be born and I can still keep it moving.’ I didn’t just want to have kids and not sing anymore. I wanted to have my kids and get back out there. I was going to be in the gym and get my body in shape. I had a whole plan in my head and then when that happened it was devastating.
When you reflect on the height of your fame, what’s your fondest memory from that time? Is there one that stands out that you like to revisit often?
Shanice: I have so many moments. But I got to sing on Michael Jackson’s record “Keep the Faith,” and that was definitely a great moment for me because when I was 8-years-old my dream was to meet Michael Jackson. So later on, when that actually happened, that was super big for me. I was so excited. And then also, when Aretha Franklin turned 50 she flew me to her house with my band, my dancers, and we did a live concert in her living room on her 50th birthday. She wanted me to perform for her. I did a whole concert for Aretha Franklin for her 50th birthday and I still think about that to this day. We were literally dancing on her carpet. It was just Aretha and some of her family and friends. I think about that moment and I’m like, “Wow.”
When fans talk about your music, what is the one song that they say truly gets ’em going?
Shanice: People have different Songs. I have a song called “Yesterday,” that I co-wrote with Jamey Jaz and Truth Hurts and people tell me that that’s their song. And most people, especially in other countries, (it’s) “I Love Your Smile.” I remember the first time I met Jennifer Hudson, she was like, “Oh my God, ‘When I Close My Eyes’ is my favorite song.” And then “Saving Forever for You,” that’s a big wedding song.
Lastly, folks can’t talk about good R&B music without mentioning your contributions. So which popular artists are you a fan of?
Shanice: I love Jill Scott. I love Alicia Keys. My favorite right now is Bruno Mars. I think he’s killing right now. If I could do a duet with anybody, it would be Bruno Mars.
You hear that Bruno? Holla at ya girl.
The Virtual United Negro College Fund Tour Heads to NY, DC & NJ on Fri & Sat-Nov. 20 & 21 (EUR EXCLUSIVE!)
*African American students interested in going to college can attend the United Negro College Fund’s (UNCF) Fall 2020 virtual Empower Me Tour. Set for this Friday and Saturday (November 20 & 21, 2020), New York, District of Columbia, and New Jersey will be repped. (This year’s tour kicked off earlier this month in Wisconsin and Illinois). To register, go here.
The Empower Me Tour is an extension of the goals of the UNCF. Founded in 1944, the UNCF, a non-profit, has raised more than $5 billion and helped more than 500,000 students attend 37 private historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
The EUR caught up with Stacey Lee, the tour’s director for four years, who discussed the importance of the event.
“The UNCF is the nation’s largest provider of education support to minority students,” said Lee. “The Empowerment Tour has been executed for the past 12 years and last year along we offered over $12 million dollars in scholarships.”
Lee continued, “I think the great thing is that during these times, even with COVID-19, is that a number of corporations (Wells Fargo/P&/FedEx/Disney/Goldman Sachs) and donors have really been providing opportunity and financial access to our schools and students.”
The tour is packed with information and resources so that students and parents have the right tools to make informed decisions.
“It’s a free event that provides educational support, scholarships, interviews with colleges, empowerment, and information on how to get to and through college. We also provide this information for parents as well. We have a parent section that focuses on financial aid and the things you need to get your students to college.”
Lee continued, “Sometimes we have students that don’t realize that they can attend college. They can receive scholarships. Some of them don’t even know what an HBCU is. So, it’s inspirational for me to see these students receive this information and the excitement that’s around this tour.”
In addition to college information, panel sessions on issues affecting the community will also take place. Legendary rapper Bun B will be part of a special My Black Is Beautiful panel. The panel will have discussions with girls and boys and the MC will lead the male portion.
“It’s about empowerment,” Bun B told the EUR. “It’s vital for us to lift each other up and amplify each other’s voices. We just talk about now what that role is in this COVID world. And with everything that we are seeing with young Black men on television, we want to keep them motivated and centered. We want to make sure that they are not discouraged in this moment.”
Ever since Kamala Harris threw her hat into the presidential race and elected vice president of the United States, a spotlight has shined on the fact that she’s an HBCU grad (Howard University) and member of the African American sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha. These facts are not lost on the UNCF.
“Kamala has really boosted people’s awareness about HBCUs and (African American sororities) and the type of people that come out of HBCUs. HBCUS have also provided so many people from science, mathematics, and engineering programs (STEM).”
Bun B added, “We have more than enough examples to show you how beneficial an education from an HBCU can be. So, there is no reason to not be a part of an HBCU because the world is just as available to you as it is for anyone else attending any other type of university.”
New Music Buzz: Jazzy Rita Shelby’s ‘Goodbye 2020’
*SB Music presents “Goodbye 2020” a new single for the times we are in.
“Goodbye 2020” is performed by Jazzy Rita Shelby and written by Miss Shelby (ASCAP) and Eddie Lawrence Miller (BMI).
It’s the perfect anthem to end a year that has impacted the globe.
EURweb’s Jazzy Rita is also a prolific lyricist who has teamed up with Eddie Miller for “Goodbye 2020” because it was timely and convenient for the birth of a song such as this.
Eddie Miller is a coveted keyboardist & vocalist who performs regularly with Brian Culbertson and he’s the Rhodes Festival musical director. Jazzy Rita rose to notoriety as host & performer at The Starlight Jazz Serenade, an annual benefit concert in North Hollywood with an A list of stars. As a teen Miss Shelby was inspired to write songs by the legendary David Porter.
This year has been a year like no other. “Goodbye 2020” is an ode to the world for the year that we have seen and the hope that lies ahead. Radio Programmers click here for adds.
“Goodbye 2020” is released on the SB Music label and was recorded at Wishing Wells Studio in Canoga Park, CA. Willie Daniels and Mildred Black perform background vocals along with Jazzy Rita. The video is produced & directed by Jazzy Rita (LaRita Shelby), filmed & edited by Reggie Simon of Simon Vision Media, with wardrobe styling by Jazzy Rita and Poet Roni Girl’s Army Couture. “Goodbye 2020” is available on most digital platforms. Click here to listen on Spotify.
Celebrate Halloween with ‘Spell’ Starring Omari Hardwick, Loretta Devine and John Beasley / WATCH
*Today/TONIGHT is Halloween and what could be a more perfect way to celebrate than with the release of SPELL? Enjoy the clips below to get you in the spooky spirit!
Omari Hardwick (“Power,” Sorry to Bother You), Loretta Devine (“Black-ish,” Crash) and John Beasley (The Sum of All Fears, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks) star in the terrifying thriller SPELL, coming to Premium Video-On-Demand and Digital today October 30 from Paramount Home Entertainment.
While flying to his father’s funeral in rural Appalachia, an intense storm causes Marquis (Omari Hardwick) to lose control of the plane carrying him and his family. He awakens wounded, alone and trapped in Ms. Eloise’s (Loretta Devine) attic, who claims she can nurse him back to health with the Boogity, a Hoodoo figure she has made from his blood and skin. Unable to call for help, Marquis desperately tries to outwit and break free from her dark magic and save his family from a sinister ritual before the rise of the blood moon.
DIRECTED BY | Mark Tonderai
SCREENPLAY BY | Kurt Wimmer
STARRING | Omari Hardwick, Loretta Devine, John Beasley
AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL PLATFORMS | Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, DirecTV, VUDU, Xfinity, FandangoNOW and more.
Rating | R – violence, disturbing/bloody images, and language
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