6th September 2022
Interview: Amy Bell
SHAB is known for her addictive, ear-worm combination of urban tilting songs, pop ballads, and dance-inducing knockouts. She combines an eclectic mix of sonic effects and catchy dance-pop hooks to make energising music effortless and memorable. SHAB delivers a kaleidoscope of sound that goes hand-in-hand with her introspective and powerful lyrics partnered with her distinct yet unpredictable vocals, ultimately achieving a cultural ubiquity that few artists could hope to reach.
A star across three continents, SHAB first gained attention in the Western Hemisphere during late 2020 as a “breakout star of the global pandemic,” SHAB has registered three consecutive Number Two hits on the British commercial pop charts with her first three English language singles released during the 2020-21 COVID lockdown. Her February 2021 debut album, ‘Infinite Love’, has been met with immediate critical acclaim, with her unique electronic dance sound typified as “an energising Global Pop that is both effortless and memorable.”
Thanks so much for talking to ReVamp, when did music become something you wanted to pursue? Who inspired you?
That's a multifaceted question for me, simply due to the fact that music has always been so much part of my life. During my earliest years in revolutionary Iran, music of all types – but quite importantly, Western Pop music -- was a primary distraction from the oppressiveness of the social norms demanded by the mullahs. So from my youthful years, I associated music with both freedom and joy.
But I was also very much influenced by my brother, Shahab, has been a concert singer in America of Persian music for the expatriate community here in North America.I began singing along with him on a part-time basis-several years ago in our native Farsi: but it was his example that led me to believe that it was possible for me to have a career in music.
You became a break-out star during the pandemic, how did that make you feel, and how has your creativity changed since coming out of lockdown?
Frankly, for me as a Texan, not that much has changed! While the global pandemic was a disaster for mostly everyone concerned, Texas was one of those jurisdictions where both governmental intrusion and the general social climate was far less oppressive than in other parts of the United States, such as California and New York.
What was most difficult for me was that I was not able to interact with my fan base, either performing or making appearances, at the very same time while my English language work was making its debut.
Whimsically enough, however, I am now making my first European appearances over the coming weeks and together as the opening act for the iconic Anastasia – and the trek has been labeled as the “I’m Outta Lockdown” tour!
Do you think it was harder or easier to create music in the midst of a pandemic when not much was going on?
Wow, I will have to think about that question for a second. My immediate impulse is to answer your either/or question with a smart-assed YES!
But let me explain…
Making music during the pandemic was easier from the standpoints of having less life distractions as well as having the need to uplift both oneself and others. Moreover, just as so many people were more sequestered in their homes than typical, I had a lot more time at home in relative solitude where I had the ability to engage more freely in reflection and contemplation. Such an environment, removed from the daily hassles of our lives, allows for a greater focus as well as deeper introspection.
On the other hand, pop music is by its very nature a social creation and dynamic. Almost by definition, pop music is something that we make for the entertainment and enjoyment of others: and not having the ability to freely interact with all the members of my team, much less all of the people in my life whom I love, presented a barrier to creativity.
Accordingly, my answer to your question would be that it was both easier and harder during the pandemic to be creative as a songwriter.
You have a new single ‘Serenity’, out now, when and how did this single come about?
Serenity started off with some meditative thoughts as to the incredible stage of life then I am now living. It has only been in recent years that I have been able to find the serenity and completeness of life that I now experience.
Part of that transformation has been as a result as a ever-deepening relationship with God, who has given me all of the bounty in life that a person could truly want. I rely upon God for strength, tranquility and gratitude: and I consistently find that when I have emotionally strayed from that foundation, it is absolutely not the fault of my Maker.
It Is also as a result of feeling complete and whole as a woman and mother at this stage of my life. After so many years as an unattached gal, God sent me both a partner whom I adore with a unique passion and absolutely, completely has my back, as they say. And it was from this union that God gave me what I consider my greatest gifts: two little angels, a 5-year-old boy and a four-year-old girl, who have allowed me to have a family that is my world.
And then on top of everything else in my personal life -- or maybe because everything in my home life was so fabulous – I was able to launch my musical career and work with some of the most talented, considerate and thoughtful people that I have ever known in my life.
So that's what Serenity is all about: God, family, feeling as if you are adding value to our world.
What do you want people to feel and think about when they are listening?
When people are listening to Serenity, I would love nothing more than for my fans to contemplate all of the things in their own lives which allow for meaning and purpose -- as there is nothing better in life that the wholeness of spirit that flows from loving others and being loved in return.
What was your recording/writing process life for ‘Serenity’?
Actually, it was somewhat of my standard writing process with my fabulous collaborators, Damon Sharpe & Eric Sanicola. I will typically jot down some lyric concepts or even prose fragments catalysed from whatever is going on in my mind at any moment: and which then I forward to Damon, who begins to work the structure of a song together with Eric. Once they have resolved the foundation of the proposed tune, we will work together on melodies and phrasings until we think that we have something ready for production. And then Damon will go into the studio and conjure some of the most wonderful and surprising orchestrations towards completing the process.
What do you want to accomplish next?
That question I find a bit loaded, as everything that I do in my music career is absolutely a team process. Any success that I have enjoyed to date is the result of a lot of hard work and brilliant thinking by the people with whom I am blessed to work.
A bunch of these people will be going on tour with me starting in October, running through Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Scandinavia, the Benelux nations and ultimately Britain. And we have been working very, very hard as a team to bring a enjoyable and memorable show to these audiences.
Further, we will be releasing over the next coming months two singles which I think could have an opportunity to capture public imagination. The first, scheduled to be released at the end of September, is a dance number -- and actually, a remake -- with an insanely catchy groove called Sexual. And then a few weeks later, we are going to release a song irresistible beats that is somewhat unique: in which we feel has the potential to be a major hit. I won't say anything other than that the single features the legendary hip hop artist Fat Joe and will be titled as Voodoo.
Beyond that, during 2023 we will be releasing a number of additional singles with associated videos as well as my second album, which will be called Euphoric. And finally, I am hoping to make my first North American tour during the middle of the year: and I want our show to be epically entertaining.