Shelley Nicole Interview by Tom Paul

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    shelleyTo say Shelley Nicole brings fire with each and every performance is an understatement. Her band Shelley Nicole's Blakbushe rocks, funks and brings soul with such a high energy that their fans are sent home buzzing from that energy after shows.

    shelleyTo say Shelley Nicole brings fire with each and every performance is an understatement. Her band Shelley Nicole's Blakbushe rocks, funks and brings soul with such a high energy that their fans are sent home buzzing from that energy after shows.
    Shelley Nicole's Blakbushe will be playing this Saturday May 10th in a Labelle Tribute called The Queens Daughter's along with Tamar-Kali and Joi with special guests Stephanie McKay and Angela Johnson at The Manhattan Center located at 311 West 34th St off 8th Avenue.

    This show is gonna be a HOT show, so do yourself a favor and view the eflyer and ticket info below I have posted.
    You can check out Shelley Nicole's Blakbushe at these links or  

    TP: You have a really big show coming up with your band Shelley Nicole's blaKbüshe at The Manhattan Center called The Queens Daughters, can you tell us about this HOT show?

    SN: I am so excited about this show because it is honoring Labelle, a group that has been a huge influence on myself, Tamar-Kali and Joi who are also on the bill. 

    What makes this event so special is that all three of us are independent, black, female artists and when is the last time you saw that at the Manhattan Center? Um...Never!  It's really incredible. 

    TP: When is your single Black Girls due out? That song is off the hook and quite the crowd pleaser at shows.

    SN: The song will be out very soon. In fact we hope to have it at the show on Saturday, but I don't want to make any promises because we are still waiting to clear up a few things. So if not on May 10th then definitely by June. 
    TP: You have been involved in the Soulfolk Experience, can you tell me how this has inspired you as musician?

    SN: The Soulfolk Experience is a collective of musicians from New York and California who joined forces to play for/with each other.  Really it is a space where we can work things out as musicians and also be inspired.  Being a part of Soulfolk has inspired me to work even harder.  There is always something new to learn.  Being a part of that project has been a blessing. The folks in that crew are really incredible.  
    TP: Can you about the recent shows in the Los Angeles area?

    SN: The ladies of the Soulfolk Experience (Maritri, Jeni Fujita, Annekei, Ganessa and I) all went to LA to represent for everyone in the group. I have to give kudos to Maritri for being the catalyst for all of us going. It was really her gig at Genghis Cohen that she turned over to the rest of the ladies.  Then I got us a show at the Watts Coffee House as part of a monthly event called Groovin' on a Sunday Afternoon. It was an event benefiting and organization called P.E.R.F.O.R.M., which teaches music to young people in Watts. That was a really incredible event.  We had a blast and now have a space to play in the community.  I'm so glad we did that show because for me that's what it's all about. Bringing our music and message to the people.  

    TP: You seem to pick and choose the shows that have been coming your way, which is nice to see because you seem to get much high profile gigs. Is that by choice or do the gigs just seem to flow to you like that?

    SN: Lately the gigs have been flowing like that, but I made a decision that this year I was going to be a little more choosy about where I play. It's just a matter playing in places and spaces that are up to the level of work that I put in. What I mean is that artists put so much energy into what we do.  I'm talking spiritual, physical and financial. So there comes a point when you have to be choosy about where you play because no matter if there are 10 or 10,000 people in the audience I'm giving 110%. But at some point you have to draw a line about where you are going to play for those 10 or 10,000 people. I know how much work I do. I'm worth more. So now I am asking for it.  
    TP: Your band grooves hard live when it comes to sitting down to write new material, do you all come up with ideas and bring them to rehearsals and make them gel? Or do you jam and come up with ideas on the spot?

    SN: I usually come up with ideas on my bass and then take them to my guitar player.  We will flesh them out and then take them to the band.  Sadly I don't have enough time to just be with them and jam.  Maybe one day.
    TP: You give a great performance live, what artists have brought the performer out in you live by watching them?

    SN: There are artists that I love live, but I believe that my live performance energy comes from being an actress.  So when I hit the stage I belive it's only right to bring the drama. Other artists that I love who have brought the drama (in clothing and show) have been Parliament-Funkadelic, Labelle, Earth, Wind & Fire, Chaka Khan, Rick James, and the list could go on.  Really I just feel like if you are going to be on stage then you need to dress up.  It's a show.  It should be an experience. Something that people leave there talking about. Yes it's about the music and I want people to remember that, but I also want people to remember my shoes or my top or my makeup.  It's all part of the magic.  
    TP: Do you prefer to play bass while you sing? Do you feel more in tune with the groove?

    SN: I used to never play bass and sing.  Now I feel a bit more comfortable. In fact now on "Black Girls" I feel funny not holding the bass and singing it. But for the most part I like to be free to run around the stage without it. That's why I have another bassist in the band.  
    TP: Name some of your musical influences? You seem quite diverse in your musical tastes.

    SN: This question always bothers me because there are really too many people to name.  So I'll just give a few.  Stevie Nicks, Sarah Vaughn, Janis Joplin, Gladys Knight, my musical friends, Bernard Edwards, Marcus Miller, A Tribe Called Quest, John Mayer, David Ryan Harris, and of course Labelle.  There are many, many, more...
    TP: Talk about your band blaKbüshe and who currently resides on which instruments?

    SN: For the upcoming show we have:
    Me-Lead vox/bass
    Jerome Jordan-Guitar
    Ganessa James-Bass
    Shawn Banks-Percussion
    Clayton Craddock-Drums
    Achziam Maha-Backing Vox
    Kiki Hawkins-Backing Vox

    There are a few more special guests that I'm going to keep under my hat so that you will come to the show and find out.  

    TP: Are you involved in any other projects currently that you'd like to talk about?

    SN: No.  Just blaKbüshe and the Soulfolk Experience
    TP: Your music and lyrics seem to have a positive, healing quality that brings out a truth and substance. What creates that influence in your writing?

    SN: I grew up in a very political household. So I don't know how not to write about the things that are affecting the Black community in specific and the world in general. 

    I am also a healer. I am a reiki and shiatsu practitioner as well as doing crystal energy work. So I feel that there has to be some sort of healing element in my music.  It all really goes hand in hand. 

    TP: I love your first CD titled "She Who Bleeds", When can we expect a new CD out of Shelley Nicole's blaKbüshe?

    SN: I'm not really focusing on putting out another CD at this time. I decided to put out singles and when we have enough singles then I will put out an album. That is unless of course I get a windfall of cash, then I will summon everyone to the studio for a week and just cut that joint.  Doing this thing independently is great, but it takes a little longer to put out projects unless you have an investor. Anyone out there? If you like what you hear and have some disposable income, give me a holla!  :-D
    TP: I love the name of your band, when did you realize that the name of the band could be no other name?

    SN: blaKbüshe comes from the Bushmill's black label of whiskey called Black Bush.  I just changed the spelling.  When I came up with the name I really liked it so I took it to the band members and they liked it as well. It was really that simple. I had been pushing a few things around in my head, but that one really stuck.  
    TP: With you being involved in the so many different projects, what are we to expect next from Shelley Nicole in the future?

    SN: Great music!

    Saturday May 10th
    The Manhattan Center & Ubiquita NYC Proudly Present:
    The Queen's Daughters Tribute to Labelle @
    The Grand Ballroom at the Manhattan Center
    311 w. 34th street (b/w 8th & 9th Ave)
    New York, NY

    Featuring:Shelley Nicole's blaKbüshe, Tamar-Kali & Joi
    Along with The Ladies of Ubiquita: DJs Selly, Reborn & ShErOck

    VIP Pre-reception @ 6:45pm (Includes Open Bar & more surprises...)
    General Doors @ 7:45pm
    Show begins at 8:30p Sharp! (I'm up first so don't be late)
    General Admission $20 w/Discount Code: QD777
    VIP Tickets $30 w/Discount Code:VQD777
    (Please use the codes because they will be $40 and $50 respectively. They will also be that price at the door. So don't delay, get your tix today!)

    For tickets: under The Queen's Daughters)

    Or Call 212-279-7740 x222 and ask for Lena (this is if you want to avoid the ticketmaster surcharge).

    For more Information:
    The Manhattan Center Online

    By Tom Paul