IAA: What is your music background?
ZSHATWA: I was born into a musically inclined family where music was a very prominent component to our lifestyle. My mother sings and also dances. She was my first and primary influence. I honestly had a love for music before I could speak complete sentences. I was always captivated by how I felt whenever I was singing, listening or dancing to music.
IAA: Where are you from?
ZSHATWA: I was born in a city in California called El Monte and raised in Los Angeles the majority of my life.
IAA: How long have you been doing music ?
ZSHATWA: I’ve been professionally pursuing music for about 5 years now.
IAA: Why do you want to record and release your own music?
ZSHATWA: I have so many influences musically, and I have such a burning passion to create. What greater gift than to share your gifts with others? I realize that my gift is a gift from God. The saying goes, “If you don’t use your talent you will lose that talent.” I SURELY DON’T WANT TO LOSE ANY OF MINE!
IAA: Who is your fan base directed towards?
ZSHATWA: I’d have to say my fan base would be directed towards anyone or anything with ears lol. No, but honestly, I understand statistically my demographic would be females from the age of 16-30. However when I create, I create music that people can enjoy. I don’t feel it necessary to cater to one group of people. I can relate to my younger audiences because I have a very fun light-hearted side to me. I have experience certain situations that allow me to relate to older women. It just depends on how I’m feeling on that particular record.
IAA: How would you describe your music to people?
ZSHATWA: I’d have to say that my music would be a comparison to my name. Often times when someone hears my name (Zshatwa) they associate it to Creole Lady Marmalade or some type of sexual experience with three participants. My music is very reminiscent to traditional R&B vocally because that’s where my roots are. My music ranges from r&b/hip-hop and pop. My music is familiar, but original.
IAA: Do you write your own songs?
ZSHATWA: Yes I do write my own songs. On my upcoming project self-titled Zshatwa I wrote seven of the eleven tracks. I also however work with other writers as well. I feel it is important to work with other artists in order to let creative juices flow. Shouts out Cornelio Austin, Donyvano, PenHedz, & Alexandra Rivero, all writers that are on the Zshatwa project.
IAA: What makes you different from other artists?
ZSHATWA: I can’t say what makes me different. You have to listen, watch, and pay close attention in order to see what makes me different. I simply have to show it through my work. If I am telling you what makes me different that means I have to pay attention to the next artist. If I’m paying attention to the next artist trying to figure out what makes me different, then I’m not focusing enough on me and my craft.
IAA: What are your past projects and achievements?
ZSHATWA: My first mixtape Diary Of A Skater Chick was released back in 2006, that was my first exposure to the scene as a solo young artist. It accumulated over 80,000 downloads to date, which I am proud of. I released my second project Fresh Campaign in 2009, which allowed me to collaborate with a lot of talented and respected artists, (MC Lyte, Dom Kennedy, Jay Rock, Audio Push). A couple of noted tracks I had as singles from that project were Fresh, California Boy, and Jump. That project took my awareness to another level.
IAA: What projects are you currently working on?
ZSHATWA: I’m the most excited about the release of my new body of work Zshatwa considering the fact that I’m in a different space as far as my personal and public growth are concerned. The fact that the project is 95% original music is something I’m also stoked about. It allows me to let my supporters see another side of me, that allows them to connect to me. I had an amazing time creating this project because the process was so organic. Eighty percent of the lyrics were free styled because I just felt the tracks that much. I have a series of videos I’ll be shooting to a couple of the tracks from “Zshatwa“. Monday-Friday of each week, I will be doing releases. I’ll be hosting these releases from my twitter page mainly, but they’ll be linked to my other sites as well.
IAA: Who are your musical influences?
ZSHATWA: I’m influenced by every creative living thing that resides on earth. If I had to narrow it down to top five it’d be my mother, Aaliyah, Lauryn Hill, Billie Holiday, Sade and all women with beautiful, unique, and calming voices. Respectable women with totally different personas who have shown me what elegance and class means. NO shade to any of my male influences, just understanding my womanhood more and more each day. Man’s world…..WOMAN’S UNIVERSE!
IAA: What image do you think your music conveys?
ZSHATWA: At this stage in my career I feel my music represents enjoying life and appreciating the beauty that surrounds you daily. My music represents accepting your sexuality in a respectable manner and last but not least holding on to your values. We are all in this world, but it doesn’t mean we have to be of the world in totality.