Shay Rowbottom is a singer-songwriter from Milwaukee, WI, with a knack for poetry and rapping. Shay was brought up in an artistic environment and since childhood has been writing poems and creating music. Her newest project, an album, “Feminist Rap,” will be available for download everywhere June 19th, 2015. Inspired by a failed relationship, “Feminist Rap,” explores the experience of new-found independence and self-love. Shay currently studies Fine Art and Rock and Roll at The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She has performed her music at various venues in town including The Rave/Eagles Club and The Hot Water Wherehouse. She has also performed at The House of Blues in Chicago and has made it onto the popular television show, “American Idol.” With her funky-feminine style and sassy persona, it’s clear to see that Shay’s role in the entertainment world is just getting started. She plans on continuing to develop her art and music after college.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What City and State are you from?
SHAY ROWBOTTOM: I am currently living and was born and raised in Milwaukee, WI.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What is your music background?
SHAY ROWBOTTOM: I grew up in a musical household, my siblings and I all had to take piano/violin lessons. I sang in choirs, and began writing songs at a very young age. As I got into my teen years I started to experiment with recording. My songwriting evolved and I began rapping.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: Why do you want to record and release your own music?
SHAY ROWBOTTOM: Simple. I have something to say. So many people go through life and never discover the potential of using their own voice. I’m not one of these people. I have a thought, it leads to a vision, that vision leads to a melody and lyrics, and in the end that single thought has been turned into a musical piece for people to enjoy. I want people to relate to my music, I try to be as open and honest as possible when writing my lyrics. For me, I never saw the point of sacrificing vision because I was afraid what people would think of me. I’m crazy, I’ll admit it. We all are. I’m human, here’s my experience, let’s talk about it.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What are your songs about?
SHAY ROWBOTTOM: I write about my own experiences. Boys, Sex, Love, Frustrations, whatever I’m feeling at the time. I don’t limit myself to making “happy” or “sad” music, I make all of it! If I’m feeling confident and sexy, I’m going to write a song about being confident and sexy. If I’m feeling heartbreak and pain, I’m going to write a song about my heartbreak and pain. And then there’s everything in-between. I once wrote an entire song directed towards my estranged friend who was on drugs, hoping she would listen to it and ultimately change. I emailed it to her years ago, I still haven’t heard back.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: Who is your fan base directed towards?
SHAY ROWBOTTOM: I hate that question. People in this business think that’s some sort of marketing tactic… to “narrowcast” your audience. Maybe it is, but I find it limiting and I try to keep my art as open-ended as possible. So my fan base is anyone and everyone who wants to listen. Who can relate, and who can appreciate my message as it pertains to their own lives. You don’t have to be of a certain “social” category to like my music. For example, I wrote a club song on my latest album called, “Everybody Know Me,” about being a hot girl in the bar scene who always gets her way. I thought for sure only young people and party girls would like it. I can’t get my 54 year old mother to stop singing it…
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: Who are your musical influences?
SHAY ROWBOTTOM: Trina, I love Trina! I love all female rappers, but Trina is my favorite. I listen to her when I work out. My second main rap influence is “Slug” from the hip-hop Duo “Atmosphere” based out of Minneapolis. When I was a senior in high school I would paint in the art room all day with his voice in my headphones, it made me want to start rapping. I owe a lot of my bravery and creativity to him, he’s just so outside the box. If you’re familiar with BOTH of these artists (which few people are) you’ll understand how I’m a cross between them. Others I love and listen to are Lil Kim, Mary J Blige, Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, Jazmine Sullivan, K. Michelle, Nicki Minaj, and Keyshia Cole. However, I did grow up on the Spice Girls and Britney Spears, so I think I owe some of my pop influence to them. Girl Power!
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: How would you describe your music to people?
SHAY ROWBOTTOM: Real, I rap and I sing about real sh*t. Do I have the occasional shit-talking track about virtually nothing… yeah, of course. But the vast majority of my songs are conscious songs with a message and a story. I’ve always sucked at confrontation and I’ve always sucked at telling stories… But for some reason if I try to get my point across using music and poetry, it works every time. I guess I’m a weirdo that way.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What makes you stand out from other artists?
SHAY ROWBOTTOM: I don’t have a real specific genre. I have songs that could be considered RnB, Pop, Hip/Hop, Soul, and even Rock. When I show people my songs back to back I often get a reaction like, “wait…is this you too?” Yeah, it’s all me. Every background vocal, every raunchy rap verse, every sensual note, every catchy pop hook… I’m a whole lot of woman. I don’t like limiting my self to one sound, I’m always pushing myself out of my comfort zones and developing all areas of my vocals.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What are some upcoming projects you are working on?
SHAY ROWBOTTOM: June 19th my album “Feminist Rap” comes out. It’s a collection of 8 tracks where I talk about my frustrations in the music industry, my frustrations with men and sex, learning to take the good with the bad, self-love and freedom of the mind. I had just gotten out of a serious relationship when I started writing this album. Four months later, I had the entire thing written and recorded. I can honestly say this body of work is the most liberating art project I’ve ever done.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What are your career goals? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
SHAY ROWBOTTOM: My goal is growth. I already have the message. I just need to be heard. I want to inspire people to think outside the box, to see the abstractions of the world and more importantly to QUESTION EVERYTHING. I can see myself performing full-time in 10 years. Not just musically, but I want to do more public speaking and spoken word performances. I will never stop challenging myself artistically and pushing those around me. Through art I have found a pathway to spiritual growth. I believe everyone has the ability to experience this, they just don’t know where to start. Start with me. Listen to my album, and then create something of your own.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: How can your fans access your music and contact you?
SHAY ROWBOTTOM: My album “Feminist Rap” is available for pre-order on Amazon, and starting June 19th it will be available on Spotify, iTunes, Google play, etc. You can also keep up with my music on my soundcloud page at www.soundcloud.com/shay4beats and my Reverb page at www.reverbnation.com/shay4beats . For details on my upcoming shows and appearances you can like me on facebook at www.facebook.com/shay4beats . And for personal contact, email Shay4beats@gmail.com