Birthplace: Honolulu, Hawaii
Blood type: O
Holiday song sample
Shella doing some rapping
Having to mature faster than most should by the tragic death of both her parents, Shella has poured herself into a unique mix of rapping and singing in both English and Japanese.
On October 9th, 2008 Shella was kind enough to give an interview to Andrew from J-Pop World.
You have a new album called Blasian Music. Tell us about the name and what it means.
Blasian is a word that means Black and Asian, two different things combined together. For me as a rapper and singer I have an alter ego. I have a hard up front in your face persona when I rap and a softer more emotional and heartfelt side when I sing. So that's what makes up "the blasian and "Blasian Music" is my brand.
The EP includes the rap single What I Like. What's the story behind the song?
I came to the south (Texas) and wrote a song about the things that attracted me. The cars with candy paint, the systems in the trunk and the grills. I collaborated with Flip, wrote the song in the car at a video shoot and recorded it that night. It was a fun experience. That day was soo hot in Texas I think I almost caught a heat stroke! Lol.
Blasian Music also includes the single Come n Holla which raps a bit about your Japanese heritage. How would you describe the song's message?
I wanted to write a song with an equal balance between English and Japanese so that a person who speaks only one of the languages could follow the concept still. It's about me being respected anywhere I'm at so everybody wants to Come n Holla at me because I'm making moves.
How would you describe your musical style? How has it changed overtime?
My musical style is definitely original because there is NO 1 in my market that is doing what I do. When I rap, there is no one that people say I sound like. But over time I can see the melodic element has developed more. I've been singing more and even when I rap I do it melodically more...
You were born and raised in Honolulu with an African-American father and Japanese mother and you speak fluent Japanese. How do you think this diverse background has affected your musical career?
Having these two backgrounds have made me a diverse person with the ability to bring two cultures together in harmony.
Despite the tragedies in your family life you found the courage to keep going to further your music career. You released your first album/EP, Blasian Music presented by DJ Princess Cut. Tell us about the music and the experience of recording it.
Half the songs were recorded in Japan, a couple in Hawaii and the Lil Flip Collab was recorded in Texas. I moved around a lot so none of it was really planned but it was fun and I came out with a great project. Getting together with DJ Princess Cut was good because artists need DJ's and to have one that shares the same vision as me is a great blessing!
Do you see a big difference in how someone with both African-American and Japanese ancestry is perceived in Japan versus the US?
Since Japan likes to follow American styles and trends, they look at me as the answer to their fashion dreams. In America they say I'm 'exotic' and leave a trail of foreign culture everywhere I go.
What music groups most influenced you growing up? Who are some of your favorites now?
Growing up, I listened to mostly females from TLC, Salt n Pepa, Lady of Rage, Queen Latifah to Mary J. Blige, Faith Evans, and MC Lyte. I was also influenced by Tupac, Wu Tang, AZ and E40. Now I don't really have a favorite.
Who are some of your favorite Japanese groups?
I like Ai, Misia, M Flo, Zeebra and Dabo.
Can you tell us about some of your most memorable performances?
Opening for Lauryn Hill in Hawaii was crazy. There were 20,000 people that came out to see the show on the island--the 20,000 people had the traffic backed up all the way from the ocean to the mountains!
What concerts have you seen that had the biggest affect on you?
When I was like 12 or 13, seeing Bow Wow doing those 'Scream' tours with B2K and other teen groups, was really inspiring to see because they were my age and I was just starting to write songs. So it made me feel like I could make it if they could.
Let's learn a little more about you. What are some of your favorite Japanese or Hawaiian foods that most Westerners would be unfamiliar with?
When I'm in Japan, I really like to go to a nice Yakitori place. It's basically 'designer shish kabobs'! A nice place would have all different kinds of combinations on a stick, like Kobe beef, chicken or pork with veggies and a great presentation. If you go to Hawaii, you have to eat some chicken long rice! It's almost like a pasta but its actual rice in a string-like form with chicken--so good!
Tell us a little about your romantic life. What is Shella's version of a perfect date?
My perfect date would be a Gentleman. Not a guy trying to be tough and treat me like decoration for his friends. He would be into me--doesn't matter where we go but something spontaneous, unusual and surprising is always fun!
What types of things do you do to relax?
Go to the beach... Go to the mountains. Different places inspire me certain ways. When I relax, I try to be in an atmosphere that inspires me for whatever my next challenge will be.
Do you have any new projects in the works?
Life in the Fab Lane is my newest project with DJ Princess Cut and Baby Phat clothing. The concept is from Kimmora Lee's reality TV show, "Life in the Fab Lane," and it's a Fabolous mix between all my music, old and new. Be sure to look for this one!
What are your personal and professional aspirations for the future?
I'm going to put Hawaii on the hip-hop map and bring the American and Asian cultures closer together!
Do you have a final message to your fans?
If you don't have a copy of Blasian Music, make sure u get one. It's available on iTunes, search Blasian Music, Shella will be the only one that comes back! Also available on my MySpace page (buy it straight from me!) and my website! Send me any comments and feedback. I will write back! Thanks to everyone who supports me and my music!!
For more info checkout Shella's official site and MySpace page. Leave your comments about this interview and read what others had to say at the following link: Interview Comments