Nigerian-born British singer-songwriter Shaé Universe talks musical influences, most meaningful song and her new sultry R&B bop ‘Levels’

Photo Credit: @KarisBeau

Shaé Universe is a Nigerian-born British singer-songwriter who moved to the UK at the age of 4. Having grown up surrounded by the sounds of soul and gospel music, Shaé now cites the likes of Erykah Badu, Jazmine Sullivan and Brandy as key influences that helped shape her musical journey. The American Theatre graduate has since made waves in the UK music scene, with notable collaborations including Etta Bond, Kojo Funds, Ms Banks and Kojey Radical. She’s also had online recognition from the likes of Chance The Rapper, Stormzy and Tory Lanez.

What inspired you to begin a career in music?

I started singing in the church choir from a very young age and that initially sparked my love for music and melodies.

What differs you and your sound from other upcoming artists in the music industry?

Well, I’m me [Laughs].

Your latest release ‘Levels’ is out now. Can you please describe the creative process and explain the meaning behind the single and video?

The creative process for ‘Levels’ was super easy because the emotions were fresh at the time. I’d learned of some catty behaviour amongst industry individuals and it pissed me off. So I channelled that energy & ended up writing ‘Levels’. Sometimes the best way to address haters is just to level up.

Everyone experiences good days and bad days, as a musician, when you have a bad day, what motivates you to keep moving and look ahead to the future?

When I have bad days I practice gratitude. It sounds weird, and it is hard sometimes, but I’ve learned that no matter how bad I feel about any situation in life there’s always things to be grateful for. So I try to keep my focus on that, and it helps me.

In your own opinion, what is the most meaningful song you wrote? What makes you say that one?

The most meaningful song I’ve written is called ‘Rage’. It’s not out yet and I’m not sure when I want to release it but when I do it will be explosive. The song was written in a moment of paralyzing rage regarding the injustices that continue to take place against black people until today. When I release this song it will be alongside a short film.

Throughout your musical career, have you experienced any ‘wow’ moments? Those moments that you stop to reflect and can’t believe you are where you are?

Definitely! I remember being on stage at Twickenham Stadium (82,000 capacity), opening for Eminem and just feeling like I wasn’t even on earth. The energy of the crowd was indescribable. Exhilarating beyond belief. That was definitely a wow moment for me.

What personal advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue this career?

I would say be sure of who you are and what you want to achieve. A personal sense of direction is crucial in this career because if you don’t know where you want to go, industry professionals will decide that for you and ultimately, most are interested in their own advancement first.

What does the foreseeable future hold for you as an artist?

More singles and fire visuals, my own headline show, tours, lots of travelling, money and progression 🙂

Did you learn any new skills during lockdown?

I learnt how to protect my peace.

Anything else you would like to add?

I just want to say thank you to everyone that has ever supported me up until this point. Things are about to turn all the way up and I’m beyond grateful for the patience and belief thus far.

‘Levels’ is available now via all major platforms.

Connect with Shaé Universe 

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

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