In Studio Q and A with Nashville Recording Artist SHANTEL
December 10, 2018
July 22, 2019
Senior Writer: Kamilah McLeod
Detroit's very own Shantel welcomes you on her Country musical journey
1. How does it feel to have released your Second Single, “Real”?
It’s a major accomplishment, and I am so proud of what it’s become. I can
remember going into the writing session for “REAL”. I had an idea of the
story I wanted to tell, but I really wanted a song that would allow me to
step way out of my comfort zone. I wanted to challenge myself, push
myself and really pour my heart into the lyrics. I wanted a song that could
reflect just how special love can be. I am thankful for my co-writers, the
studio musicians, and my Producer, Kent Wells, for believing in me, and for
helping me take a small vision and bring it fully to life. We all put so much
heart into it, and I am so excited for its future.
2. How does it feel to be able to work with Producer Kent Wells, who has
worked with Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire and Kenny Rogers?
It is definitely so humbling. This question always makes me take a step back
and reflect on how faithful God really is. When I moved to Nashville, I didn’t
know anyone. I had no family, no friends, no job. Just my Husband, and our
faith. Two weeks later I met Kent, a week after that he offered me a
record-producing deal that I quickly signed. Fast forward almost two years
later and we have a fully produced album (LP), but the album is just a
bonus. Kent really welcomed us in like family, that’s what meant the most.
He took us in under his wing and really pushed me as an artist. He’s always
encouraged me, believed in me, motivated me, and challenged me to give
it all that I have, all the time. I am forever grateful that God put Kent in our
path and made him such an important part of this journey. I wouldn’t have
the music I have without him. He’s an incredible Producer, but an even
3. How does it feel to be mentioned in the same sentence of two vocal
greats like Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire?
It’s just crazy that I’m even being asked that question, haha. In all
seriousness, I couldn’t believe it, it was definitely an overwhelming feeling.
There were so many different emotions going through me. Those women
paved the way for female country artists like myself. They’re the artists we
grew up on, the artists we all aspire to be. When you hear “Women In
Country” you envision Dolly and Reba, Loretta, and Shania, Trisha and
Miranda, Carrie and Wynonna and so many more. All strong women with
powerful messages each influencing the world by being exactly who they
were created to be. That’s exactly what I hope to be as an artist.
4. How does Dan your husband feel knowing he was the inspiration behind
your song “Real”?
I let him answer this question. “I’m so lucky to have a wife who isn’t afraid
to express how she feels. She is the most thoughtful person I know who
continues to let her faith lead. I am so proud of her, and so proud to be her
5. Did you ever imagine being a frequent performer at the world-renowned
Tootsies Orchid Lounge in Nashville?
Never. But where would I be without that purple palace? Better yet, where
would I be without the people of Tootsies who gave me my start in
Nashville? Tootsies Orchid Lounge quickly became a big part of my journey,
and the people inside quickly became like family. During my very first visit
to Nashville I met a man by the name of Scott Collier, who was singing
Africa by Toto on the stage of Honky Tonk Central. I asked to sing with him,
and to my surprise he let me. After singing “Picture” by Kid Rock and Sheryl
Crow, he offered me an opportunity to sing full time for Tootsies Orchid
Lounge pending a more formal audition in front of John Taylor. After my
audition, Scott and Uncle John quickly had a full schedule written out for
me. It all happened so fast, and to be honest, I didn’t know what I was
getting myself into. However, I believe that life is all about taking chances,
and I am so glad I took this one. Since then, my career really started to
blossom. I met some incredible people in the industry. Tootsies Orchid
Lounge will forever be part of my life and my story, and the ones inside will
always be considered family.
6. Which famous singer would you like to perform a song with and why?
Dolly Parton. My dream is to sing “I will always love you” with her. Dolly
was one of the first female country music artists that made an impact on
my life. She’s just got that pure, angelic, way of captivating you through her
music. She is a class act. A rarity in my opinion, and someone who
continues puts her faith over everything, all the time.
7. Did you feel any pressure coming from a small town in Clarkston,
Michigan, and moving to Nashville with a big dream, to pursue Country
In the beginning I felt so much pressure, but the amount of love and
support I get on a daily basis from my wonderful home town is what
keeps me motivated. Though I receive so much positive and uplifting
support, I’ve had to deal with a lot of naysayers. But it’s okay, because
for me, it’s fuel. I don’t get angry with them, or the comments I read, or
get frustrated with what some will even say to me in person because
this isn’t their path, so how could they understand it? I will just continue
to do what I love, continue to create the music that is in my heart, all
while keeping my faith and trusting in The Lord, because that’s who
holds my future.
8. Was there anything you did differently from your debut single, “Break
My Heart” and your second single, “Real”?
There weren’t many differences between the two singles, other than the
messages being completely opposite. REAL will be released on all music
platforms very soon. Fans can follow me on Instagram at
shantelofficialmusic for more details on my music and show dates.
9. Do you plan to do a complete National and International Tour?
God-willing, that is our goal.
10. Are you working on a complete album for your fans?
Yes, we are, and we are almost finished. It took two years to put my first
album together, and I have learned so much throughout the process.
From songwriting to production, I am thankful to have been part of
every step of the way. I am very proud of it, and I can only pray that
people will love it just as much as we do.