easiest thing to do, when listening to Shontelle, is to compare her to
another island songstress. The quick comparison to Rihanna is nothing
new to Shontelle, but is definitely something she is about to shed.
doesn’t bother us,” says Shontelle of the comparison to her good friend.
“We both expect it. It’s natural to compare us.”
off the heels of her fresh single, “T-Shirt," she ushers in the new
album aptly entitled, Shontelligence.
and raised in St. James, Barbados, Shontelle Layne never envisioned a
career on the world stage.
a young girl I had an obsession for The Little Mermaid and I used
to hide in the closet and sing the songs,” explains Shontelle of her
first musical stage. “My mom busted me one day, and told me I should
start singing for people.”
After enrolling in classes at the University of West Indies, Shontelle
was bitten by the bug of musical aspiration. The ambition had festered
long before her college days, though, while listening to the likes of
Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and a local artist Alison
was the latter singer that broke Shontelle wide open onto the music
scene, because the young singer penned Hinds’ regional hit single, “Roll
the success of her popular song for Hinds, Shontelle went on to perform
with more local artists. She had scored an island hit called “Colours”
which Shontelle recorded as a duet with another local artist named
Natahlee. Hinds’ version of Shontelle’s song then crossed over beyond
island recognition, getting play all over the Caribbean and in US cities
like New York and Miami.
Eventually the tune caught the ear of SRC records, home to R&B crooner,
Akon. Shontelle was signed to the label, which is run by the same execs
that originally discovered her friend Rhianna.
Putting her college ambitions on hold, Shontelle entered the studio to
craft her debut album. It was in the studio where the album title was
engineer actually came up with the title,” explains Shontelle. “We were
all just being silly, and he just blurted out ‘Shontelligence’. It’s
actually very fitting, being a college girl making an album.”
of fresh island rhythms and sounds, Shontelligence is Shontelle’s
calling card to the world.
want to be known for everything I do,” says Shontelle. “I want to be
that triple threat, as a vocalist, songwriter and producer.”
She’s well on her way to this goal with her single, “T-Shirt,” which has
skyrocketed to the upper echelons of the singles charts. Its infectious
groove is undeniable, making it a definite fan favorite.
Shontelle has also weighed in on the hotly contested political
landscape, with the song “Battle Cry.” The song, according to Shontelle,
served as the voice of the grassroots movement for President-Elect
wanted to become involved in the political process,” says Shontelle, who
is not a citizen of the United States and subsequently could not vote.
Other notable tracks on her debut are the ballad, “Cold Cold Summer” and
the Stargate (Ne-yo, Jennifer Hudson) produced “Superwoman.”
am passionate about all of my music, and I just want whoever is
listening to be able to hear that in my voice,” says Shontelle. “I want
people to get to know me through my music.”
Music isn’t the Shontelle’s only ambition. As her singing takes her to
new heights, she hopes to return the favor and help other people realize
their dream as artists as well.
hope to start a foundation for children,” says Shontelle. “It will
promote health, education and music, and open doors for someone to one
day do what I do.”
also hopes to develop Barbados into a musical power supply.
“There’s so much talent on Barbados, and I want to be able to develop
them and introduce them to the world.”
the use of the new media, such as MySpace, YouTube and other viral
media, Shontelle plans to be around for awhile.
“Marketing is no longer limited to just TV or radio, and it has made it
a little easier to get the music to everyone,” explains Shontelle. “It
has also made the artist more vulnerable, but it’s part of the
Vulnerable or not, Shontelle has the voice and the looks to take her
anywhere she wants, and she’s begun by showing us her Shontelligence!