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An In-Depth Look at Zshatwa *Exclusive*

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I’m always on the lookout for the next big thing; hot music, new faces and innovative style. Thanks to MySpace and YouTube, I found all of that in one person. I was randomly checking out videos on YouTube and I came across a song that I had never heard before. The beat was infectious, the lyrics were sick and MC Lyte was featured. I was intrigued and had to learn more, so I copied the MySpace link that was attached to the video and began my research on the gorgeous, brown-skinned lady with the angelic voice, fly kicks and skateboarding skills. Her name is Zshatwa and she’s been singing and dancing her entire life. She was born and raised in Los Angeles and always had dreams of being a performer. I was able to catch up with Zshatwa for a few minutes in between her hectic schedule of dance rehearsals and video shoots. After a few instances of playing phone tag with her very supportive manager, Gerard Harmon, I was able to speak with the lady of the hour. I didn’t know what to expect from her; would she be polite, timid, arrogant? I didn’t have to wonder for long, suddenly she was on the phone and we were laughing and talking like old friends. I knew that she had little time to spare so I jumped right into my list of questions. I just had to ask her about her name, where did it come from and what does it mean? She laughed a little bit and I could tell that she was used to that question. She let me know that she was named by her mom and that so far, there’s no specific meaning. Everyone likens her name to the LaBelle song, Lady Marmalade, with that infamous French hook. But she made it clear that it had nothing to do with that and that figuring out the meaning is still a work in progress. Her love for singing and dancing was cultivated by growing up in a musically inclined family. Her mother and grandmother were both singers and she grew up in home filled with the soulful voices of Anita Baker, Phyllis Hyman and Billie Holliday. Her mother supported her love of music and enrolled her in Bancroft Middle School, a performing arts school. Upon graduation from there, she was accepted into Alexander Hamilton Music Academy, a prestigious musical high school in Southern California. It was at Hamilton that she received her “big break” into the industry. It all started with a talent show performance that gained attention from a music industry exec and the rest is history.

Zshatwa released her first mixtape, “Diary of a Skater Chick” and a buzz was created about her music.  People started listening and she developed a fan base in L.A.  She has also developed an interactive aspect that involved her fans in the release of her latest mixtape.  Fans were given the opportunity to vote on two potential titles, “Fresh Campaign” and “The Return of Fresh.”  Interacting with fans on social networking sites has created even more interest in her upcoming projects. The fans chose the title “Fresh Campaign” and the lead single is an upbeat tune “California Boy.”

California Boy

  She describes her sound as contemporary and innovative and her musical inspirations include Brandy, Monica, Aaliyah and Destiny’s Child.  Diving headfirst into the music industry has not been easy but she is definitely making her mark.  Zshatwa described the transition as a “mind thing,” she said, “I realized it’s another step, it’s a mental transition.  I try to be different and being in the industry has allowed me to be a lot more free.  It’s a good good feeling.”  

When asked about venturing into other facets of entertainment like acting, modeling and fashion she displayed a sincere interest.

   “Ummm yea…I would love to do so much.  I’m definitely interested in acting; I just haven’t been able to get into it yet.”  She stated that she has a natural passion for acting and would love to get a great coach and is open to all of the possibilities. As far as modeling, she stated that it’s not her primary passion but she would be open to the opportunity.  If there was a show that she was invited to take part in she would definitely strut her stuff.  I commented on her fashion sense and her unique style and she gave a genuine “thank you” with her signature laugh.  I let her know that I could totally see her developing a fashion line showcasing her showstopping style.   She hit me with another tinkling laugh and a gracious “thanks.”   If she did have a line, I would be first in line to cop some gear!

I was having so much fun chatting that I almost forgot that I was conducting an interview.  I had one last question to ask before letting the songstress get back to work.  I asked for any advice that she would give aspiring artists that might see her achievements as an inspiration.  She humbly stated that she wasn’t going to act like she had been in the game for years and she considers herself a new artist that still has some learning and growing to do.  She did drop some words of wisdom to all of you aspiring artists;  have a clear understanding of what you want to do, surround yourself with a positive group of people, be true to yourself, don’t do it as a trend because it won’t last, trends fade but if you stay true to your craft then you will succeed. This girl is clearly going to be a star. She has the voice, the look and most importantly she has the intelligence necessary to be a success.   When she blows up, I promise that I won’t say “I told ya so!”  

See More of Zshatwa:

www.facebook.com/zshatwa

www.myspace.com/zshatwa

www.youtube.com/zshatwa

www.twitter.com/zshatwa

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5 Responses

  1. Valencia Monroe says:

    Wow! That is a truely amazing story, When met Zshatwa was at my school in 2007…at the age 12 ….and here she is 2009 and I’m 15 now. It’s totally wonderful to see someone you admire to make this far from HMA to Teaching dance class and now Singing! She really inspired me! Trust me if I had my music producing thing going; I would have producer her in a hot second! Thanks Zshatwa !

  2. Honestly, one of the best written interviews. She’s going to be huge, just wait and see! I’ve known Z for years and one thing that has NEVER changed, is her passion for success. The girls been grindin’ since I met her. All her hard work is gonna pay off. I remember when there were talks about me managing her…haha, lol, we were in like the 11th grade! I’m glad you(Z) entertained the idea but didn’t take it seriously. Keep up the hardwork Chetoi! Love you

  3. Brittany Hayes says:

    Z is something amazing. Being at school and watching her perfom, learning from her and watching her in the zone; you have to know that she is serious. Im blessed to have met her and she inspires me. I’ve seen her progress over some time and all i can say is that she deserves it all. i want to see her rise to the top. [[love you lotts!]]

  4. Wendy Rose says:

    I’ve had the pleasure of meeting this young lady, and she’s THE TRUTH!!! Her style and vibe reminds me of the sweet infectious nature that Aaliyah brought to the game. I can’t wait to see Zshatwa all over the place!

  5. BRO.DVOOA says:

    Good ish… get it popping Z

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