I had never met musician Shayna King before, then before I knew it we had crossed paths three times in four days.
Not being a superstitious person be any stretch of the imagination, some would say that it was an omen, the crossing of paths or maybe just plain coincidence. The funny thing is I happened to bump into Shayna & her drummer Rosanne (Rosie) Burdett at this year’s 49th Vodafone Music Awards, if that’s not fate I don’t know what is.
“What are we doing here on the red carpet, what are we supposed to do?” muses King “I was kind of like “Oh yeah, let’s just go in now.” We kind of hung around a bit. Not too many people would’ve known who we were anyway, I guess if we were someone like Jamie McDell walking out things would’ve been different I’m sure”
“We’ve been up here for the NZ music awards which has been heaps of fun” she quips. “It’s been good spending a week in Auckland. We played a wee gig at Frieda Margolis (Grey Lynn) which went really well”
Born in Auckland, and having lived all New Zealand including Motueka, Geraldine and Timaru, King calls Christchurch her home of eight years. Her mum taught Maori and King at a young age grew up at the local Kura Kaupapa (bi-lingual school) immersed as a child in Te Reo one of the official languages of our country. She has flirted with adapting her songs in the language and hinted at a possible future project offering
“I started song writing from a really young age” relates King “A lot of the artists that inspired my song writing were NZ artists, song writers. People like Anika Moa or Jewel, I use to take a lot of inspiration from them when I was young, and I think when you’re writing songs on a guitar and you’re a girl sometimes you get put into that category of Country without even trying to be there. I mean I love bands like Shihad and American bands like the Chili’s or Incubus. I still love them, I listen to such an eclectic mix of music now”
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Her latest single is ‘Calling You’ a departure from her traditional Country heritage which saw the talented Alt singer song-writer nominated up against the sizzling hot Tami Nielson at this year’s NZ Country Music Awards. It’s a part of her life that has shaped her sound today.
“I’ve gone through that phase and I’m finding out who I want to be, what sound I want to represent. But it’s really interesting, I don’t want to talk bad about Country, I love Country music as well. I went to a lot of competitions in Timaru for example when I was younger, at high school. I feel like because I didn’t wear a cow girl hat or cow girl boots, I didn’t quite fit in and never really got noticed or recognised at that time”
She released her seminal release album ‘The Day Is Young’ in 2013, her latest single ‘Calling You’ was released the second half of this year and she’s also a 2014 Taite Music Prize Nominee. What challenges has found personally getting her music out to the masses, and also as a female artist trying to break through?
“I never really think about the fact that I’m a female artist” she relates “I guess when we did our gig up here in Auckland the other night, I thought “oh, we’re a girl band” I never really thought about that before, but we are when we play as a duo yeah…I have lots of friends, guys and girls in the music industry”
“There’s a lot of talk happening recently of some statistics that have just come out saying only 10% of Apra members are female, I think that’s quite interesting only 10% of song writers in New Zealand & Australia are actually female, it’s something to think about, I mean the biggest pop star in the world is female and the biggest pop star in NZ is female”
No stranger to social media, Shayna isn’t one to shy away from a photo opportunity whether it’s with a celebrity or live at a gig, it’s also one of the ways she has been able to help with the branding of her music & advance her music career. However, not one to be outdone her drummer Rosie is also busy online, commanding more likes than Shayna herself on Facebook, staggering considering she is the drummer of the band.
“Well to be honest my Facebook page gets regular updates almost every day” she laughs “Rosie’s page, the only time she updates it is with a picture of her cat so I don’t really think it’s a fair, fair fight. Her cat is her best friend but if you’ve got her on Snapchat which lots of people do, she’s a bit of a Snapchat fiend, you’re pretty much going to see a cat everyday”
The future looks bright for this Christchurch musician – a new (e.p.) recording looming on the horizon and upcoming 2015 Summer Tour, spells more adventures for this “dynamic duo”
“Yeah we did a full band show the other week in Christchurch and we played all new songs which I was really excited for, we’re also planning a tour around South Island for January, there’s still elements of Country in there and we’ll just see the response we get from the new songs”
By Wal Reid, NZ Entertainment Podcast
Photos by Darkroom Photography
Check out Shayna online:
A big thanks to the Cornerstore Bar for their hospitality and letting us shoot in their wonderful courtyard bar.