An Interview with the 2-Spirited, Native Canadian Front-Woman of She King: Shawnee

Unsigned Canadian rock band She King are not plagued by the struggles of most indie bands. They tour frequently, have successfully published an EP, are releasing an album in 2011 with a famed producer, and have a successful lead singer. Their front-woman is Shawnee Lynn Talbot, recently nominated for her vocal performance in this year’s Toronto Music Indie Awards as best female lead singer. Shawnee – a Native Canadian who identifies as “2 spirited,” a term indicating she possesses wisdom from both male and female sides of the gender spectrum – also broke the Top 100 on Canadian Idol. Here the rocker chats with CherryGRRL about her passion for music, what keeps her motivated, and the winning dynamic of a band.

CherryGRRL (CG): When did you discover singing was your passion?

Shawnee Lynn Talbot (SLT): Well, I used to take my dad’s guitar, sit in the basement, and write. Now, I could not play guitar and I had a raspy kid voice, but my mom liked it. I was discovered singing Shania Twain and began performing and touring as a Shania Twain impersonator. That’s where I found my love for the stage.

CG: What kind of challenges did you face when you decided you wanted to pursue music as your job?

SLT: Acceptance – only until I realized that I actually don’t need it. In eighth grade I told my teacher I was going to be a singer and she said, “that’s not in the career book.”

CG: What did you listen to growing up?

SLT: Melissa Etheridge.

CG: What kind of environment do you have to be in to write music?

SLT: Alone, buried in emotion, with my guitar, computer, and recorder.

CG: The climate for the music industry has dramatically changed over the last decade. What keeps you interested in this business?

SLT: The girls! [laughs] In all seriousness, the freedom of creating is never a dull moment. Music is what you make it, and that’s the brilliance of it all. I realize there may be a bit of a handbook written for, especially for, female artists in the music industry, but no one ever said you had to follow it. That’s what keeps things interesting.

CG: Do you think that sex or sexual orientation plays a role in the dynamic of a band?

SLT: Yeah, I’m working on my GTL (Jersey Shore mantra: Gym/Tan/Laundry) as we speak! Actually, no, not at all. At least it doesn’t with us. It plays more of a roll outside of the band. Sex sells, we all know that, but it should never be a driving force for someone’s career or you could end up a lonely old person. Sex sells but a comfortable confident person is sexy, too.

CG: Do you think a band should give away their music when they are starting out?

SLT: Well, that would all depend the on the band and their financial situation. Unfortunately in 2011, it takes money to make a quality-sounding track, but I think as a new band it’s in your best interest to allow people to check out your sound and make it as available as possible. Make money from it later if you’re lucky enough, and try to dedicate your efforts 100% to the music. (continued on next page)

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