Written by: Jocelyn Van Saun | Photo(s) by: Courtesy of Shanin Blake
Artist Spotlight: Shanin Blake
Name: Shanin Blake
Hometown: Bluffdale, UT
Genre: Bedroom/Dream Pop
Fun Fact: “Nobody ever believes that I’m 28 because I look really young. I don’t think anyone knows my age! And I don’t think people realize I’ve been doing music for over ten years, since I was 16. My fans are always shocked that, one, I have a kid and, two, I’m not 20 years old. I want to keep that energy going!”
Who are your biggest musical inspirations?
Verzache, Surfaces, Jack Johnson, Billie Eilish
When did you start playing music?
“My mom was a singer-songwriter and had a guitar that I tried to play when I was like 14, but I hated it at first. Then I kind of fell in love with Jack Johnson and wanted to be able to do what he does. I really admired the way it’s just him and his guitar that create this whole epic song. I started learning how to play all of his songs on YouTube and that’s how I learned to play guitar. I just loved music and started to sing and write poems, so I put it all together. I was going through a lot when I was 16 just being a dramatic teenager and realized I could write my feelings. It was the only thing that made me feel good and ended up being a source of therapy, like an outlet. I had a lot of support in the community, like at Mojos in Ogden I had a little cult following there that knew all of my songs … I feel like that’s when I found my voice and my style. That’s where the magic all started.”
March is Women’s History Month. Can you tell us about your experience as a woman in the music industry?
“Obviously I’ve had experiences like the, ‘She’s really good for a girl’-type stuff, or have been paid less than a guy playing the same gig, or someone hire me for a show and try to not pay me, but ask me on a date instead. That obviously gets to you, but that’s maybe been 2% of it. For the most part I’ve been very supported throughout my career, by men and women. But women are just really blowing up right now. Like Billie Eilish really set the tone for a lot of women, and artists like me, just kind of giving girls permission to be whatever they want to be and showing them that you can do all of this yourself, you can sing out of your room. That was really huge for me because I started doing it from home right around the time she blew up and it was kind of that extra push I needed to realize you don’t really need a label and a fancy studio. My songs that have done the best are the ones I recorded in my room.”
How do you hope to empower women through your music?
“Through my music and on social media I really try to promote women being comfortable with themselves and in their own bodies. I don’t know, I just feel like it’s a great time to be a woman! All of these social media platforms really helped me feel comfortable with my body and feel not afraid to show that, while being a singer and a mom and all these other things that I am. I’ve realized that women in the music industry, or just women in general, have so many opportunities from the internet. Being 100% authentically myself has just become my lifestyle and I want other women to feel empowered too. It’s hard, but it’s so, so powerful and I want to remind people through my music, the pictures I post, or anything I put out, just how free you can be.”
What advice would you give to other women just starting out in the music industry?
“You don’t have to believe these constructs that society builds for us. We can, and really should, shape our realities. You’re your own biggest obstacle. When you start talking down to yourself or comparing yourself to other women, other musicians, anyone, that’s when you really stifle your growth as an artist and just as a human being. When I can recognize myself doing that and can turn it off, good things happen.”
What previous albums and releases do you currently have out?
“nature song” – 2022
lioness – 2021
“senses” – 2021
“lyk dis” – 2021
“snake” – 2021
“goodbye” – 2021
“santa baby” – 2020
“Rainy Daze” – 2020
“good daze” – 2019
“Talk Is Cheap” – 2019
Soul Child – 2018
What current projects and new releases are in the works?
“I’m releasing a new single, ‘rollercoaster,’ on March 21st. My plan is to drop a single every month this year if I can and album at the end of the year, Naked Sunshine.”
What’s been your favorite past show?
“I played at Utah Pride Festival … There was something so magical about connecting with the crowd there. That lives in my heart forever.”
Where can we see you play next?
“I’m opening for HIRIE on March 24th at The Cabin in Park City!”
Where is a dream venue you’d love to play at one day?
“There’s so many, but Red Rocks Amphitheatre. I’d be pretty stoked to play there.”
What do you want fans to feel when they listen to your music?
“I want my music to be something that allows people to feel like they can escape from whatever’s going on in life, but also something they can hold onto and tap back into when they need it. I want it to heal.”