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Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Every so often, you come across a person that is so beautiful in spirit that it makes you smile from the inside out….someone whose aura and disposition is so unbelievably warm that it changes the energy in the entire atmosphere around you. This past week, I had the pleasure of interviewing such a person. With that said, I am beyond excited to introduce the Alius Magazine audience to the beautiful and talented songstress and songwriter, Shay Lewis.

When I sat down to interview Shay last week, I had to admit I was nervous. In doing my research on her, I had already listened to many of her incredible covers on YouTube, including a beautifully belted out version of Jazmine Sullivan’s hit, “Holding You Down (Goin In Circles)” which boasts an incredible 10,237 views. I had also listened to a few of the originals she has written and performed, and I just knew that with the immense talent and diverse musical presence Shay possessed, she would be some sort of new age diva. I am pleased and relieved to say that I was completely wrong.

At 9:00 p.m. on the dot, when Shay answered the phone for our interview, she was so bubbly and full of life. Her voice rose as she greeted me, welcoming me into her world. I could hear her smiling through the phone, maybe just as nervous as I was and also just as anxious to get the interview started. We broke the ice with a lengthy greeting, and although it was our first time talking, Shay and I spent the first five minutes of the conversation chatting like old friends. She laughed at my jokes, and I at hers, and when I remembered the purpose of my phone call, I was almost disappointed. Nevertheless, I opened up my notepad and prepared to expose the real Shay Lewis to the world. I began with my routine questions.

Check out the interview after the jump

So Ms. Lewis, what is your full name, and how old are you?

My full name is Sharday Gwendolyn Lewis, and I am 20 years old.

Whew!!! You’re so young!!! What part of the D are you from?

(Shay pauses to think, seemingly to collect her past residences.)

We moved around a lot. We lived in Oak Park. I actually went to Oak Park High. We also stayed on Joy Road and Evergreen.

(We laugh, exchanging stories about those particular areas before moving on.)

Can you describe your family life?

I have three brothers. I’m the baby girl. My mom is a teacher, and my dad is a pastor so I was raised in a Christian household. They actually divorced when I was five.

How did you get your start in the music business?

(Shay sighs, gathering her thoughts, and I am now mentally preparing for the meat of our interview.)

Well, I’ve been singing and dancing since I was 5 years old. My mom used to sing and was also a part of a production company. A lot of times, she wouldn’t have a babysitter so she would take my brothers and me to her performances. We would be right in the first row.

So it’s in your roots! Piggy-backing off that, how would you describe yourself and your music?

(Shay exhales again, and I can almost see the smile spreading across her face on the other end.)

I would describe myself and my music as…emotional. I’M SUCH A CAKE! I write about my experiences. That’s what makes writing so easy. Every time, there is a new boy. I have to write.

Interesting…who do you look up to musically? Who are some of your role models in the industry?

As far as performance, Beyonce! Style? Whitney Houston. I don’t know an artist out here who doesn’t owe something to Whitney. I am a big fan of Lauryn Hill, and I really admire Keri Hilson, too.

I’m a big fan of all four of those ladies as well, especially Beyonce. She is a great performer. I’ve heard that you dance, too. Have you every studied professionally?

Never professionally, but all my friends are dancers so it’s like I HAVE TO DANCE. They’re in different dance groups or studying to be dancers so they’re always asking me to practice with them or showing me a new routine.

So that makes you a DOUBLE THREAT, to say the least!! When you perform, do you always have dancers then?

Not at all. There are times where I will perform with dancers if they’re available, but I feel like you have to be able to put on a show by yourself and get the same response from the crowd that you would if you had a whole team of dancers behind you.

FIERCE!!! What are some things that you do to practice for your performances or to make sure that you stay ahead of the game?

I practice everyday. My vocal coach recently moved so I am always listening to my recorder. I am always checking my YouTube videos for any criticism listeners might have. Like I said before, my friends keep me on top of my game as far as dance goes.

I think your talent is amazing, and I know you’ve already developed quite a following. Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

AT THE GRAMMYS!!! (Shay couldn’t control her excitement at the mere thought of this idea.) If not for singing, then definitely for songwriting.

I can’t wait to see you succeed on a national scale, but in the meantime, I know that you recently released a new song that has had great reviews here in the city. Can you tell me a little bit about your single, “Now Hiring?”

Of course, so like you said, the single is called “Now Hiring.” The inspiration comes from being in a situation where a guy stops making time for me but yet still thinks that he’ll be able to come back, and I’ll be waiting! I thought that that could be compared to a job. I kept hearing all these different beats, but I just couldn’t find one that I felt fit the nature of the song. I finally found a beat that captured the feel of the song. I got with my producer, D. Slate, and the song has been doing really good. (Dustin “D. Slate” Slater is a Detroit born and bred producer who has worked with a variety of artists including hometown musical hero, Big Sean. D. Slate is signed with Live The Music Group and is also BMI-licensed.)

I’ve heard that it can be hard to reach success musically in Detroit. What is your opinion of the Detroit music scene? Can you describe it in one word?

If I had to describe the Detroit music scene in one word, it would be…..interesting. It’s not really positive or negative. A lot of people have a buzz, but it’s not always inspiring. I think Detroit artists need to be more concentrated on being influential. I listen to artists like John Brown because he is so positive. (Detroit’s own, John Brown is a 23-year-old singer who also has roots in the church and has already worked with artists such as Trey Songz, Youngbloodz, Wyclef Jean, and T-Pain.)

Finally, what would be your advice to those younger than you looking to enter into the music business?

STAY FOCUSED! There are so many things that can distract you. Musically, people will always try to steer you in the wrong direction. STAY GROUNDED!

Great advice!!! I’m so glad you took the time to sit down with me! Anything else you have going on that you want readers to know about? Other interests? Performances?

Ummm….well, I’m also in school. I’m at Oakland County Community College in Southfield, studying psychology. I really want to know how human beings operate, especially boys. (She giggles again.) I also have a lot of performances coming up. In the next couple of months, I will be performing at a fashion show at Oak Park High. I also will be singing at a dance show at Oakland University. I also have a performance at Studio 51 in April, and I have a few more dates as well, one at a mixtape release party and another fashion show. (She pauses in thought.) I really just want to sing!


I want to thank the beautiful Shay Lewis for interviewing with me. I must say that when we ended our phone call, I sat back and read over all of my notes, thoroughly impressed by her and her journey, musically and otherwise. Shay has this positivity to her that many people think has been destroyed in the city of Detroit. Even in watching her YouTube videos and viewing some of her promotional photos, you can see the fire and ambition in her eyes. There is no doubt that she is confident in her abilities, but she is also humbled enough by her God-given talent that she is easy to relate to and undoubtedly feel. Her voice is so uniquely raw and phenomenal that she puts listeners in the mind of many of the greats. Her songwriting skills are so profound and lyrically authentic that I couldn’t believe that someone who is only 20 years old could have written and performed them. Her passion for her music is contagious and seemingly, without bounds.

I implore you all not to miss out on this young lady’s rise to success. Please subscribe to her channel on YouTube, ShayLewisMusic, and as Shay says, make sure you “hate it, rate it, love it, comment” so that she is able to hone and improve upon her craft. Make sure your first view goes to her new single, "Now Hiring" at It's a banger! You can also follow her on Twitter and Tumblr at @ShayLewisMusic and friend her on Facebook at Shay Ijustwannasing Lewis. Also please, look out for a continuation of my interview with Ms. Lewis on my personal blog,

Please, check back with Alius Magazine for further details and specifics on Shay Lewis’ performances.

As always, thank you guys for providing me with your precious time, and continue to keep Detroit in your prayers and contribute to our city’s rise to excellence by supporting local businesses and artists!!!!

Next week's First Lady....Tiara "T. Baby" Demyers!!


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