New Album from Shaprece out this Month
Seattle songstress Shaprece on her new album, musical idols and her ideal dinner-party guests
By Nancy Guppy
September 30, 2015
Shaprece, the mononymous singer born and raised in Seattle, has gained acclaim for original songs that blend soul, electronica, strings and trip-hop with gorgeous vocals. Her new album, Coals, comes out this month, and she’s celebrating with a humdinger of a release party—playing the record in its entirety with backup by the Seattle Symphony at Benaroya Hall, as part of the Sonic Evolution program (10/29; seattlesymphony.org).
LOCATION: Mioposto in Mount Baker
DRINKS: Monday-morning mimosas (both felt this was a better choice than coffee)
Nancy Guppy: Finish this sentence: Music is…
NG: Was music a part of your childhood?
S: Absolutely. My father was a musician, so I was surrounded by musicians, bands and church choirs.
NG: Who were your musical idols growing up?
S: Sade was probably my first picture of what I wanted to be as a vocalist. I was also hugely influenced by Stevie Wonder—he was the go-to artist for our family.
NG: What genre of music has influenced you the most?
S: Soul music. And I don’t mean that in the traditional sense. I mean someone who is baring their soul without fear. Björk, to me, is soul music because you can feel her emotion.
NG: Was there a moment when you recognized that music was your future?
S: In high school, I was in a classical choir learning beautiful songs in Italian and I couldn’t believe the sounds we were creating. I knew then that, if possible, I wanted to create something equally as beautiful for the rest of my life.
NG: Coals is a departure from previous work. How did you get there?
S: It was difficult, because I have an eclectic taste in music and I’ve always felt I could go in any direction. I took time off, went to festivals, practiced singing with different albums, hiked, wrote, had lots of conversations—all to gain a clearer understanding of who I was as an artist before embarking on this new project.
NG: What was it like coproducing the record with electro-ambient producer IG88?
S: He’s innovative. He’ll break glass and drop it delicately or slam it on a table to create different rhythms. Or he’ll sample Olive, his daughter, hiccupping and make that part of the production.
NG: What four guests would make for the perfect dinner party?
S: Prince would be at the head of the table, not saying much, kind of judging everyone; Stevie Wonder, because I heard he is hilarious; Betsey Johnson, because she’s just so out there; and my mom, because she’s the life of the party.
Nancy Guppy showcases Seattle artists on her TV series, Art Zone (seattlechannel.org/artzone).