Shaquawna Shawnte - Singer

Shaquawna Shawnte' is a passionate singer/song writer with a soulful sound and a sassy demeanor originating from Washington D.C., raised in Lynchburg, VA. Carr was a member of Next Level, a singing group composed of local artists, musicians, and dancers. The group, Next Level sold out both of their headlining concerts, performed at numerous venues, and had the privilege of opening up for the Temptation Review as well as Jason Aldean during their five-year tenure. After the group dismembered Carr was determined to continue to work hard perfecting her craft. She had the honor of opening up for Yolanda Adams at a gospel event held in her hometown. She got to sing alongside the talented Marsha Ambrosius. Most recently she worked on the album "Entitled" with rapper and radio host, Torae. She is now working diligently on her solo career and will be releasing her EP titled "No Love Lost" early 2016. 

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When did you know you wanted to be an artist? 

The moment I began to talk! I knew that singing would be important to me by the way it made me feel at a young age. I remember being in NY when I was younger and my grandmother would make me sing for anyone with ears lol. I was ready too! Every single time.

How does your personal story/background influence your work?

 It influences it a lot. Because I grew up listening to a lot of hip hop and R&B in the 90s and then listening to older music that my mom would play, I had no choice but to fall in love with that real, story telling music. The minute I’d hear “you make me happy….” I already KNEW some smiles and dancing were to follow. And when i’d hear “first thing first, i poppa….” I KNEW every lyric was about to be recited and a serious sway and cool head nod was about to go down. lol.

Which of your works are you most proud of?

 hmmm.. Now that’s a tricky one. I was in a singing group when I was in high school and we got the privilege to open up for the Temptation Review, that was pretty epic. A few years later I got to open up with a solo for a Yolanda Adams concert that was held in my home town, and THAT was amazing! I sang alongside Marsha Ambrosius a few years back and THAT was phenomenal. I don’t know. I think those were a few amazing opportunities. Now I’m just looking forward to making a name for myself with my upcoming EP.

What is the hardest part about being a professional artist?

 I think the hardest part about being a professional artist is being the most critical person when it comes to your craft. You want to make sure you are doing things 110% right and that EVERYTHING you do is great THEN, better than what you’ve done before.

What other artists inspire you? 

Brandy is and will always be my biggest inspiration. I have been a fan of hers from the beginning! I loved the fact that she branched off and done TV and different ventures. Monica is AMAZING. Her spirit, her love for family, her soulful sound is what draws me in to her. Taraji P. Henson is an inspiration because of her story. The fact the she stepped out on faith with her son and just a few hundred dollars and she FOUGHT FOR HER SPOT! 

What advice would you give aspiring artists who come from minority or under-represented groups? 

KEEP GOING! And when you don’t feel like going on or you are starting to doubt yourself.. PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!!!