Soca warrior finds reggae love
Hasani Walters, Gleaner Writer
Though she's an artiste who sings what she loves and what she lives, Shakeela has been running from her destiny for a long time.
Now she finally accepts who she is.
The 36-year-old Trinidadian and mother of one enjoys working with the youth, and is looking to generate steam on her already bubbling musical career. The three hats mentioned above she wears with the utmost pride.
She describes her music as being easy, but straight to the heart and soul-searching.
"It's the first thing people want to listen to in the morning when they wake up and the last thing in the night before bedtime. It's the sound you want to hear if you're having a bad day and it's what you want to hear if you're having a good day," said Shakeela.
"A mixture of different genres like reggae, jazz, blues, jahamoo, soul, soca and calypso. It's a fusion of all those genres because you don't want to flow into one genre and lose out on another," she added.
Shakeela has a particular liking for reggae music.
"Reggae is so wonderful. It's like it's a house where I can put all the different furniture (genres) in."
Her big break as a recording artiste came through working with Glen 'Perdue' Dixon of Don 1 Recording Studio in Brooklyn, New York, and producers at the Corrosive Recording Studio.
She recently released her third album in Jamaica last Wednesday, at The Salvation Army 'Nest' Children's Home.
There is a special purpose as to the location of the launch. According to Shakeela, "It's for the children to understand that I could have been on the radio or anywhere else with the album. But I chose to be there, encouraging them. Don't let anybody tell you that you can't do it."
According to Shakeela, she has always been noted for being able to write songs well.
"People always ask me how I do it but it's simple, the same way the experience comes, is the same way I write the songs. It's like a diary for me."
Third album doing well
Shakeela's previous albums are called Naked With Strings, Acoustic Diary. Her third album, Four Dollars And Some Sense, has been doing well since its release.
With tracks such as Meditation, Good Morning Love, Someday, Who Feels It and Weep Not My Child, Shakeela's vocal and songwriting ability are vividly demonstrated.
However, reggae music was not her first area of expertise as Shakeela was also a very successful soca artiste while in her home country, Trinidad.
"While doing soca music I was very successful, but the problem was it wasn't me. Finally, I feel at home with reggae. At home finally!" she said.
In Jamaica, courtesy of an all-expense paid trip by the Trinidadian government to several Caribbean islands to further her musical career, Shakeela has been enjoying her experience on the island and extends her warmest and deepest appreciation for the opportunity.