Wrap Up And Watch Out: Shanay Holmes
The Wrap Up’s Jason Edwards recently had the opportunity to catch up with UK-bred up-and-coming singer, Shanay Holmes. The 23-year-old vocalist is currently blazing a trail as one of the stars of the West End adaptation of Whitney Houston’s classic movie ‘The Bodyguard.’ We took the opportunity to discuss her debut single 'Worth The Wait', her inspirations and upcoming album…
The Wrap Up: Hi Shanay! You are about to star in the West End adaptation of ‘The Bodyguard’. Can you tell us what that has been like?
Shanay: An absolutely amazing experience! She was definitely a personal icon of mine and she really inspired me growing up. It’s an original musical, so it’s given everyone in the cast and the creative team the opportunity to add their own personal feel to the show.
TWU: You previously played a lead role in the ‘Thriller’ musical. How does that differ to your current role in ‘The Bodyguard’?
Shanay: In Thriller, it was what people would call a ‘karaoke musical’ as it was narrated, but for those who haven’t seen it, you see the transitions of Michael [Jackson] throughout his childhood life to adulthood. I embodied the feminine side of Michael, like a Janet [Jackson] or Mariah [Carey]. I got to perform a lot of his songs like it was my concert; as a singer and songwriter I got to put myself out there. The Bodyguard was more challenging, as I understudied the lead and it’s scripted so I was playing what I am hoping to be - a huge pop star.
TWU: Speaking of the music, can you tell us about your single ‘Worth The Wait’?
Shanay: The inspiration was to create a really good r&b tune. A lot of r&b is centred around love, but I also wanted to send the message that it’s okay to wait. Not just wait for love, but in life, it goes for everything - if you really want something that you can’t get right now, you wait, you stick at it and you will get it!
TWU: You have also released the video for ‘Worth The Wait’; how was shooting your debut?
Shanay: I loved it! It was a realisation of one of my goals to shoot that video. We had an amazing team - Lex Lewter directed it and we had Boadicea [from Sky 1 programme ‘Got To Dance’] a huge female dance troupe who were amazing.
TWU: What was it like working with them?
Shanay: I love them… I’m very close friends with a couple of the girls in the troupe and the moment I heard the song I thought, this is for those ladies. They’re strong. They’re feminine and sexy, but classy, womanly and empowering… which is what the song is about. You want me, you can’t have me and I’m gonna make you wait!
TWU: How would you describe your sound?
Shanay: My album is pop, with strong influences of soul and funk, with little influences of rock. When everyone gets to hear my album, they certainly shouldn’t expect a record full of sounds like ‘Worth The Wait’.
TWU: Who would you say are your biggest inspirations, musically?
Shanay: Definitely Michael Jackson! I love that he was so involved in his projects musically.
TWU: What can we expect next from Shanay Holmes?
Shanay: We’re songwriting at the moment and working with some incredible producers. I have a wonderful team; I started singing professionally with live musicians, so whenever I have songwriting sessions I’m usually jamming in a room full of musicians.
TWU: When can we expect to hear your album?
Shanay: Hopefully by next summer, we’ll be looking to put out another single next March, so look out for that!
TWU: Can you tell us about any collaborations in the pipeline?
Shanay: [Laughs] None that I can share at the moment, but I’m just about to get into the studio with Preditah, who has just remixed ‘Worth The Wait.’ [He is] an amazing producer who has come from a grime background, who wants to move out to a more mainstream sound. So it should be interesting to see what we can get from each other.
TWU: Finally, who would be your dream collaboration, dead or alive?
Shanay: Stevie Wonder! I’d love to do a collaboration with him, because he’s amazing.
For more on Shanay, follow her on Twitter.
Words: Jason (@Jason_MBM)