If you don’t know who Shaprece is, hunt down her music and thank us later. Her voice is absolutely divine, both on record and live. The passion she has for her art is as deeply rooted in her records as it is when she performs live on stage. Shaprece has gone from local Seattle staple to a budding breakout star of tomorrow. Her Sunday set at Bumbershoot Festival this weekend marks the start of her west coast tour with fellow ‘Shoot performer, Maiah Manser. Before she embarks on a road trip that’ll carry her new album, COALS, across the country, we got the chance to talk to Shaprece about that new record, her experience in the Seattle music industry, and what to expect from her set this weekend.
CJ: Thanks so much for chatting, Shaprece! Quick icebreaker: what are three songs you can never get enough of? Low burn rate, you could listen to them every day forever and never get sick of ‘em.
Shaprece: “As” Stevie Wonder
“Didn’t Cha Know” Erykah Badu
“Lite Weight” Anderson .Paak
CJ: What can we expect from COALS?
Shaprece: From COALS you can expect a very emotionally raw, and honest body of work. Lots of self discovery throughout the writing process lead to a vulnerable sound. I find myself on the verge of tears while performing some of the songs on this album. It still makes me feel something undeniable, even now.
CJ: I (along with our Digital Media Director, April) was lucky enough to see you perform at The Crocodile last year with Bryan John Appleby and ELEL. What’s it like when you get to perform at staple Seattle venues like The Crocodile, where so many locals rely on hearing great, on-the-verge-of-breaking-through local music?
Shaprece: I feel honored to have Seattle music history as a part of my narrative. As an artist who grew up in this town, there are certain milestones that you look forward to. Write-ups in The Stranger or Weekly, mentions in City Arts Magazine, radio play at KEXP, gracing the stages of Neumos, The Crocodile, etc. All of these things have become such an important part of my journey, and as I have had the privilege of checking these moments off of my “bucket list,” I find myself taking strides toward the next goals; one foot in front of the other.
CJ: Your vocals are truly show-stopping. How have you noticed your voice develop over time, and what advice would you give to aspiring artists who would beg for your vocal prowess?
Shaprece: First of all thank you so much for those kind and generous words. Y’all really know how to make a girl blush!
It’s funny because in my adolescence, I would become frustrated with the raspy tone of my voice. I was always trying to disguise that element of my sound when I was younger, and one day a good friend said to me that the raspy-ness in my voice is one of the things that sets my sound a part from other singers. I really started to appreciate my individual tone from then on.
All of that being said, the advice that I would give to anyone aspiring to be a singer, dancer, writer, creative of any sort would be to embrace your uniqueness, and have confidence that your individuality is enough to set you a part from the rest.
CJ: You’re headed out on a west coast tour with Maiah Manser this September! What can we expect from those shows?
Shaprece: You can expect to fall in love.
CJ: I’m ready. So your upcoming tour most certainly isn’t your first time touring. Could you tell us some of your favorite things about being on tour, and some favorite memories from past shows on the road?
Shaprece: In all transparency, touring can be pretty exhausting at times, but the pay off of meeting new fans and friends is always worth it.
Favorite tour moment would be connecting with the band Thievery Corporation at a festival in Jackson, Wyoming. They were some of the most genuine people that I’ve come across. Lovely, positive energy and vibes all around.
CJ: You’re a Seattle music staple. How have you noticed the local sound develop over time, and how does it feel to still be such a beloved part of an ever-evolving musical landscape?
Shaprece: I’ve noticed that people are taking more creative risks within our music scene, which is forcing other markets to recognize Seattle’s unique sound. I’m so grateful that my community has shown me support over the years, and I’m more than proud to say that this is where it all started.
CJ: Bumbershoot is this weekend, and you’ve got an anticipated set by yours truly, as well as many, many fans. Will we be hearing any new stuff from the upcoming album?
Shaprece: Indeed, you will be! In fact, most of the material that will be performed on Sunday is from COALS. Really looking forward to our set.
CJ: Being a Seattle local, it must be so exciting to be playing Bumbershoot Festival! Based on past experience, what’s typically your favorite part of the big weekend?
Shaprece: I look most forward to the camaraderie. It can be pretty difficult to get everyone in the same place at the same time so whenever moments like this occur, I take it all in and try and catch up with as many of us busy bees as I can.
CJ: So long as you’re able to stick around during the festival, what others artists are you excited to see performing this year?
Shaprece: Really excited to see Anderson .Paak, Radiation City, Reggie Watts, Tame Impala, and a handful of others, if time allows!
I couldn’t be more excited to see Shaprece’s set, and if you’re looking to watch an artist who can truly, authentically sing circles around other vocalists, then you need to check out her set and get excited, too. Be sure to swing by Fisher Green Stage at 5:35 p.m. on Sunday, September 4th to check her out before her and Maiah Manser head down the west coast to share their talent with more of the world.
CRAIG JAFFE | If Santa gives you COALS this year, it’ll actually be a legitimately great gift. | KXSU Editor