Shanee Pink (pronounced Shuh-NEE) has been sharing the spotlight with Mark Noseworthy of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros in neo folk duo Pink & Noseworthy. The Laurel Canyon artist is now making her mark as a solo artist with today’s release of her new EP ‘Spreading In The Light’ on North Street Records.
Her sound alternates between folk and electronic pop, with a clear foray into classic rock as well. She curates a monthly music night in her home known as The Laurel Canyon Music Revival, where she and fellow artists are redefining the sound of their pulsating environment. ‘Spreading In The Light,’ features an array of talented musicians including the members of Song Preservation Society, as well as Mark Noseworthy and Jason Pipkin (Poolside). All tracks were mixed by Mike Edge (Boardwalk) and Shanee’s brother, producer Ran Pink.
Several songs on Shanee Pink’s captivating EP ‘Spreading In The Light,’ particularly the title track, were made to recreate the sensation of “being submerged in a womb under water, hearing the thump of life softly but firmly beating.” Appropriately, that very image is conveyed in the official music video. Shanee Pink says, “When you fall in love with someone, to me it always feels like you fall into a bubble — there’s no one else around. The underwater scenes in the video are a juxtaposition or a metaphor for how I really feel when I fall in love — just floating under water with this warm light on me, unable to hear anything but my own heartbeat.”
Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently spoke with this incredibly talented artist to learn a little about her musical influences and inspirations, the process of creating the ‘Spreading The Light’ EP, and what the future might hold for this artist on the rise.
Take us back to your earlier years. What are your first memories of music in your life?
My first memory of music was of my brother playing the piano at home. Both of my older brothers had a few different bands together growing up. So there was always live music playing in our house. Family dinners would usually end with my mom asking my brothers to play us a song. They would roll their eyes first and then grab a guitar and play. I was 8 years old around this time and as their biggest fan, I knew all the words to their songs by heart.
How were your biggest influences as a artist?
As you can imagine, with two musicians in the house in the 80’s and 90’s I heard a lot of Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, Talking Heads and other new wave rock bands. But there were also the classics playing like The Beatles, David Bowie, and some Motown. My parents listened to a lot of Serge Gainsbourg and that kind of cool sexy music really influenced me. I was always mesmerized by strong female singers such as Sinead O’Connor and Debbie Harry and wanted to be like them.
They say a career in music isn’t a journey for the faint of heart. What made you take the plunge and pursue a career in the music industry?
Music has always been a kind of therapy for me. It soothed me. Singing relieved anxieties and aches in my heart. When I was 10 years old I had a cassette player that was also my alarm clock, and that was the only way I could start my day. Waking up to a song I could sing along to. For a long time, funny enough, it was Wind of Change by Scorpions. There was a whistling melody I was addicted to hearing. Honestly, I just feel better when I write and sing, and pursuing a career was the last thing that motivated me. I’d be happy just playing music to myself.
Many people will be familiar with your work with Pink & Noseworthy. Did you have any reservations about doing the solo thing?
Not at all, I felt like it was an opportunity for me to figure out how to be more independent in the crafting of my music, and perhaps grow as an artist. It’s daunting to do things on your own at first and then it’s just really freeing. I liked the challenge and was happy to be the captain of my own ship.
You have been hard at work bringing your EP, “Spreading in the Light ,” to life. What were your expectations or goals going into the process of creating this EP?
I was performing these songs in NY and just wanted to capture them as close as I could to the live performances. I wanted them to be gritty and rough around the edges. I have done the studio thing where you do a million takes and then realize the first one was the best because it had a raw emotion behind it. So I just wanted to record this songs in a lo-fi environment and not think about it too much.
How did the title come about and what does it mean to you personally?
Spreading In The Light was a song about a positive love that made me want to grow and expand as a human being and I just thought it was a fitting title for the whole EP, because it was representing a time where I had to step out of myself, out of my comfort zone, challenge my limitations, and be seen.
What can you tell us about your songwriting process and how you bring a tune to life?
Usually I just find a chord progression on guitar that I start singing gibberish to until a word or a phrase comes out that I feel I can expand on lyrically and make some sense of it. Sometimes, I’ll find a subject matter and write the lyrics to fit the melody. And the best, is when it just happens in 20 minutes and I have no idea how. I call it downloading. It’s not me it’s just a flow of an idea that comes perfectly together as I play an instrument and I have to race to jot it down on a piece of paper so I don’t miss a thing. “Man to Man” was written like that.
You co-produced the EP with Daniel Wright. How did you two cross paths initially?
I came to LA for a month long visit and decided to sublet a room at a friends house who lived with a bunch of artists and musicians. Daniel had a cabin in the backyard with a little recording setup. I heard him rehearse with his band-mates , Song Preservation Society, and was blown away by their three part harmonies. I asked him right away if he’d record one of my songs and we just went from there. I ended up moving to LA and working with him almost everyday for a few months.
What did you take away from you time working together and what does he bring to the table for a project like this?
Daniel is an amazing songwriter. He is also very creative and open and we had a very comfortable space between us where we took things slow and experimented. He’s great at thinking outside the box of conventional recording. We did some things outdoors and used different sampling machines to give some songs more texture. More than anything he is a kind and patient soul who helped me organize these songs together. The atmosphere is probably the most important ingredient in making a record and it was simply a pleasure working with him.
Looking back on the entire process of bringing it to life, what stands out at as the biggest challenge in creating this album?
The biggest challenge was tying these songs together because they are so different from each other, and letting go of some other songs that just didn’t feel connected to the EP as a whole. I wrote these songs over a long period of time, playing them live with different musicians every time, and it made for an array of different styles. So it was challenging to put them together. We recorded more than 5 songs but decided to drop a few of them because they were too grungy and didn’t fit in well.
What is the biggest thing you learned about yourself during this intense process?
I learned that it’s important to be open and listen to other opinions, but more than that it’s important to know what you want to do before approaching other people. That way, you know who to approach and you can be clear about what you’re asking them to contribute. It saves a lot of time and energy to know what you want. But it doesn’t always work that way.
For those who aren’t familiar with The Laurel Canyon Music Revival, what can you tell us about it and how have those musical sessions influenced yourself and this EP?
The LCMR started because I felt like there was a lack of community amongst artists and musicians in LA. it felt like there wasn’t a place to get together and just hang out and share each others work and stories. I’m Israeli and I’m used to living in a community where people talk to each other, a lot, and help each other out, and I wanted to start having salons at my house for musicians and artists in general. Everyone in LA that I know is either a filmmaker, a writer, a producer, a musician and I thought it would be smart to connect everyone so we’d feel like we were part of this journey together. And hopefully grow together and collaborate. Which is what happened. I met so many people who ended up playing with me live or on my EP and many of them started collaborating amongst themselves as well.
Is there something you hope people come away with after they catch one of your live performances?
Not really. I just hope that I provided a moment where they could relax and let their mind wander as they listen to music. I do hope that I inspire more people to express themselves, but I’m also happy to just distract them for a moment.
The video for “Spreading In The Light” is beautiful. You worked with a lot of great people on the shoot. What are your fondest memories of putting it all together?
I was looking forward to shooting the underwater scenes but I didn’t realize how hard it is to be underwater in a long dress. It was pretty challenging and funny because I couldn’t really move or stay underwater for long amounts of time. Nev (Schulman) had to hold a pole above my head so I could grab onto it when I needed air. But I didn’t care, I was determined to do it because I knew it was going to look so beautiful. And the outcome of everyone’s hard work is what makes it all worthwhile. All of my friends were so amazing to spend a night shooting with us and we just got drunk and laughed and played some music throughout the shoot. That’s my fondest memory.
Are there any other video plans in the making?
I have an idea for a video in my mind. i just haven’t found the right person to do it with yet. But I’m going to make it happen either way.
What are your plans for a full-length release?
I want to do something different maybe a minimal electronic infused record. I’m working on a sample track of what that would sound like.
What do you consider your biggest artistic milestone so far?
Just that I get to play with talented musicians who believe in me and what I’m doing. I feel very humble and grateful that people that I admire want to work with me.
How do you feel you have evolved as a musician since first starting out?
I feel like I have more confidence in writing from my heart without worrying too much about what other people will think. I also started writing on other instruments as well. If I feel uninspired on the guitar I will sit at the piano and suddenly I’ll write in a different way.
Are you involved with any charity work that we can help spread the word on?
I’ve worked with L.O.V.E which stands for Leave Out ViolencE (www.newyork.leaveoutviolence.org). This organization helps youth find their voices and encourages them to be leaders in their communities, so that young people can express themselves artistically rather than resort to violence. They are doing real good in this world . We’ve had a music night for them and hopefully we’ll continue to raise money for the organization so that they can keep spreading the LOVE.
You can serve as a great inspiration for many aspiring artists. What is the best piece of advice you can pass along to someone who wants to pursue a career in music in the industry’s current climate?
Start early. Start a band with your friends in your garage and have a team. It takes a lot of support both from family and friends to play live and go on tour and make music videos and sell merchandise etc… It’s important to have a community in which you keep each other motivated and moving forward everyday. Just keep doing the work and put yourself out there. Eventually things fall into place if you keep doing the work.
Anything you want to tell your fans before I let you go?
I just want to say thank you because it means the world to me to know that someone out there, that I’ve never met before can connect with my songs. I hope I can make even just one person feel good knowing that they have someone whom they can relate to in this world.
Jason Price founded the mighty Icon Vs. Icon more than a decade ago. Along the way, he’s assembled an amazing group of like-minded individuals to spread the word on some of the most unique people and projects on the pop culture landscape.