Lizzo: Introduce yourself? and how did your artist name come about?
Shara: Hello world and all who inhabit it, I go by the name FrivolousShara! I’m an e(MC)ee/producer among other things from Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Lizzo: So How did your artist name come about?
Shara: The whole concept of my name actually came about when I was in middle school. I was considered comic relief by a lot of my friends and just my whole demeanor when I was around them was, as I often heard, “silly”. I’ve always tried to be that optimistic person who brought light to a dark situation, or when things get awkward I’m that person to say something out of left field to make things more awkward to the point that it’s funny so the mood can eventually shift. Mind you I was only really like this around close friends and family, if you asked anyone else about me they wouldn’t know who you were talking about, or would say I was quiet and shy.
On Myspace you could create these handles, like usernames, that you could continually change to be random, fit your mood or personality, or it could simply be your name. For awhile I kept it as “SillyShara”, because that’s what people called me and the alliteration of it had a nice jingle. Later when I wanted to change it I decided I wanted to keep that same sort of tone, just spiced up a bit, so I looked up “silly” in the thesaurus and found “frivolous” as a synonym. The word caught my eye and stood out in a strange way; upon reading up on it in the dictionary I thought it really did fit me despite its demeaning definition. The word and its meaning grew on me over the years and brought me back into my childhood. Not only did it speak for the silly side of me and the parody songs I’d started off doing, but it speaks internally with my past and the way I’ve felt and have been perceived. In my song “Frivolous” I really break down why that word and I are so synonymous.
Lizzo: What inspired Kiss my Versatility and do you have any up and coming projects? If so what can you tell us about it.
Shara: What inspired “Kiss My Versatility” was the general public. When you have a talent/passion that you want to be recognized for you obviously have to “put it out there” for the world to see. Technically speaking, you can’t become famous on your own; it’s up to other people to “deem you worthy” and make it happen for you, despite any talent you might possess. When you’re first starting out, getting negative backlash from something you’ve created can really mess with your psyche and hurt you emotionally, even if you’re a tough cookie. You’ll often hear artists using Erykah Badu’s phrase, “Keep in mind, I’m an artist and I’m sensitive about my sh*t.” It’s true. It wasn’t even necessarily negativity that brought the album name into fruition though, but moreso the feeling of being an underdog, AND heavily underrated. I feel I bring a unique flavor to the table in more ways than one, and I felt people were seeing/hearing me in a very surface-level way. I’m deep with so many great ideas, and I’m versatile with my sound, so instead of telling the critics and the people sleeping on me to “kiss my a**” (I don’t curse anyway), my way of putting my middle fingers up to the world and kind of saying “you’ll all see”, was titling the album “Kiss My Versatility”. From there it took a year to create that album which showcased a bunch of different styles, but there’s still plenty more I can do. “KMV” in its entirety will always be an anthem for me though, something like a movement I go by to keep me humble but hungry and motivated with my musical endeavors.
Though sometimes it doesn’t feel like it, “Kiss My Versatility” is a couple of years old now, so yes, it’s about that time to release another “bigger” project! That bigger project being called “Feel Good Vibes”, which is a Summer EP. Its concept is centered on the whole feel of summer; the sun, the trees, the flowers, the grass, the birds, the breeze, no school, vacation, relaxation, the fun, the friends, the love, the Summer nights, the adventure, the good times to remember for a long time. Everything is upbeat and light and groovy. I’ve released a single from it called “Baby, You’re My Fantasy” Ft. Taniesha. The single can be heard on my Soundcloud
Lizzo: Musically speaking, Who has had the most influence thus far? (Rappers, Singers, Composers/Beat makers etc)
Shara: When I first started really getting into music I actually had no influences whatsoever. Of course I had artists/musicians I’d listen to for enjoyment and such, but I was really only doing music for fun and to get extra credit points in school, utilizing it that way. Later on Kendrick Lamar grew on me heavily. His stories, his illustrations, and his lyricism are all very captivating. He has the voice of a leader, and I love that his declarations are so steadfast but humane. Being that I was a poet before I got into writing lyrics, I appreciate artists who use a lot more poetic elements in their craft; you’ll notice I do the same. Although lyrics stem from poetry, you can definitely still hear a difference between the two. Poetry is less direct and more complex in a beautiful, expressive way. I think Kendrick does well in blending them so that his music can touch the entire populace in a mutual and intelligent way.
Then there is Erykah Badu and Janelle Monae. I always say their names together because they both touch my heart similarly. They are two extremely unique souls who I believe deserve every bit of recognition they’ve gotten and have but deserve even more. They both have an unparalleled way with words and their sense of fashion and musical prowess isn’t something you see or hear every day. They’re inspiring. Everyday thoughts and feelings are told from unique points of view. They’re also great role models. Everything they do is with creative purpose and as a female myself I feel that carries more weight what with women these days seeming to hold little to no self respect for themselves. These ladies are not submissive, and I can feel the power but gentleness in their words and stories.
Lizzo: If you can work with 3 artist dead or alive? who would they be?
Shara: The three I just named as influences would actually be good picks for this question as well. I’d love to work with Kendrick Lamar, Erykah Badu, and Janelle Monae. Just for different picks though, some other artists I’d like to work with would be Logic, Dizzy Wright, J. Cole, Wrekonize, Mac Miller, Miguel, Mos Def, Bow Wow, and Roscoe Dash.
Lizzo: how long have anime and comics been an influence to you music?
Shara: Sheesh! I’ve loved Anime since I was kid watching your general ones like Pokemon, Digimon, and Yu-Gi-Oh. I’ve always been a fan of the animation style and different stories. The whole fantasy realm of Anime really pulls you in. In Middle school I befriended people who had extended knowledge of Anime and Manga and they gave me recommendations of shows I’d never heard about. That’s when I delved more into it myself and it became a big part of my life. I was in AMV (Anime music video) communities and started creating them myself, and being a part of those and befriending the friends that I did in school is also what expanded my musical knowledge and got me into many different genres, which also plays a part in my sound.
I had depressing periods in High school where I was without anyone, and Anime kept me fulfilled. High school is when I could binge watch several shows within a few days. When I got a job after High school and wasn’t in school and was working a shift until eleven or midnight I could come home and while everyone was sleeping, binge watch late into the night/morning as well.
I love the storylines and the emotions that I can be overwhelmed with while watching them. There is character development, personality, and fun quirks you can only get from Anime. I’m a weird and animated person myself so I just feel so at home watching.
With all of that being said, of course it is an influence to my music. What you know, how you feel, and how you live is what you write. Whether it is lyrical references, video references, sampled beat choices or beats I sample myself, it might be coming from a Manga/Anime or Anime OST. This goes for video games as well.
Lizzo: How was your TeamBackPack s experience? Did it influence you in any way?
Shara: I miss California and the whole TeamBackPack experience so much! I loved it! To be around hundreds of likeminded individuals who are striving and grinding for success and headed for the same sort of goal as you? What could be better? Not once did I feel uncomfortable being in an entirely new state far from home having never traveled alone, let alone been on a plane, with just one IRL friend. It was the best.
TeamBackPack influenced me greatly. You have to have so much confidence being in that environment, you can’t be a weak link and fall back into the shadows. You’re there to advance! You have to meet new people, network with people, take in all you can from the seminars and heavy hitters, be different, make a lasting impression when you spit- it’s all for you! From the street cyphers to the more official ones, you just have to always have bars at the ready. Yes, it’s nice to have writtens and they encourage writtens, but knowing how to freestyle and freestyle well I feel puts you above competitors in that setting. Yet no one really felt like competition to me, everyone just melded so well together it was like a group of friends rapping because it’s something we all just love to do. And that’s what we did. Whether I was participating in something at the time or not I just loved being there and witnessing underground Hip-Hop greatness before my very eyes.
I was even pulled into an all female cypher that was published by TeamBackPack. It has over 190K views at this current moment in time on Facebook. I had no idea when I was asked to join that the guy was filming it for TBP, but I’m glad I participated. The experience is there, but you make it what it is.
Meeting artists I’ve been following for years and hanging with friends I’ve collaborated with or met via the internet felt surreal, but at the same time, made everything that I’m doing with my music feel more real.
Lizzo: Top 5 anime all time?
Shara: My favorite Anime used to change almost every other time I’d watch a new one! It’s such a difficult question, but over the past couple of years my all-time favorite hasn’t changed, it’s Shingeki No Kyojin (Attack on Titan). From there is difficult, but I will say Naruto Shippuden, Hanasakeru Seishonen, Elfen Lied, and Tatakau Shisho (The Book of Bantorra). I want to add more but I will refrain! Ask me again in a couple of years though; this top five might have changed.
Lizzo: Tell us something your fans might not know about you.
Shara: HMMM, some “weird” things I can do are wiggle my ears, wiggle my eyebrows, make my eyes twitch in an odd way, and make my fingers make weird cracking noises. Yup, that’s all I’ve got right now!
Lizzo: We at SDE would like to take the time to thank FrivolousShara for taking the time to rock with us. Much love. You can find her contact info below, as well as the cover art for her new project.