Two Spirit singer songwriter and powerhouse artist making medicine with music. Shawnee is a Mohawk music artist Billboard has named one of their ‘Top Gender Bending Artists” for her work in the community as a Two Spirit person.
Shawnee is driven by passion to create empowering strength using her music in the same way music was their for her as a young person giving her hope and strength. A soulful voice she carries blended with a unique power that shines through her songs.
Her work with Kids Help Phone and We Matter Campaign as well as Youth Songwriting Workshops is a big part of her music career and support for LGBTQ2+ and Aboriginal communities.
What inspires you to create music?
The power of healing, inspiration, love and passion through music. Feeling it, giving it, and experiences it with other people gives me life to create and continue to grow as a creator in music.
Do you have a process to songwriting or when creating music?
My process always starts to same. What is inspiring me in the moment and I go with this. Lucky for me I never feel short of a thought process. My brain and heart is always running on high gear.
How did you get your start as a creator in the industry?
I started young. I was writing song at the age even 6, its something I have always found love in. But when it came time to move my career forward to began the process of knowing what it means to be a songwriter. It comes with a lot of power in a way i think. There is so much you can do for the world with it and for yourself even.
How has your music evolved since you first became a recording/performing artists?
My writing and music continues to evolve and I think always and forever will as long as I am creating and growing. I meant and said different things when I was in my young twenties compared to now. But it always comes down to knowing my roots and coming back to that strength, knowledge and comfort.
Do you write for other recording/performing artists?
I have written for other artists and have pitched songs to major recording artist’s and for me its always a dream come true no matter the level of artist or situation.
Do you tend to write for one genre, or do you find your music crosses genre lines?
As far as genre goes I am all over the map and that sums up my personality. I enjoy all aspects of music and to be boxed in any genre feels limiting. There’s so much good to explore in blues and rock, country and pop, soul and classical.
Have you faced any major economic, social, or political hurdles as a music creator?
I think.. if you are in the arts then at some point you have faced a hurtle in some way. I have faced political, economic and social hurtles in my career. Each and every one I have faced has made me a stronger, wiser and better human/artist today.
Do you have any musical influences who have influenced your style, or who give you a “nod” to whenever possible?
My musical influences are also all over the map. But I can say that I grew up listening to Melissa Etherdige, Yanni and some other classical players. A lot of people think this is weird but for me its what was available and spoke to my spirit. Got me through what I needed to get through.
If you could collaborate with any other music creator, who would that be?
Melissa Etherdige a thousand times .. or just once would be everything
How did you learn your craft – was it “formal” or “informal” music education?
Most of my learning as been informal this allowed room to explore what worked for me and what I felt driven towards.
Do you have any advice for upcoming songwriters and creators who are looking to break further into the creative scene?
My advice to a creator looking to break further into the scene is to get yourself out there any and all ways. Create and never stop. No matter what anyone makes you feel like success is not the determining factor of your talent and gifts. Create because you
want to and because you love to. Create what you want because you love it and you want it.
What is your fondest musical memory or favourite piece of music you’ve written?
I am still working on my own personal musical creative favourites. There is still so much I want to accomplish. My favourite musical memory is always taking my music that I have created to the live world and sharing it with people. Letting them take it away from there and experience it how they want.
What is the most important “tool” you need when creating, (eg. Garageband, google docs, your cell phone, Pro Tools, or a pad of paper)?
The most important tool you need when writing in your heart and anything that will capture what comes from there for you to remember.
If the music community could do one thing better what would it be?
The music community growing as a unified entity is something that holds power and strength.