Q: You wrote “Slow It Down” and Kish performed the vocals. Can you tell me a little more about the inspiration for the song?
SHY INK: Yes, that’s correct. It’s a funny story, I have a bluetooth speaker in my shower and I often let YouTube mixes play in the background. One morning those guitars you hear on the song start playing and I just hear the main melodies of the song. I grabbed my phone and recorded the first thing that came to mind. That voice recording ended up including half the first verse and the whole of the chorus, so from there it was pretty natural filling in the remaining lyrics.
I had sent Kish that voice note and he liked the idea so I recorded a full version and the song was complete a couple days later. I worked with a talented young producer called Zaki and we added the drums you hear from the second verse. Leading up to me recording that initial idea, I was listening to Tevin Campbell’s “Can We Talk” a lot, and in retrospect my song “Slow it Down” picks up the story from where that song ends. The chorus of Tevin’s song starts “Can we talk for a minute, girl I want to know your name” and my song starts with the line “Baby girl tell me what’s your name, I can see it in your face you’re going through some pain.”
Q: “Slow It Down” is your debut song, but you’ve worked with music before. Can you tell me a little more about your first roles in music?
SHY: I broke into music initially as a journalist, doing a number of interviews for Genius.com which really helped me get my name out there. However, my first placement as a musician came with my guy Tre Ward. I produced the song “Dirty” for one of his projects along with my boy Jab. Tre was the first artist to really get behind my music and his sound just fitted so well on my production. The crazy thing is, before Tre had picked my beat for that song, I’d been listening to his entire SoundCloud discography from start to finish for probably like 4 months. We’ve since landed more songs together and I’m definitely looking forward to producing more stuff for him.
Q: What pushed you toward the musical career path?
SHY: I went to a very musical school where at least 50% of the students could play one or more instruments. At the time I couldn’t play a single key on the piano and I had no idea how to produce beats or write songs. We had a piano in one of the communal areas and I remember I really wanted to play it but was too embarrassed so I ended up downloading a piano app on my phone and taught myself the main rift from J. Cole’s song “In The Morning.” After playing that on my phone for a week I snuck down and gave it a go on the real piano and have been teaching myself the piano ever since. A few years on from that I discovered music production and more recently realised I have an ear for songwriting so I’m looking forward to seeing where it can progress to.
Q: Who or what inspires you?
SHY: For me inspiration is hard to pinpoint, I try to generally do what feels good but also what feels right. Unlike other artists, I can’t make music if I’m annoyed or stressed out. This doesn’t mean my music isn’t routed in real emotion, some of my best music has come after a long engaging phone call where I’ve been able to really tap into someone else’s perspective. At the end of the day, I want my music to make people feel comfortable and uplifted and I can’t make that happen if I’m not in that space myself.
Q: What was it like hearing your song on BBC Radio for the first time?
SHY: That was really surreal. I was with my family on the day it was scheduled to play and even though they had told me they were going to play it, I was still pretty nervous because nothing is confirmed until it’s actually playing. (haha) When I heard the DJ announce my name and then the song started to play it was crazy. I wrote the song in my bathroom in December and it was playing on BBC Radio two months later… It gave me a bit more confidence that my music is at the level where one of the biggest stations in the UK are happy to play it you know, it starts to feel more real. A couple weeks later Spotify ends up putting the song in their ‘BAE’ playlist which has over 200,000 likes and that was another surreal moment, I thought there had been a mistake on my Spotify page haha!
Q: Who would you love to collaborate with?
SHY: Anyone who knows me will know that my dream collaboration is PARTYNEXTDOOR. Since his debut tape he’s been my favourite artist and his music is always in rotation. Besides being an incredible artist in his own right, he’s produced songs like “Legend” and “Elevate” for Drake and written songs like “Work” and “Wild Thoughts” for Rihanna. These are the types of things I aspire to mirror and being able to team up with PND on a song would be the ultimate career accomplishment for me.
Interviewed by Dana L. Sullivan
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