EXCLUSIVE: Interview with SHAB

Just as Spring creeps into the city of London, Persian-American pop star SHAB flies in from Dallas to the Rosewood Hotel. From the beginning, she radiated with warm and welcoming energy. Ass, we both wait for the sun to come out; Shab mentions how great of a time she’s having over in London.

Her recent single ‘Music To My Heart’ featuring The Martinez Twins makes for an impressive release perfectly matching the joys of the upcoming season. Circling back to her early day influences like the soundtrack of Flashdance, Shab talks us through her childhood, growing up with thirteen siblings, and what helped her escape.

Was music a big part of your life when growing up?

I remember growing up, it was really tough days at that time. We went through the war and it was a very scary time. We would play music, we would dance. I feel like with music you’re transcending to another world. It almost felt healing. Even when you’re in your environment and you listen to music, you can almost close your eyes and go somewhere else. Music has always been a way of escape for me. 

Do you remember a specific song to helped you escape?

I remember listening to a lot of Western music. I really loved Flashdance. I was five years old and I remember I used to dance like her, I used to stretch like her. Of course I loved Michael Jackson as well. I’ve been exposed to many different music. 

How was it growing up in a household with so many siblings?

My dad has five kids before he married my mum and he had 13 with my mom. They are all just beautiful souls. They’re really amazing. And so it’s total of 18. It was amazing to grow up in a big family, because I always learned something amazing from my siblings, from my older siblings. I grew up pretty fast at a young age, and I owe that to them. We would have dance parties and cook dinners and we would clean up, we would have music. Whatever we were doing, there was always music in the house. 

Could you talk us through your move over to America? 

First, I moved to Germany for three years without my mom, I had to go be with my sister. She was my guardian because they were refugees and also immigrants. We had to leave the country for a better life. My older siblings had already left. My mom kept me in Iran for an extra couple of years, so I could know how to read and write. I finished fourth grade and I went to Germany. I was with my sister for three years, so I speak German as well. Then I came to the United States and went straight to ninth grade. So I was already learning German and I knew how to do the alphabet because the Persian one is very different from the English. It was challenging at first.I’m a sponge, I can blend in everywhere that I like. And, I blended in super fast. Finally reuniting with my mum and the rest of the family. I hadn’t seen my mom in three years and I would say, I am the person I am because of my family.

How did you adapt so quickly?

It took me a summer of watching a lot of TV and listening to love songs, translating and asking my siblings. I was working at my family restaurant in the summer as well and we had a lot of great clients that would always talk in English or at least like broken English and they would always encourage me to talk. I went back to school the year after and I was fluent. Before people at school used to make fun of me and bully me so I was determined to learn. 

You went to Law School and then left to pursue a career in music, what was the deciding factor?

I was in my first class and I was just sitting in the classroom and I was looking at the board and there was a girl next to me. I said to her my passion is music. And she just said, why don’t you do it? I was like right I should just do it. Of course I didn’t tell my family that I dropped out. I stayed in Florida for a while. Then I went back home and I wasn’t pursuing music yet. I still didn’t know how I was gonna do it. I didn’t have the right answer in front of me, or who I was going to approach first and how I was going to start it. 

So what I did is I was helping my family with the restaurant. Then I went back to school. I had this passion for skincare and I got my degree in yoga and skincare. My brother is a famous singer. So when I told him I wanted to do music, he had discouraged me during college years. Then I had met his friend and he was a producer. And one thing led to another, the universe opened its doors for me when the time was ready.

How did you meet your collaborator Damon Sharpe?

After writing music in Persian, I really wanted to try writing in English and that’s how I found Damon Sharpe. It was one of those things where someone’s like go to the computer, start typing and then his name came up. I messaged him and then sure enough, he messaged me back and we talked about ideas. I didn’t hear from him for a couple of months  and then he sent me a message back and I was a new mom, too. My son was like five, six months. He messaged me back saying ‘Shab, I have the perfect song for you’. I was like, let’s do it. It was ‘Down To The Wire’ and it’s on ‘Infinite Love’. Damon is one of the most wonderful people. He’s worked with Jennifer Lopez and Ariana Grande. 

What does music music to  you? 

Freedom. 

Could you also elaborate on the filming of the music video for ‘Music To My Heart’? Where did you shoot the music video?

It was shot in California and it’s like 45 minutes outside of California, kind of where Westworld is filmed. There’s like little houses, a little bar. 

How was it working with the Marines Twins?

They are so wonderful. They’re just lovely and so fun to work with. Their energy was awesome. 

Are you working on any new material? 

The second album is already done. There will be definitely more powerful dance anthems as well on that. I already started journalling for my third album and it is going to be more intimate. You’ll be getting into the soul of Stab. 

How did you get into journaling?

It’s about turning pain into power. When you’re feeling like life has defeated you, I ask myself what does this teach me? So I’m turning it into power and love. It helped me to look at this way, don’t hate the lesson, but rather learn from it. 

Anything to add?

I did a concert for Hope Supply that provides essential needs for homeless children and we did in Dallas. I performed a live version of ‘Spell On Me’ that is now available to watch. You’ll get the idea of how my live shows look plus we’re shooting two more music videos off my new album which should be coming out in May. 

Written by Emma

Music and lifestyle writer focusing on the up-and-coming music scene and life reviews. Get in touch with me at Polly.Havlock@outlook.com if you have something that you think I might like!