By Jessica LaShawn
Shareefa has made a grand entrance into the world of R & B soul. Hailed for her charisma and undeniable realness, her music is reaching those in need of inspiration and a sense of pride. Being the first lady of soul from the street acclaimed DTP crew headed by the boisterous Ludacris, she has already been handed street and industry creditability. Although her talent is undeniable she still tries to keep herself humble and within this interview she shows her gratitude for life and the blessings that have lead her onto the path of fulfilling her dreams. While sitting backstage at a Lyfe Jennings concert I was able to see her his her rawest form talking to family members, mentally preparing herself for her performance. She sat still with her feet kicked in the air resting on a soft stool that supported her stylish Gucci boots. From head to toe she was dressed like a star but a natural sence off comfort lingered amist her pressence. She may be one of the Divas in line to enherit the Crown of Hip Hop Queen but she doesnt let that tarnish who she is as a person. We connected as she prepared to walk to the stage, a heart felt prayer was belted out and immediately following a stomp of praise. The crowd began to roar as the beat drop and she was whisked away to the front line to fulfill her ultimate life calling: to be on the stage.
JL: So how did this industry deal come into fruition for you?
S: Girl, I want you to know that it wasn't overnight. I had to work and hustle. Where I'm from that's what you learn to do at a young age. It's all about believing in yourself and not being afraid to approach people and let them know what you are about and why you deserve to be about that. Overall I have just been blessed enough to be at the right place at the right time with favor. People have really gravitated towards me
JL: Have you been able to go out on the road to promote your album that hit the shelves 10-24-06?
S: Yes, I was out on another tour for a while and that was my first time on the road. I gained a lot experience from that and it made me feel a little better about my performance skills. But this upcoming tour will be my first major tour and I am looking forward to it because I have gotten a lot of support thus far from my fans. They seem to feel where I'm coming from. That's why going out on the road is so important. There is a difference between being able to listen to your music and when you get to see someone perform and you can sense the emotion that they put into it.
JL: What are you talking about on this album because you have a pretty diverse background? What can your fans expect?
S: They can expect me to give it to them as it is. I don't have a set category for what type of music I've done on this album but realness. That is what they can expect. I'm talking about the main things that all people can relate to no matter what background they come from such as love, inner issues, family, and aspirations. Life is all about being able to juggle those things and the different elements that stem form them. That is what I talk about. So, if you want to know what to expect, expect a situation that you have gone through to be talked about in more than one or two songs.
JL: What took so long with the release of your album? You've been with DTP for a while now?
S: You know how the old saying goes about if its worth having, then its worth waiting for. That's why my album took so long. With releasing an album that is my form of expression it is all about me telling my story from my point of view from the best way possible. I need hot beats and lyrics that flow. I love my DTP family and they totally supported the fact that I'm serious about my craft. That is what we are about anyway, putting out good music that people can respect and listen to a long time down the line.
JL: How do you deal with the pressures of this industry and the burdens they put on family, you emotionally, and more?
S: That is real simple; I lean on God to help me through. Sure, I have my family but they aren't able to be with me every moment and when I am in need. This industry isn't a game and it can either make or break you. You have to know yourself and where you come from if you want to be successful and continuously live your dreams. As far as family problems I just try to reach out as much as I can and keep a constant remind of who I am and where I came from. I am pretty much secure with who I am and I don't get bent out of shape often dealing with self esteem and all that other stuff. I keep sit real with myself. I keep myself up for me first and then for those who see me. I try to make time for myself to keep my mind right and I am constantly reminded of the blessings I have every time I open my eyes to a new day. Everything is great.
Shareefa's ability to just talk about herself and her life which is full of her love for music is inspiring. If you can look past the glamorous image of her that you see plastered all over from your TV screen to your bus stop then you will be able to lay your eyes on a beautiful being. She is here in the industry to raise the bar and force others to be about more than making money and trying to make others jealous but give back. In the end, nothing really matters if you are the only one to benefit from your own life and God given talent.
AUDIO: 'Cry No More'
Check out my Album Review for Shareefa Below
Label: DTP/ Def Jam
Title: Point of No Return
Shareefa’s long awaited debut album from Disturbing The Peace record label solidifies her as the labels core of R & B and Soul. Her album, entitled “Point of No Return” highlights the ups and down of an unpredictable life full of hope, desired love, and self-sacrifice. She opens up with an upbeat anthem about moving on from a bad relationship and tragic experiences within “Cry No More” produced by the king of musical masterpieces, Mr. Darkchild. Then “U Told Me” takes you on an escapade that shows the struggle of loving someone so much that you are blinded completely and ignore their unrighteous actions. “Phony” tells a story about a friendship gone wrong that ended with Shareefa serving time in jail. The betrayal left her bitter and overly cautious about people she interacts with, but the song “Assumptions” eases that pain as she talks about the usual battle with self and being accepted by others. Overall this CD is worthy of listening to due to being reminiscent of Mary J. Blige’s first album. Shareefa is highly open and expresses a lot of things about life situations that many people would keep to themselves. If you’re ready to be shocked by spicy, but respectful lyrics, a soulful voice, and an abyss of truth and realness then welcome to “The Point Of No Return” with Shareefa as your tour guide.