And she has a new single that drops on July 17 from Freakout Records. Photo by Jake Hanson/Courtesy of Shaina Shepherd
If you’re looking at that face and you’re wondering: How do I know her? It might be because of her amazing Message to the City a week ago. Or maybe you’ve seen her band BEARAXE. Or maybe you’ve seen her perform at Nectar in Fremont. “It’s the first place I ever did a solo show in my whole life,” she says.
She’s performing at Nectar again on Saturday, on a bill with Navid Eliot (Planes on Paper), Matt Gervais (The Head and the Heart), and others.
The other question that might be on your mind is: What happened to Shaina’s hair? “I just cut my hairs off, which everybody does during quarantine,” Shaina says, laughing. “I used to have very long black lady hair. I dated that hair. I put that hair through college. But I cut it all off after George Floyd’s murder, and in all the craziness and chaos in Seattle.”
She goes on, “It was this week of evaluating not only my blackness but also how my blackness fits into my life here. I don’t want to represent Western ideals of beauty, and my long hair and my style was a big part of that. I just wanted to hit the reset button. I want to figure out what’s going on with myself, and I’ve been living this really minimalist lifestyle for the last few months.”
The photo at the top of this post is the art for her new single, which drops on July 17 from Freakout Records, her new label. It also marks a big move in her musical career—going from a performing artist to a recording artist.
“I’ve been in a rock band for years, and been a performing artist more than a recording artist for years, and then with quarantine I can’t even work with my band. So I’ve been assiduous about telling my personal journey through this time.”
She’s done a lot of livestreaming out of her house lately, but the show at Nectar will be different. She and the other performers will actually be performing on Nectar’s stage, using Nectar’s microphones, under Nectar’s lighting rig, but the show will be livestreamed so you don’t have to be physically at Nectar to watch.
“Their quality is fabulous,” she says about the livestreams Nectar is able to produce. “They have really upped their game. They have really done a great job of capturing the live show and it looking great and sounding great, as opposed to the stumbling blocks when you’re doing it at home. I’m really lucky. I feel very honored to be part of the bill, to be honest with you. Totally honored.”
Nectar explains on the ticket page for the concert:
Keeping performers and limited crew safe is the #1 priority and we have a series of ground rules that require strict adherence as prerequisite to proceeding with each of these performances. We limit the people in the building to the absolute minimum of essential workforce only and have measures in place to promote social distancing before, during, and after performances. Self-reporting and temperature taking is a mandatory request to ensure nobody is symptomatic. Musicians are encouraged to wear masks while not performing. We do sanitize equipment after each performance, and do not allow sharing of microphones. Hand sanitizer is available throughout and of course we encourage hand hygiene, while discouraging any/all contact between individuals, face touching, etc and prohibiting close contact between crew and performers.
Plus, Shaina says, she’ll be wearing a beautiful ensemble designed by a friend of hers. “It’s an embrace of melanin and browns and creams,” she says. “I’m gonna try to look cute. There’s no reason to stand there in a t-shirt when drag queens are performing in their bedrooms right now. I’m going to try to be part of that visual culture so people gag on my eleganza.”
The new single dropping on the 17th is very exciting, and who knows where her career will go after that. This will be your last chance to see Shaina perform before then.
“In terms of a live show that I can hug people at, this is the best it’s gonna get,” she says.
Wait, does that mean she will be hugging people?
“I don’t know. Gotta be safe,” she says. “I’ll probably just make intentional eye contact and say I’m hugging your mind right now.”
More details about the show—including ticket info—is right here.