There are no boxes or labels vast enough to describe the constantly evolving talent that is Shenette Swann. A classically trained vocalist, percussionist, dancer, author and motivational speaker, Swanns’ gifts came naturally and were nurtured by parents who are both artists in their own right. Her mother a professional singer with a band as a teenager, her father a drummer and her aunt a professional opera singer; music was a living and breathing member of the household.
Born in NC to a military family, Swann lived in multiple states throughout the U.S. Her exposure to various cultures was instrumental in shaping not only her world view but her musical palate. Aside from the talent that existed within her home, Swann’s musical influences included the incomparable Whitney Houston and Céline Dion. However, she credits Memphis TN, where she attended Millington Central High School, as the place that molded the woman she would become. It was there, she discovered her voice and pursued the enrichment of her God given gifts.
Upon graduation from high school, Swann completed one year of college and left the comforts of home seeking an opportunity to attend the University Of North Carolina School Of Arts. While awaiting her audition, Swann found herself “swamped in ministry” with a hectic schedule of speaking engagements and church services that didn’t leave much time for preparation. Not long after receiving the devastating news that she was not accepted into UNCSA, Swann’s life shifted from ministry to wife and mother all before the age of 23.
Over the course of the next few years, Swann explored each of her creative gifts. She released her first fiction novel titled, “Uncovered.” She also became a sought after spokesperson/motivational speaker for Interact after witnessing the organizations ability to help victims of domestic violence after it directly affected a close personal friend. Meanwhile, she was continuing to journal and book singing gigs at various venues while managing her household.
One day, the song that Swann sang when she auditioned for UNCSA played on the radio and she recalls, “I cried almost endlessly for a few hours over that missed opportunity. The next day, I wrote Doors. All I wanted to do is go back to the first love which was to sing.” Doors became the title track to her first full length cd. It’s a powerful compilation of personal experience and motivation laced with hints of Broadway, jazz, soul and Christian influences. Doors is currently available for purchase on Itunes.
While you won’t hear Swann label her music as any particular genre, others often classify it as neosoul. She prefers “eclectic soul” and that’s precisely what it is. It’s a wonderful meltingpot of her musical training, childhood influences and Christian upbringing. Although, the musical styling may vary in her music, the common thread from track to track is always the same. “I’m not necessarily always an entertainer. I’m a motivator. I don’t just want to make everybody clap and dance. I want to spark something in their minds.”
Currently, Swann is working on growing; Spark Wonders and New Narratives, which is “all about coaching other people on how to rewrite their own story” through journaling and life coaching. Swann knows firsthand the pitfalls of losing yourself in the day to day demands of life. While she credits her ex-husband with being a great father and provider, she eventually realized that “Happiness is ok to pursue” and divorced after 15 years of marriage. As such, she encourages others to “discover who you are before the world, the church, your family; labels you and tells you who they need you to be.”
The one constant in life is change so Swann is constantly evolving. Be on the lookout for her upcoming cd “Evolve” which will pair motivational teachings with each song.