Shazelle Gobin is a talented singer whose new single State of Emergency featuring Beenie Man was recently released. The gorgeous 27 year old was discovered at a music seminar by Ivan Berry some years ago and has since embarked on a mission to make a name for herself globally. Metro editor Laura Dowrich-Phillips spoke to her in this week’s cover feature.
Laura Dowrich-Phillips: I Googled you and saw that you have performed all over the world as far as Romania and Egypt yet your name does not ring a bell for many people here in Trinidad. Do you do any performances locally?
Shazelle: I have been extremely fortunate to travel to many countries thus far as both an artiste and songwriter. I’ve performed in Australia, Bahrain, Egypt, Lebanon and Romania. I think a lot of people don’t know who I am because I do pop music and not everyone listens to that nor do the majority of radio stations play pop music. Though I’ve gotten a lot of support from certain television stations, radio stations and print, there are very limited avenues here for my style of music and other non-traditional Caribbean music. My management feels that is critical to be developed and have some success abroad before coming back home and having the masses in Trinidad be proud of me. I would like to return home with some international success the way Rihanna, Shontelle and Nicki Minaj did. The only difference with what I’m doing is making sure Trinidad is a part of my career. My music and videos are usually released at home first so that people here know that I am Trini and they can be a part of my success when it comes.
LDP: You were discovered by Ivan Berry who worked with Sony BMG. How did that happen and are you now signed to a label?
Shazelle: I had finished my degree in marketing management, had a good job in a company I loved being in but I couldn’t shake off that unfulfilled feeling. I always knew I wanted to get into the music industry professionally after singing in choirs and being in a band for a little while but I didn’t know how to do it. I met people who were interested in managing me however I hesitated as I felt I didn’t know enough about the industry. One morning while on my way to work, I heard a radio ad about a music seminar that was being held that very day. I just knew that was not a coincidence. At that time I had been praying for guidance about this as I was becoming frustrated not getting anywhere and was questioning whether I was being silly for wanting to pursue this badly. When I heard the ad I felt like it was a message from heaven (smile) so I went straight there instead of work. Thank God I did. There was a panel of speakers who were music executives in various aspects of music. Ivan Berry was one of them. He was giving advice on artist branding and management, which was exactly what I was trying to understand more about. After the seminar, we stayed in touch and I would ask a lot of questions and send him songs that I had written. A few months later, he invited me to Canada to work with his business partner and well-established songwriter, Rupert Gayle. It was on that song-writing trip that Rupert and Ivan decided they wanted to work with me. The next thing I knew, Ivan was my manager and we were shooting the video for Elevator, one of the songs I had
co-wrote with Rupert.
LDP: So what's the plan? Are you looking for a record deal or do you just want to be able to perform internationally?
Shazelle: The plan is to be an internationally recognised artiste and songwriter who perform globally. It has been an amazing experience performing in the countries I’ve been to and getting the opportunity to work with very successful producers and songwriters from around the world. I love doing this and want my career to progress in those areas. I am currently signed to Universal Canada, Universal Middle East and JVC Japan. I am definitely hoping for a big record deal but I’m not going to jump into just any deal that comes my way. I have learnt a lot about the industry over the last few years and have seen artists get trapped in very bad deals that seemed great from the start. I would like to have some level of control over my music and also ownership of my music. So I’m cautious of the offers that come my way and will wait for the right one. Meanwhile, the music continues and I’m growing and learning with the opportunities that come.