I guess you can call Shvona Lavette a true artist. She has excelled at acting and has now stepped into the music industry.
After studying the Arts for many years, Shvona moved from Queens, NY to L.A. and landed roles on “NYPD Blue”, “Boston Public”, “Lincoln Heights” and the FOX sitcom “Brothers” with NFL Michael Strahan. She is now ready to take on the music business. Shvona Lavette released her debut album 3 Percent And Rising in July. She has released two singles, “Always” and “Drop Dead.”
I (@itsJazzyFBaby) spoke with Shvona about making the transition from being an actress to becoming recording artist. She speaks on leaving New York City and the meaning behind the album title. Check out the exclusive interview & “Drop Dead” music video below.
JF: I understand your album, 3 Percent And Rising, is out. I’m sure you’re very excited. How did you come up with the title?
SL: According to the 2010 Census, nine million Americans are multiracial or have checked more than one box in the ethnicity section. Those nine million people equal three percent of the U.S. population. I’m one of those people, so that’s where I got the ‘three percent’ thing from and the ‘rising’ part is just a testament to multiracial people are rising in numbers. I also wanted to name the album 3 Percent and Rising because I hope to see a day when we don’t have to check a box regarding our race or ethnicity.
JF: Did you work with any artists for the album?
SL: This project is all Shvona. The producer on the entire album is a dude by the name of Kanobby. He is an artist as well. So on certain songs, he’s featured as well. As of now, the producers are the only people on the album besides myself.
JF: You originally started out as an actress. How was the transition going from an actress to an artist?
SL: I was singing first. I sang throughout elementary school all the way up until college, where I found acting. It just left music for a while and now I’ve come back to it. It’s an interesting journey because they go hand in hand in regards to my life. I try to give them equal amounts of my attention, but they are completely two different worlds.
JF: I understand you’re from Queens, New York. You live in L.A. now. What was that transition like?
SL: Yes. I’m a Queens girl. [laughs] It was interesting and it’s still interesting because my whole family is still in New York. Nine times out of ten New Yorkers don’t leave New York. You understand what I mean being from Harlem and all. So I travel back and forth a lot. I was there last week. The transition is on going. L.A. is my home right now, but New York will always be my home.
JF: How would you describe your style of music?
SL: Well, let’s talk about 3 Percent and Rising because that’s what I have out now. That project a focuses on dance, electro-pop sound. I wrote every song on the album. Some of them I collaborated, lyrically, with Kanobby, the producer of the album. Many don’t know I’m a songwriter. They think I’m just a singer. I tried to put a mix of sounds on the record.
JF: Who are some of your music inspirations?
SL: My mother always played Patti LaBelle, Freddie Jackson, and Luther Vandross. I grew up playing a lot of Prince and Madonna. Lionel Richie and James Taylor got played in my house too. When I got to college, I started discovering different music like Fiona Apple, Rage Against The Machine, Lauryn Hill, and Erykah Badu. You know, stuff like that. Right now, I’m listening to Adele, Van Hunt, and Corinne Bailey Rae.
JF: Who would you like to work with in the future?
SL: First and foremost, I would like to work with Snoop Dogg, Far East Movement, and and Airplane Boys. I mean I’ve got to give love to everyone on my home team, Stampede. As far as producers go, I would like to work with Disco Fries and Boyz Noise.
JF: How is it being apart of the Stampede family with people like Snoop Dogg and Far East Movement?
SL: It’s pretty dope! I just did a cameo in Snoop and Wiz Khalifa’s new video, ‘High School.” It was fun and it should be out shortly. I haven’t collaborated with everyone yet, but I’m sure that will come across my table pretty soon. But it is fun being the First Lady.
JF: Would you ever do a reality television show? That’s the big thing nowadays. Would you ever be up for that?
SL: No, that’s not my thing. Shout out to the people out there doing their thing with it. I respect their hustle, but I won’t be doing any of that. [laughs]
JF: The last thing I want to know is five things that make you stand out from the rest.
SL: I think my inner beauty, my honesty, my very specific love for food, my lips, and my love for New York. What!