If there’s one thing that Young Money Entertainment artist Shanell would like to tell fans in Michigan, it is that she’s not from Detroit.
“The last time we were in Detroit, Wayne had told the audience that I was from there,” said Shanell, who’s from Springfield, Mass. “It’s kind of funny. I don’t know if people know I’m not from there. He was a little confused on where I was from. He told the audience, ‘She’s from Detroit. Everyone give it up for Shanell.’ I was like, ‘Oh my goodness.’ I’m not from there, but we had fun the last time we were there.”
Shanell, along with fellow Young Money artists Lil Wayne, Young Jeezy, Soulja Boy, Jeremih and Pleasure P, are returning to the Detroit area to perform at the DTE Energy Music Theatre on Sunday.
“You can expect everything from the show — and I’m not playing,” she said with a laugh. “Wayne’s show, the Young Money show, we all touch on different parts of music. You get everything at once, which is really different than what people get when they come to a rap concert. We give a lot that’s unexpected.”
Shanell, also known as SNL, is a quickly rising pop/rock/urban artist signed to Lil Wayne’s Young Money Entertainment. She has collaborated with Ne-Yo, Usher, Keri Hilson, written songs for Danity Kane, Kelis and most recently co-wrote Lil Wayne’s breakthrough rock/urban hit “Prom Queen,” the first single off the upcoming “Rebirth” album.
“‘Prom Queen,’ that was big for me,” she said. “We all look up to Wayne and how well he did with his last album and his career, period. When he asked me to write a song for him, that was big because he’s a great writer himself. He heard it and he loved it, I was like, ‘Yeah!’ He said, ‘It’s my first single.’ ‘Yeah!’ I pretty much think everything I do is really good. It’s good to think like that about your work. I believe in my work. I leave it up to people to decide whether it’s a hit or not.”
She was featured on the “Dedication III” mixtape (“My Weezy”), an exclusive version of the multi-platinum “The Carter III” album (“Showtime”) as well as performed “Prom Queen” and other songs on the I AM Music U.S. Tour with Lil Wayne and T-Pain, “The View” and MTV’s “Spring Break.”
Shanell’s new songs “Play in My Band” featuring Lil Wayne (which she also performs on tour) and “Party All the Time” featuring Aubrey O’Day from Danity Kane have been buzzing on the Internet and radio off her recent music sampler release called “A Taste of Shanell aka SNL.”
Next up she will appear on the “Young Money” Compilation and “Rebirth” albums as well as a European Tour with Lil Wayne.
“We have to finish up these albums,” she said. “We have Wayne’s ‘Rebirth’ album we have to finish up. The ‘Young Money’ compilation album we need to finish up and get it out to you guys.”
The Young Money family, which also includes Nicki Minaj, Drake (who was originally on the tour but sustained a leg injury), Jae Millz, Lil Chuckee, Lil Twist, Mack Maine, T-Streets, Tyga, Bow Wow and Gudda Gudda, takes a unique approach to writing and recording.
“We just go in the studio and we work,” Shanell said. “If I have a song that I worked on and I want Nicki Minaj to get on it, I’ll call her to get on it. If Gudda has a song and he thinks I will be great for the hook, he’ll call me to get on it.
“Once we create all this music, we pick and chose what’s going to go on what. ‘This is gonna go on your album, this on ‘Young Money’ album, this is going to go on ‘Rebirth.” It’s different. I think that’s why Young Money is such a strong family. It’s such a strong family of musicians. We’re all really good creative people and we create like that. A lot of people focus on one song, ‘This is going to be the single,’ ‘This is going to be the second single.’ We don’t do that. We go in and we’re free to create and listen to it and whatever works for whatever album, or situation, that song will go there.
“You should see all of us in the studio, it’s crazy,” she added. “Everybody gives everybody their time to work on whatever they need to work on. We have basketball games going on while we’re waiting to work. We play tricks on each other. It’s really like a family. It’s not a bunch of big-headed, ‘I’m better than you type atmosphere.’ We really are like a family.”