Shyvonne Sanganoo stands on stage at mid-sized bar in Manhattan. She didn’t scout this space out before opting to perform here on a blustery winter night. Men are fixated on the stage. Rock acts are on deck and an acoustic songstress just left for the crowd. Pinning down what sort of venue this represents is difficult. The whole crowd is White, but there is Hip-Hop music playing between acts. The ambiance is rustic, reminiscent of a Wild West saloon.
And then there is Shyvonne, colorfully dressed, draped in her own style with a bunch of loyal friend-fans. She was recruited to be here, as the owner of spot spotted her at another New York venue. Although, her career is just getting started, Shyvonne is already walking. By the time she starts singing, all the eyes in the room are on her. Predictions are that she’ll be flying very soon.
AllHipHop.com: How is it to perform in front of weird crowds?
Shyvonne: [Laughter] That depends on what your definition of weird is. Let’s pretend you mean simply different crowds, I love it. I learn a lot from shows with different crowds as opposed to shows with familiar faces and ears. If I can grab that attention of that random guy in a suit who has no idea who I am, then I served my purpose and it was a good show. I like strangers. [Laughter]
AllHipHop.com: Is there a mother and/or father to your musical style?
Shyvonne: [Pauses] I would more so say I was raised by a village of influence rather than just a musical mother or father. I love so many different genres of music and have been influenced from them all: from rock, to Hip-Hop, show tunes, to soul, to club music.
AllHipHop.com: Your music spans across several genres. What’s your definition of the music you make?
Shyvonne: That’s always a hard question that I’m often asked. Its like if you had a very mixed background and on an application you can only check one box for race. It’s hard to sum up all of your music into one genre so ill have to make up a long run on sentence to answer that one. I am a Rock & Soulectro [the new genre she's created] superstar, charismatic person but with a sad soul at times with a story to tell. My music is simply my expression, my therapy. Often people ask me why am I so bitter in songs, but seem happy at parties.
First of all, most songs are about relationships not just with boys, but family, friends, work and myself. Second, I am happy and its because getting feelings out through song is what helps me deal with certain things and disappointments that life my throw my way. Our way. I define my music based on my mood which often changes. Sometimes I wanna punch someone in the face, other times I want to cry, smile, and dance my heart out. My music is me, and that’s not a one worded answer just yet.
AllHipHop.com: Explain your relationship to your hair.
Shyvonne: My favorite question. “I am not my hair,” someone famous once said, but to a certain extent I guess I am at times. My hair used to serve as a form of rebellion. My parents were strict and I didn’t express myself as much I used to want to because of “rules.” So when I went to college, I wanted to let it all out and I did so through my hair. From pink, to orange, red, teal, blonde, to blue…I’ve done it all and it all correlates with my life. I get bored easily and see the beauty in change. I like to mix it up, and start again and if it was good maybe ill even go back here and there. Hair color makes me smile. It's an extension (no pun intended) of me and my versatility.
AllHipHop.com: How about your personal style, since that’s unique as well.
Shyvonne: I’m a firm believer in “you wear the clothes, don’t let them wear you.” Your style is reflected in how you talk, walk, type, dress – its everything. I think a lot of people are now trying to go out their way to be “different” and it doesn’t work out because there’s too much effort behind it. My style is unique blend because it changes naturally. I love combat books, but I’m learning the sexiness of a heel, I love bright colors, pink lipstick and tee shirts, dresses, and playing in the dirt [Laughter]
AllHipHop.com: What aren’t you willing to compromise in the music industry?
Shyvonne: I‘m willing to grow, but I’m not willing to compromise my soul and who I am as a person. I will never say the N-word in a song, because that’s not me, I will not parade around in a bikini singing “yeah big daddy” or something. But I am willing to work out so I can look good in a bikini.