Ever since she moved to London, the Swindon born singer-songwriter Shani Cherry has finally released her debut EP “Lost In Wonderland” after three years of working tirelessly on her music – releasing music videos for the songs “Can’t Escape” and “Next To You” as well as being featured on other notable platforms to perform acoustic covers of her own songs along with others.

The EP itself is fresh and ambitious; genre wise it’s along the lines of the growing R&B sub genre “future rnb” as it mixes up 90’s sounds with new and crystal clear electronics and a hint of pop. Shani showcases her vocal range and expanding songwriting ability throughout the conceptual EP, which features Boy Nash, MAV and Orae Khalil.

After attending the EP launch and listening to the live versions of the songs, I got the chance to find out more about “Lost In Wonderland”.

GK: What inspired you to go with the Wonderland concept?

SC: With the concept, I’m not entirely sure. I studied Musical Theatre, I love it. When you’re doing a show I think you should go all out. I tend to think of all aspects when it comes to shows so I thought a concept would be fun. I love the story of Alice in Wonderland, everyone who knows me knows that I go to exhibitions, I read up about the author, when in Prague I went to see a Blacklight show about the background story. It  was really strange and messed up. Wonderland is something you can have fun with, you can create your own. Everyone has little fantasies and thinks about silly things so why not play on it. It meant I could really play around with the music videos, the artwork, the costumes. I didn’t want anything to be too straight forward. I wanted to have fun, I like my songs to be open to interpretation. I have a few songs that are not about the subject you might think and I like that.

GK: Let’s talk about the songwriting process and songs.

SC: The songwriting process was… random. One song I had for a year [“Right Here”] I’d been performing it and I adored it. I hadn’t recorded it because I wanted a rapper but a very specific one, I didn’t know who or what until I was at MOE and saw Orae Khalil. He just had this vibe, his energy was exactly what I wanted for the song. I know that the producer didn’t have this type of song in mind when he created the beat but it was what it made me feel so I went with it. This was produced by Domestic Beats.

“Free” was written in the shower and then Boy Nash had the idea of ad libs. “Lost In Wonderland” took a lot more work, I was very careful with my words and the story. I kept coming back to it, it was a different sound for me and I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out but I was sure that it was going to work. I had written most of it when I got stuck on one line so I watched both the Disney cartoon and the Tim Burton adaptation to make sure I remember the stories correctly. Both this and Free were produced by Pro-Line Beats.

“Invincible” just kind of happened, I was playing the beat and had this very lovey idea of a song but I never developed it until the EP. I had this beat for about 5/6 months but I wasn’t sure how the whole song would go. Once again I wanted a rapper but I needed to make sure I picked the right one.

“Just Like You” was for Mother’s Day. The inspiration came from my friend’s Mum, when I found out she had cancer it just cut me so deeply. That’s my biggest fear and my Mum is my absolute queen. The stories and everything in the song are about my Mum, about our past and present but I kept it vague so others could easily relate. My friend is known as The Princess, hence the relevance to crowns and queens. She actually opens the song along with two other of my long time friends. Their Mums have been very supportive to my music and been so loving towards me and I know they have similar relationships with their Mum’s as I do with mine. It was really important to me that involved them, especially The Princess.

Lastly, “Give My Loving To You” was another song I had for a while. I knew this one would be easy enough to finish off so I let this one sit around and worked on it when I struggled with the others. This song and “Just Like You” were produced by Darkrooms Production which is based in Baltimore, they pretty much send me beats for me to chose and do what I wish. You’ll see a lot more collaborations with them.

GK: To any potential fan out there, how would you describe the sound of your EP?

SC: I would describe the EP as, chilled, deep and interesting. I’m not really sure exactly what I was even going for but I am happy with the result. The more you listen to the songs and the lyrics the more meaning you’ll find within the songs.

GK: Can you tell me, how has the reaction to your new EP been?

SC: The reaction has been good, I haven’t been able to promote as well as I should have due to my personal reasons but the feedback has been positive. I know what areas I want to focus on for the next project, but that I’m keeping secret. Everyone will just have to stay tuned! I’ll be working on the promotion and sending out the music this week and next.

You can catch Shani performing at our monthly Music Revolution showcase at Stereo 92 on 28th July.

Stream the project now on Apple Music 

Shani Cherry breaks down her EP "Lost In Wonderland"
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