Photo by: Cameron Perry
When it comes to R&B, this next artist lives and breathes it. Heavily influenced by the sultry sounds of the eighties and nineties she has managed to develop her own style that is not only soulful and energetic, but also imaginative and heartfelt. In addition to her passion for music she is also the owner of her own record label entitled 3 OH! 9 Music Group. Check out our exclusive interview with singer, songwriter and executive, LaShonda Schofield.
SFND MAG: LaShonda! How are you? We want to thank you for interviewing with So FN Dope Magazine. We are definitely glad to have you and we are so glad we were able to make this interview happen: Tell us where you are from and how you started in the music industry?
LASHONDA: I was born in Valdosta, Georgia. While I spent several years in Ettrick and Richmond VA, my formative to adult years were spent in Prince Georges County Maryland. At age 19, I was discovered and managed by the famous flautist Bobbi Humphrey. While she marketed me to various record labels, I also began crafting songs for her artist at the time, Ryan Toby. Ryan would later go on to become one of most influential songwriters in R&B music. During that season of my music career, I did not get signed and eventually Bobbi and I parted ways. I did not get discouraged though. I continued to write and demo songs. I used my hiatus to hone my craft—to further develop myself. SFND MAG: That’s what’s up! What is the music scene like in Houston, right now?
LASHONDA: Like many cities across the country, the Houston music scene was in hibernation, but it is slowly but surely showing signs of waking up. While some venues are opening their doors, the capacity size will look considerably different, I’m sure. On Sunday’s, you can find me jamming with my brothers and sisters at the Gumbo Jam—an improv funk jam session. I love it because I can freestyle with a full live band. SFND MAG: For the last year or so, the music industry has had to make some major adjustments due to the Pandemic and Covid -19 restrictions. Many would say that being an independent artist has its advantages and disadvantages. What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of the pandemic that you have experienced so far as an independent artist?
LASHONDA: I like to think of 2020 as the BIG reset button. During the early stages of the pandemic, I sat down to map out what I wanted to accomplish in music for the year. Since everyone in the world was ordering music equipment at the same time, I had to wait a little bit for my stuff to arrive. But when it finally did, I empowered myself and began writing songs. The first song from that timeframe was “No Grown Boys Allowed”. With the assistance of my engineer, I worked through the disadvantage of not have an engineer by my side and learned how to use Logic Pro to record my vocals for the song. SFND MAG: Let’s shift gears a bit and talk about some of your music. We just checked out your latest single to “No Grown Boys Allowed” ... Such a dope record…Give us the details on how that record came about?
LASHONDA: One Saturday morning, I was driving to Dallas, Texas for a photoshoot while listening to relationship expert, Tony Gaskins “Grown Boy Tactics” video on YouTube and instantly got inspired by the message to protect women from men that are not serious about promoting healthy romantic relationships. SFND MAG: We basically been playing your joints all week! You got a really dope style and a beautiful voice. Growing up, who would you say are some of your major influences in R&B?
LASHONDA: I’m a woman inspired by the 80s and 90s grooves of R&B, Pop, Rock. I tell people my mom was MTV, my dad was BET, and my cousins were Video Soul, Vh1 and Midnight Love”. I am a hybrid with diverse styles and genres that are a part of my musical DNA. I grew up listening to Phyllis Hyman, Anita Baker, Angela Winbush, Atlantic Starr, Sade, Lisa Keith, Midnight Starr. These artists have influenced me greatly. SFND MAG: Obviously, you have been putting in so much work. What is the single most important thing that you have learned over the years that has helped you in the industry?
LASHONDA: I’ve learned that you have to be your own cheerleader and believe in yourself. Validation is not my sole motivation for being a singer/songwriter. I am a singer/songwriter because it is my life purpose. I enjoy creating music for people to enjoy. It brings me so much joy! SFND MAG: Can we expect a new album any time soon? If so, what is the name of the project and when can we expect to hear it?
LASHONDA: I’m currently putting the finishing touches on my first EP titled Salt and Sugar. My first project will be a hybrid of various sounds that encompass R&B, Pop, Deep Soul House, and Afrobeat vibes. It’s my labor of love to my fanbase.
SFND MAG: What producers / artists are you working with currently and who would you like to work with in the future?
LASHONDA: I’m working with Atlanta producers, Christopher and Conrad Rosser; Kameron Brewer and Maurice Willis; Von Vargas and Darren Saunders from Baltimore, Maryland. SFND MAG: There is a lot of mixed feelings now over the direction that R&B music is going in. Many argue that the true R&B sound is fading out as it fuses with Hip-Hop & Pop and that industry is ultimately being manipulated by money and internet popularity. What are your thoughts on this subject?
LASHONDA: I think the industry is chasing the formula that they believe works in light of the pandemic. I think everything sounds the same. I love that new artists are slowly introducing unique sounds that feel true to them. I know I am. Authenticity is key in everything you do. SFND MAG: When you’re not creating your own music, what other artists do you listen to now?
LASHONDA: Right now, I am listening to H.E.R. and Daniel Caesar. They are great talents. SFND MAG: How can your fans reach you on social media? LASHONDA: Lashondaschofield.com IG: @lashondaschofield Twitter: @datgurlcanwrite Facebook: @lashondaschofield SFND MAG: Before you go could you name another artist that you think is “So FN Dope” and tell us why?
LASHONDA: Gotdamnjackjones! He’s Jimi Hendrix meets Lenny Kravitz—classic soul with a rock edge vibe. @gotdamnjackjones SFND MAG: Once again, thank you so much LaShonda for interviewing with us. It has been a pleasure. Keep doing your thing and continue to shine!