Growing up in Orlando, Shayna originally found music through the dramatic arts. Commercial work as a child actor led to musical theatre, where she first discovered singing. She found it to be the most instinctual form of expression she’d ever experienced, and she was hooked.

In July of 2015, Shayna released her debut album “Drive” on S-Curve Records/UMG. The album includes ten tracks produced and co-written by Multi Platinum & Multi Grammy Award Winning Record Producer Michael Mangini (Joss Stone, Diane Birch), and Emmy Award Winning, Multi-Platinum Songwriter and Producer Peter Zizzo (Avril Lavigne, Vanessa Carlton).

As co-writer of her record, Shayna loved bringing her input – her life, really – to the table, to see what it sparked into motion. The ensuing creative mingling of hearts and minds is what made the collaboration behind this album so deeply inspiring to her.

Influenced by greats like The Beatles and Carole King, Shayna believes her music has organic roots and pop leanings. She loves creating songs that tell a story but in the way of pop music. She is very much into dichotomy – happy songs that sound sad and sad songs that sound happy. For her, the definitive element of her music will always be her voice.

Already making a name for herself, Shayna has been invited to many coveted industry events hosted by the likes of Rolling Stone, TIDAL, NYLON, Vulture, and many more.

2016 is off to an exciting start for Shayna as she was just on the road with American Idol winner, Lee DeWyze & Wakey Wakey, and released her new original single “Goodbye July” with its accompanying music video through AOL.

Hi Shayna, please tell us a little about you?

Thanks so much for talking to me! I am a singer-songwriter living in New York City. My debut album “Drive” was released last year, and I’m currently working on my second EP, which we hope to release in the fall!

What is your musical background?

I grew up just outside of Orlando, FL, where there was a big commercial acting scene. Through acting, I started taking voice lessons when I was in elementary school and was pretty much instantly hooked! I dabbled in songwriting in my teens, but it wasn’t until after college actually (I went to NYU for drama) that I really committed to writing my own music and working to get it out there full time. Honestly, I cannot even begin to imagine my life without it.

Do you have any music influence?

SO MANY! I am consistently in awe of the music people make and a pretty perpetual student of music, so I like to hope that it seeps into the music I make! I think it’s important as an artist to find your own voice, but I have to believe that the music we’ve spent our lives listening to subconsciously find a way to be a part of that. I’m a student of the Beatles, Carole King, Queen, Pat Benatar, Heart, Laura Nyro, Sara Bareilles, Ingrid Michaelson, Regina Spektor to name just a few!

What is your next goal as a musician?

I’m working on my second EP, so my most immediate goal is to finish that! I’m working with Michael Mangini and Peter Zizzo (my amazing co-writers/producers from “Drive”) again and it’s been amazing to see how our relationship has evolved. We’re all really excited about the new songs! I would say my goal overall is always just to do as much as I can to get my music out there! I think the point of creating things is to share them, so I try to spend as much energy in the sharing as I do in the creating, which is exhausting but also the most rewarding thing in the world!

Tell us about your album “Drive”?

It was the first album I released, but it was a long time coming! (I actually had recorded two other pretty much complete full-length albums that I decided not to release for various reasons). I think of this album as the story of becoming myself- of figuring out how to live in the world after college with no training wheels and no road map! I like to think it’s something we can all relate to. It was certainly a story I felt like I needed to tell!

Where did the name came from?

The name came from the first track off the album- the song “Drive.” It was actually also the first song we wrote and is in a lot of ways my favorite. It’s a song about overcoming obstacles and remembering your inherent value and power. It was an obvious choice for me

Define your album in 3 words?

Empowering, unapologetic, honest

Did you write any of the songs in this album?

I co-wrote pretty much the entire album with my producers, Michael Mangini and Peter Zizzo. They are two incredibly talented, accomplished musicians who have helped me put some of my most important truths to music. Working on these songs has definitely been a highlight of my life so far.

What is it like to be part of one of the major music labels in the industry?

It’s just always great as an artist to get any support you can! I have found that the music industry requires you to consistently pour a lot of your time, energy, heart, not to mention your resources, into the creation of your music and your identity, and it really feels great when you start to see all that begin to pay off.

What are the five things you can’t live without?

My family/friends… in other words, my people
My DVR
My iPhone
GUM
Laughter

What music can we find on your iPod?

A little bit of everything- from Top 40’s to musicals!

Any loves, other then music? 

My family! My friends! Working out (it helps me de-stress… I used to hate it)! Acting (I still take classes every week)! Dancing (recreationally- I do a great robot)!

Any exciting news you want to share with us?

Stay tuned for my next EP coming out in the fall!

Do you support any charity?

I have done work with the American Foundation for Suicide prevention- an organization that is very close to my heart. I think it’s really important that we begin to address the taboos around suicide and mental illness so that we can start saving lives. If we don’t talk about it, how will we be able to do something about it?

Idea of a perfect Sunday?

Honestly, I spend most Sundays getting ready for the week, doing laundry and catching up on work and TV. Throw in a brunch with friends and I think that would be pretty much perfect. You know, it’d also be great to go to the beach. I think that would make a pretty nice Sunday!

What do you like to watch on TV?

Anything I can binge watch! I just finished Bloodline and Fargo and am always taking suggestions! I must say, I REALLY love TV!

Best advice ever given? 

Be yourself. Be yourself and surround yourself with people who love you for who you are.

What do you think of Social Media?

I think social media is amazing! It lets me connect with so many people instantly! I think there definitely are draw backs to being connected 24-7, so I try to make sure to put down my phone every so often to stay present in my life, but for the most part, I am just really grateful for social media and all the amazing people I’ve met!

Where we can follow you?

Twitter.com/heyshaynaleigh
Instagram.com/heyshaynaleigh
Facebook.com/shaynaleighofficial
Youtube.com/shaynaleigh

Quote: “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying ‘I’ll try again tomorrow’ “Mary Anne Radmacher

Song: This is a hard one! I’m going to say “Don’t Stop Me Now” Queen but I have a lot of favorite songs.

Movie: Clue (if you haven’t seen this, seriously YOU MUST), Good Will Hunting, The Sound of Music, Center Stage

Travel Destination: I’ve definitely developed a serious case of wanderlust in the past couple of years. Ideally, I would be going somewhere I haven’t been before… Last year my family went to Costa Rica and we just had the most INCREDIBLE week, so I would have to say that!

Food: My favorite healthy food (that I eat often) is probably brussels sprouts! (though I’m also really into hummus lately) My favorite overall food is probably pizza. And frozen yogurt (WITH ALL THE TOPPINGS!)

Sports Team: Orlando Magic!

Photo Credit: Joshua Shelton