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Shontelle – Making Her Battle Cry

Updated: Jan 9, 2023




Making Her Battle Cry

by Abraham Kuranga

The easiest thing to do, when listening to Shontelle, is to compare her to another island songstress.  The quick comparison to Rihanna is nothing new to Shontelle, but is definitely something she is about to shed.

“It doesn’t bother us,” says Shontelle of the comparison to her good friend. “We both expect it.  It’s natural to compare us.”

Hot off the heels of her fresh single, “T-Shirt,” she ushers in the new album aptly entitled, Shontelligence.

Born and raised in St. James, Barbados, Shontelle Layne never envisioned a career on the world stage.

“As a young girl I had an obsession for The Little Mermaid and I used to hide in the closet and sing the songs,” explains Shontelle of her first musical stage.  “My mom busted me one day, and told me I should start singing for people.”

After enrolling in classes at the University of West Indies, Shontelle was bitten by the bug of musical aspiration.  The ambition had festered long before her college days, though, while listening to the likes of Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and a local artist Alison Hinds.

It was the latter singer that broke Shontelle wide open onto the music scene, because the young singer penned Hinds’ regional hit single, “Roll It Gal.”



Following the success of her popular song for Hinds, Shontelle went on to perform with more local artists.  She had scored an island hit called “Colours” which Shontelle recorded as a duet with another local artist named Natahlee.  Hinds’ version of Shontelle’s song then crossed over beyond island recognition, getting play all over the Caribbean and in US cities like New York and Miami.

Eventually the tune caught the ear of SRC records, home to R&B crooner, Akon.  Shontelle was signed to the label, which is run by the same execs that originally discovered her friend Rhianna.

Putting her college ambitions on hold, Shontelle entered the studio to craft her debut album.  It was in the studio where the album title was born.

“An engineer actually came up with the title,” explains Shontelle.  “We were all just being silly, and he just blurted out ‘Shontelligence’.  It’s actually very fitting, being a college girl making an album.”

Full of fresh island rhythms and sounds, Shontelligence is Shontelle’s calling card to the world.

“I want to be known for everything I do,” says Shontelle.  “I want to be that triple threat, as a vocalist, songwriter and producer.”

She’s well on her way to this goal with her single, “T-Shirt,” which has skyrocketed to the upper echelons of the singles charts.  Its infectious groove is undeniable, making it a definite fan favorite.

Shontelle has also weighed in on the hotly contested political landscape, with the song “Battle Cry.”  The song, according to Shontelle, served as the voice of the grassroots movement for President-Elect Barack Obama.

“I wanted to become involved in the political process,” says Shontelle, who is not a citizen of the United States and subsequently could not vote.

Other notable tracks on her debut are the ballad, “Cold Cold Summer” and the Stargate (Ne-yo, Jennifer Hudson) produced “Superwoman.”



“I am passionate about all of my music, and I just want whoever is listening to be able to hear that in my voice,” says Shontelle.  “I want people to get to know me through my music.”

Music isn’t the Shontelle’s only ambition.  As her singing takes her to new heights, she hopes to return the favor and help other people realize their dream as artists as well.

“I hope to start a foundation for children,” says Shontelle.  “It will promote health, education and music, and open doors for someone to one day do what I do.”

She also hopes to develop Barbados into a musical power supply.

“There’s so much talent on Barbados, and I want to be able to develop them and introduce them to the world.”

With the use of the new media, such as MySpace, YouTube and other viral media, Shontelle plans to be around for awhile.

“Marketing is no longer limited to just TV or radio, and it has made it a little easier to get the music to everyone,” explains Shontelle.  “It has also made the artist more vulnerable, but it’s part of the business.”

Vulnerable or not, Shontelle has the voice and the looks to take her anywhere she wants, and she’s begun by showing us her Shontelligence!

Copyright ©2008  All rights reserved. Posted: November 17, 2008.

Photo Credits:#1 © 2008. Courtesy of SRC Records.  All rights reserved.#2 © 2008. Courtesy of SRC Records.  All rights reserved.#3 © 2008. Courtesy of SRC Records.  All rights reserved.

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