We caught up with Los Angeles-based music creative India Shawn who is in the midst of opening on a 24-date tour with Mayer Hawthorne. Shawn is supporting “BEFORE WE GO,” a sweetly smooth seven-song r&b project that dropped today (November 11, 2021).
It’s been an auspicious year for Shawn, who’s seen all the pieces that come after years of hard work and persistence begin to fall into place, including an enthusiastic reception for multiple singles on the project, which features 6lack, Anderson .PAAK and Unknown Mortal Orchestra. At the same time, Shawn had a dream come true with two of her singles featured on the final season of “Insecure,” that includes the perfectly timed use of “Movin’ On” in a scene in which Molly ventures out on her first pro-breakup date.
Check out our exchange with the lovely Ms. Shawn below.
SNOBETTE: What are some of the bigger themes of “BEFORE WE GO,” whether emotions you were working through when you wrote it or different forms of production you wanted to lean into?
India Shawn: “I was preparing for a live show a couple months back and as I was writing out the set list, I realized how much the songs say about where I am in my life and who I am as a woman. I want more, I have a new level of self-respect, I practice boundaries, I refuse to settle. I’m growing up.”
SNOBETTE: Are there any features we can expect?
India Shawn: “I’m still in amazement that I was able to get three of my biggest musical inspirations all on the same EP: 6lack, Anderson .PAAK and UMO. Insane.”
SNOBETTE: As a songwriter with an impressive resume, do you start composing with lyrics or music first?
India Shawn: “It’s usually a bass line or crazy chord that inspires lyrics and melody for me. It all starts with instruments.”
SNOBETTE: You’re in the midst of a 24-date tour opening for Mayer Hawthorne. Road life can be crazy, especially food wise! What’s your routine for taking care of yourself and protecting your health/voice while on the road?
India Shawn: “I’m 11 shows in and figuring out the balance. My crew and I currently have a 21-day no meat challenge. You’ve gotta pay each person 20 bucks if you decide you want chicken wings for dinner. I’m loading up on greens and water to balance out the pre and post show tequila shots.”
SNOBETTE: What song from “BEFORE WE GO” is garnering the biggest response from audiences?
India Shawn: “It’s fresh out, but I’m seeing a lot feedback on social media for ‘To Change My Mind.’ It’s a sweet lil’ ballad.”
SNOBETTE: Your song “Movin’ On” was used to perfection in episode two of “Insecure.” How did that come about?
India Shawn: “Thank you!! One of my biggest goals was to land a tune on ‘Insecure.’ I was invited to the ‘Insecure’ writing camps this summer where I had what I believe to be my first real panic attack. There were so many people, I was overwhelmed. Even went in the restroom and gave myself an Issa-esque mirror pep talk. I was super disappointed that I wasn’t as productive as I wanted to be, but ironically Issa’s team reached out weeks later to use both ‘Movin’ On’ and ‘Cali Love.’ God’s plan!
SNOBETTE: You address finding love in Los Angeles in the song “Cali Love.” Are you sympathetic to Molly’s man challenges or do you think she needs a lot more therapy?
India Shawn: “Ha!! We all need as much therapy as we can get, and yes, I’m sympathetic. It’s really hard out here in these Cali streets. Everyone is so self/career focused.”
SNOBETTE: You’re one week into the tour and will be on the road until December. What’s some advice you would provide to pre-tour India?
India Shawn: “Stop eating all that bread! lol, there’s so much I would’ve done differently, from wardrobe to merch etc. The advice would be ‘don’t get wrapped up in trying to make things perfect; have fun, be present.'”
SNOBETTE: For aspiring music creatives, aside from talent what quality matters more, persistence or networking?
India Shawn: I attribute my successes to my climb as well as the relationships I’ve formed throughout the years. I think you’re bound to break through if you keep going; I’ll say persistence eventually pays off.