Shenseea is taking the music industry by storm one dancehall hit at a time. With an impressive vocal range, energetic lyrics, and bold music videos, she quickly caught the public’s attention with her 2016 break-out single “Loodi.”
Since then, the 24-year-old has continued to generate buzz with her woman empowerment themes and sex positive attitude. She calls her fans ShenYengz and released a song for them in 2018 called “ShenYeng Anthem.” The Jamaica native has also recorded tracks with several heavy hitters, including Christina Aguilera and Sean Paul. Her 2019 single with Tyga called “Blessed,” peaked at No.2 on BillBoard’s Reggae Digital Sales Chart.
In an interview with BET.com, Shenseea shared interesting details about her life as she continues to blaze through the dancehall charts. Here are five things you need to know about BET’s Amplified Artist of the month.
A HOLY START
Born Chinsea Lee in Kingston, Jamaica, Shenseea grew up singing in the church choir. She performed her first solo performance at the age of eight. The young singer performed Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love of All.” Overwhelmed with stage fright, she didn't do another solo performance until in her teens. Shenseea includes “Jesus Take The Wheel” by Carrie Underwood and “Redeemer” By Nicole C. Mullen as two of her favorite choir songs.
MUSIC CHOSE HER
Growing up, Shenseea listened to various music artists and genres. She was especially attuned to powerhouse vocalists like Celine Dion and Whitney Houston. Initially, Shenseea wanted to become a soul singer. As a child, she wasn’t allowed to listen to dancehall because her family considered it to be too raunchy for kids. Following her passion for music, she joined the choir at school.
"Music entirely chose me," Shenseea recalls. But at the time, she felt like her voice was "drowning" in the choir, which led her to form a small group. In this group, Shenseea learned how to harmonize with others. Outside of her church choir, she continued to hone her craft, eventually finding dancehall and her path to stardom.
For Shenseea, the purpose of her energetic sound and fun lyrics is to inspire happiness within her fans. By speaking her truth, she hopes to inspire others. “I try to encourage my ShenYengs just to be happy,” says Shenseea. With hit singles like “Rebel” and “Upset,” her music is meant to uplift women and evoke self-love.
INSTILLING LIFE LESSONS IN HER SON
Shenseea became a mother at the age of 19. Juggling her career and parenting can get tricky, but she’s up for the challenge. The biggest lesson she hopes her son Rajeiro learns from her is the same lesson she learned from her aunt— manners and values.
“Because when you have manners, you don’t do certain things,” she explains. “You be nice to someone and they can show you, they can teach you. That will help you progress throughout life.” Shenseea encourages her son to approach life from a humble standpoint, hoping that the positive vibes he puts out into the world will come back to him.
In honor of Women's History Month, Shenseea explains the women who helped mold her into who she is today. She refers to Rihanna and Nicki Minaj, amongst others as her musical inspirations. From each of these women, Shenseea learned to admire something different. Rihanna heavily influenced her interest in music while Nicki introduced the world of hip hop and how to become "a boss."
Aside from her musical heroes, the rising star praises her mother more than anyone else for helping to shape her into the woman she is today. By watching her mom, she learned the importance of “getting your own.” This skill sprouted her worth ethic and her unyielding perseverance. That commitment to healthy productivity is why even during a pandemic, she is spending time in the studio. Shanseea plans to release her debut album later this year.
Listen to Shanseea’s current hits on the BET Amplified Artist Pandora Playlist.