Words by Tamay Nehir
Photography by Karan Teli
Swedish-Jamaican R&B artist Shenie Fogo, 22, flew into London this week from Stockholm, Sweden. With a couple of musical endeavours to tick off her list, she opens up about working with well-known producer and current manager iSHi, her background in dance and her soon-to-be-released debut EP.
With roughly 34,000 listeners on Spotify and her first single release being in February, her top listeners are from the United States, Sweden and thirdly, the UK. Shenie’s music has a strong influence from 90’s and early 00’s R&B tracks as she’s “trying to bring back old R&B music” and wants people to feel “throwback vibes” when listening to her music. With “Make a Move” being her latest release, 90’s and early 00’s connotations are found to be dominant.
Shenie reminisces that “my parents played those songs to when I was little, so it just reminds me of my childhood” and how this is when she “started enjoying music” which seemed to uplift her.
Fogo’s Swedish Mother and Jamaican Father met many years ago in the UK and were both dancers who ended up starting a Hip-Hop and urban dance school in Sweden. Shenie explained how she stopped her commitments to ballet at 15 – “ballet took a lot of hours and wasn’t my passion. I wanted to focus on my music dream, so I started going to a singing school instead. I kept dancing but not as much.”
In 2014, well-known producer iSHi heard about Fogo’s throwback voice through the grapevine and got in contact about recording a demo for Rihanna. After a while of meeting up for studio sessions, iSHi started managing Fogo where they both started to work together to perfect her music. “When I met iSHi, we started writing songs together” but she also likes to go back to where she started with a pen and paper and write on her own, as this is a moment she can reflect her very personal thoughts and feelings into her music.
Her music is personal, and when asked about what her songs can be about, Shenie says “sometimes songs are from my own experience, but sometimes it’s how I think I would react or how I would feel if something happened.” Shenie speaks softly as she admits to being shy but says “music helps put my words out there.” However, despite being shy, Shenie has performed at venues in Sweden in front of around 200 people and says “I love to perform, of course it’s natural to be nervous, but that’s where I feel comfortable. It feels natural.” Shenie also does well in front of a camera.
When thinking about future goals, Shenie has an optimistic mindset; “I just wanna see where the music takes me, I’m scared to put anything on paper, it’s important for me to build everything organically, because I’m doing this independently and I just want the steps to be natural.” She acknowledges and is grateful for the many messages and support she gets from fans that are proven to be international. “It makes you feel like it’s worth it and makes you want to push more and gain more listeners.”
Though Shenie has yet to make any collaborations, she has been trying hard to perfect her own inimitable sound, she would definitely love to in the future, saying that “a collab with A$AP Rocky would be a dream.” Shenie explains that everything to do with her music is independent to her and manager/producer iSHi, from sound to visuals like artwork for her musical content.
“I put in a lot of hours, it takes sleepless nights and early mornings, I do this with my whole heart, I don’t just do this half ass.” Fogo is determined on moving to London sometime soon – “I really want to move to London, so I’m going to find a way, I like that there’s always something happening, the energy here matches my personality. It’s so hard to keep your motivation and creativity in Sweden when everything moves slower, London and the city here inspires me”.
Shenie dreams of one day touring continents like North America and Europe where she will not only showcase her singing talents but overall dance and performance capabilities. This summer she will be venturing on a small promo tour for her unreleased EP where she will get a taste of the lifestyle she envisions.
To listen, search: Shenie Fogo on any streaming platform as you await the arrival of her first official EP release.