INTERVIEW: Meet Soulful Collective Trio SHIMASHIMA
We had the pleasure to sit down with these unstoppable and talented women who go by the name SHIMASHIMA. The collective is made up of three soulful spirits; Lea Serres, Abri and Lexi Todd. The group has had an eventful year so far, and it's not even June. This past year the group released all three teasers and songs for their individual singles, some of which were featured on EARMILK; all songs were produced by Lea Serres. There is no doubt that their dedicated work ethic has paid off. They have locked down radio interviews, multiple website features, and just this past weekend they had their first EP release - which was a gigantic success. Get to know more about these girls before they blow-up!
What color do you feel like today?
Abri: I'm normally a bright color, but because of the weather I'm more of a burgundy today.
Lexi: I feel gold. I usually feel gold or red, very fiery colors.
Lea: Feeling blue, pretty much all the time.
What's the best thing that's happened this week or last week?
Lea: Definitely the showcase.
Abri: Yeah, everything was leading up to that point.
Lexi: The weeks leading up to it were completely consumed by planning the showcase. We had to make sure every little detail was perfect, and people noticed!
Lea: It came together the way we wanted it to.
Abri: Yeah, we had wrist bands, merchandise, projections with our teasers going and lights. We wanted to make it an experience.
How did you come up with the name SHIMASHIMA?
Abri: Shima comes up in a lot of different languages but we like the femininity of it. And, it's catchy! It means island in Japanese, stripes sometimes, it means mother and love. It's all encompassing and we like how that works for us.
Congrats on your EP release! How was the collaborative process for all of you?
Lea: It kind of happened by accident. When we started working together we didn't know what we were going to be, what we were going to release, or what we would be doing with the music. We just got together and started writing and after a while we noticed our songs were all story-based. Our songs are based on something that happened to us. We thought to release them as individual artists while still maintaining the collective package.
Lexi: Yeah, and as far as the EP's go, our starting point is what story we're going to tell. We wrote so many songs that had an individual person that was important to each of us. It starts at the beginning of a relationship and end at a different point.
So it's like a journey.
Abri: Yeah, each EP is like a little journey through our lives.
Besides music, what else inspires you?
Lexi: I'm inspired by Philosophy, political theory, and independence as a woman. Musically, I'm influenced by Hiatus Kaiyote, Joss Stone and Amy Winehouse.
Abri: I was raised on Michael Jackson and Chaka Khan so definitely a throwback R&B, Pop sound. Also, the glitz and glamour of Motown dream girls. I'm really inspired by the modern-diva. And anything super sappy!
Lea: I draw my inspiration from new developments in technology like virtual reality. There is also one visual artist I'm pretty inspired by, he goes by XHXIX. As far as music goes, I love James Blake, Stevie Wonder and Bruno Mars.
Is there a place you travelled to that was particularly inspiring?
Abri: London! My entire EP was inspired by events in London, it was that pivotal for me. Traveling the world opened up my eyes and really helped bring this EP together.
Lea: I'm pretty inspired by Japan. All of the visual artists, graphic designers and illustrators I'm inspired by are from there.
Lexi: I'm more inspired by New York, especially Brooklyn. I draw from the different cultures around the area and it has helped shape my writing style.
Who were you in high school? Like a prep, jock, etc.
Lexi: I wasn't a label, really. I did everything at once and never felt like I had a certain group. I was able to bounce around seamlessly and I still do that. I have Law School, music, and I nanny. I feel like that hasn't changed for me.
Abri: I didn't really have a clique but I had a lot of different friends from different circles. I did theater, started my own girl group and was kind of the life of the party. I felt like I had to overcompensate but once I was in college I really found myself. Going to NYU, in the Clive Davis department, I was in a sea of incredibly talented people and wasn't the odd man out anymore.
Lea: I was a total nerd, dork, geek! I was in the sci-fi club and I sang Opera. That hasn't changed but how it's received has. Now, I'm surrounded by a bunch of dorks and we're all comfortable with it.
Is there anything you're a snob or nerd about?
Lexi: Designer jeans! I will only wear designer jeans.
Abri: Wise puff cheese doodles are the only cheese doodles as far as I'm concerned!
Lea: I'm a snob about baking, I like to bake a lot, so I hate when people take a recipe and mess with it. Like all of those Tasty videos on FaceBook, they infuriate me.
So being "minorities" in the industry, how do you handle push-back or negativity?
Lexi: Right now the response has been positive but in the future we see that there will be push-back. We're just going to face them and brace them.
Abri: It's going to be hard but we're passionate about it and we have each other which is a great support system.
Lea: The best way to combat the doubts some people might have is to produce the best content that we possibly can.