Saturday, 26 July 2014

NEW TO THE GAME: Rising star Shauna has ambition and outsize talent to spare

RISE AND SHINE: The triumphant songbird (with her trophy) has major plans for the future.
The best piece of advice Toshauna Williams ever received from her dad was the urging to try out for the JCDC's Big Stage talent competition. She took the advice to heart, and it paid off in the finest way imaginable. Last Sunday at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre, Williams (who uses the stage name Shauna) wowed the judges so impressively, leaving them no choice but to select her as national champion over 25 other strong candidates from across the island.

Williams' pitch-perfect take on No Doubt's "Underneath It All" revealed a multi-octave range running close to that of her perennial favourites Tessanne, Cherine and Adele. "It's just a gift from God. I don't think I'm doing anything differently from any other young singer out there. I can't help it," reflects the petite songbird, who hails from St. James and utterly enjoys life in her neck of the woods. "It's good there. Very cool and the people are friendly. I'm not from MoBay. I live in the more rural part of the parish. So life in the country isn't as bad as some people might feel."

But you totally feel her pain when she laments her years of struggle to break into the music industry. "Getting the support is kinda hard, but I'm still determined to do my thing," insists the 22-year-old, who has done some recordings she's proud of that she's since posted on her YouTube page.

Where does she see herself five years from now? "I'm trying to go international," she says, beaming. "I have a few shows coming up, but the next step would be to get on Jamaica Jazz & Blues or even Reggae Sumfest. I know that takes time, so in the meantime I'm working on my mentality and bringing my A-game until I reach that goal."

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