Artists To Watch 2012: Tawanna Shaunté

Tawanna Shaunté's music and vocal style is multi-faceted. When listening to this singer/songwriter, expect to hear a mosaic of influences—broad sweeps of soul, shades of blue, tints and tones of gospel, and hints of contemporary jazz. Her thoughtful lyrics are a call to change. Put all this together, and the result is this self-described "artist with a purpose."

Her single, "Shades of Color," the title track of her upcoming album, is a clear example of a song that points to the need and possibility for change, both social and individual. "Human beings are constantly evolving," Shaunté says. "There is no expiration date on the potential to change."

Shaunté, 34, was born in Florence, Miss., and grew up in a musical family; her father played guitar, her mother played piano and everyone—aunts, uncles and many cousins—sang.

"Someone would just start singing a gospel hymn; then everyone would join in," Shaunté says. "My family embraced the positive influence and

spiritual connection that music fuels."

Fueled is exactly how Shaunté hopes people will feel when listening to her music. She started singing professionally in 2006 as the lead vocalist for Eclectik Soul. After two albums, she decided to embark on a solo career. In May of this year, Shaunté joined Ojah Media Group, the independent music and concert production company spearheaded by Jackson natives Cassandra Wilson and Rhonda Richmond.

Watch the "Shades of Color" video at tawannashaunte.com. Download the single on iTunes. Shaunté's next performance is Oct. 20 at 9 p.m. at Yellow Scarf Listening Room (741 Harris St., Suite E, 347-754-0668). Visit yellowscarf-jackson.com for more info.


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