UNCG student’s collaborative track premiers on BBC1xtra radio in the U.K.
Shaniya Wells is the all-around “It Girl”; she has beauty, the brains, and an angelic voice that could transform you into a euphoric trance yearning to hear more of her soft subtle soprano ranged vocals.
Wells is currently a junior at UNC-Greensboro majoring in Communications and minoring in Media Studies but her overall passion and dream in life is to pursue a career as a singer/songwriter. Fortunately, those dreams are becoming reality through dedication, hard work, and a collaborative single that premiered on the United Kingdom’s BBC1xtra radio in 2015.
Music has been a part of her life since before Wells could form sentences. Born in Rockingham, North Carolina, and then later raised in Greensboro, she was the girl always forced to sing at family functions just because she possessed that talent. “It was super annoying back then,” said Wells, “but it is greatly appreciated now.” Growing up, Wells listened to artists such as Earth, Wind, and Fire, Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, Kanye West and many Pixar/ Disney movie soundtracks. She performed with the church choir and participated in chorus throughout middle and high school – at the age of 12 she competed in Triad Idol making it to the semi-final rounds.
Throughout college, Wells remained actively involved with music, describing it as therapy that keeps her grounded and sane amidst the stresses of college life. Although most of her musical endeavors are held outside of school, she has participated in talent showcases such as the Cotton Club talent show held by Alpha Kappa Alpha.
Although she prefers to stay away from categorizing her music, Wells considers herself as an alternative R&B artist. “I feel that the emphasis I place on ‘alternative’ when making my music is what sets me a part from other artists within this genre,” said Wells. “I want no limits when creating a song of mine because I feel that limiting myself due to a genre takes away from the opportunity of creating a new sound.”
Wells draws inspiration from underground/indie artists she listened to through high school such as Iman Omari, Jesse Boykins, and Kimbra, but considers her grandmother to be her biggest influence. “My grandmother is a big influence because she was a walking music library,” said Wells.
“You would never catch her driving around town or cleaning her house without music playing in the background, it kept her alive.” The inspiration Wells gained from these independent artists, and her grandmother, influenced her to continue her quest to professional musicianship by showing her that it is possible to touch people around the world, and make a living creating music while still being the underdog in the industry.
Currently Wells is working on her upcoming EP “Canvas,” but wants to take her time completing the project and ensure it is perfect before its release. “Working on this EP has really taught me the importance of being patient because completing a project is a long but beautiful process,” said Wells.
In addition to her EP, she is also working on a few collaborative projects that could possibly be released with labels Fool’sGoldRecords and OWSLA. “I have recently been featured on a track produced by Soulection’s Jarreau Vandal, with a dynamic musical duo that goes by the name of Brass Tracks,” said Wells. The track entitled “Nobody Else” is by far the biggest release of Wells career thus far, and was premiered on BBC1xtra, one of the United Kingdom’s largest digital radio stations. “Who would’ve thought that little ole me from Greensboro would be picked up by them? Now I am left with the pressure of following up with music that is just as good, if not better.”
Wishing to someday work with music industry giants such as Pharrell Williams, Wells envisions her legacy to be a reflection of everything that she holds most near and dear: love, the creation of timeless music, and the willingness to take risks for the sake of witnessing everything that life has to offer. !