Shantel Giselle recently made waves with her single “America I Pray” a song about the current state of American culture and where it has gone wrong that showcased her “conscious trap” stylings. In her new single “Sauce” Shantel, who is originally from Detroit but is now making music and living in Los Angeles, is back at it but with an entirely different message. “Sauce” is all swagger and bravado…or is it? The song was born from the feelings of insignificance and grief that a young Giselle felt after her mother died and she became an orphan. The song has much more to say than one might expect after one listen. Today we speak with Shantel Giselle about her new single “Sauce”.
Firstly let me offer my condolences to you for the loss of your mother. The loss of a parent is always devastating, and can be especially more so when one is young. You were bullied and harassed by other kids for being orphaned and for being especially introverted during your grieving. Did you imagine you would ever write a response to those bullies like you have with “Sauce”?
No, I never imagined that I would. After I lost my mother, I became this very shy kid who was somewhat of a people pleaser. As a people pleaser, you never want to “rock the boat” or offend others. So, I never imagined a response coming out my mouth at all as I lacked the strength and courage back then to even formulate the powerful thoughts “Sauce” contains.
In keeping with the theme of conscious trap that you set forth with your single “America I Pray”, “Sauce” has a depth to it that may be overlooked with just one listen, in essence this is your anthem for the misunderstood. Was that an intentional choice that you made? To make what many would see as a typical trap song but upon further examination realize that there were these emotional depths to it?
Correct. I am glad that you caught that as it was intentional. I did make this song for the misunderstood and for those who need a boost of confidence. To be frank, I desired for it to sound like a typical trap song to most and for the emotional depth to shine out overtime as I don’t like to overwhelm listeners. I have seen people at my performances cry and dance to this song. Most rap fans will simply dance to the song and those who struggled with confidence are always moved to tears by the emotional depth and never know why.
The production quality and especially the vocal effects on “Sauce” are somewhat reminiscent of Lil Wayne’s Dedication 3 mixtape and that general era of mid to late 2000’s hip hop. What were your musical inspirations for this track?
I didn’t have much musical inspiration for this song to be honest but I will say that I listened to a lot of OutKast “So Fresh, So Clean” and Logic “Under Pressure” before writing this song and I can see the slight influences of both songs in “Sauce”.
What artists do you find inspiration from for your actual flow?
Kendrick Lamar, A$AP Rocky, & Juice WRLD inspire me the most. They are true creatives and will always supply you with a unique flow to capture your soul.
What would you say to lift up a kid who is being bullied and maybe is lacking in self-esteem because of that?
I would say to the kid “You are brilliant. You have an amazing beautiful gift within you that they don’t have and they don’t want you to see it. They don’t want you to shine bright as it will expose their own insecurities. They don’t want to see you happy, confident, and strong. They feel powerful when they see that you are lacking confidence because of them. Do not give them your power. You must hold your head high and remind yourself of who you are because you are a total blessing designed by God. You can do it. I believe in you!”
In a way this song could almost be a letter to your younger self about believing in yourself and keeping your head held high. Do you ever feel that way about your writing, like you are mentoring a younger version of yourself?
Wow! It’s like you are reading my mind but yes, some of my writing tends to be targeted towards the younger version of myself. It helps my inner child speak the truth that she hid a long time ago.
There are more than a few NBA references in this track, are you a big fan of basketball?
Yes, I love basketball. It’s something I enjoy watching.
Who’s your team? Pistons? Lakers?
I love the super team Warriors as they are enjoyable to watch. I felt like I was watching the Harlem Globetrotters when everyone was healthy on the Warriors team but I am rooting for the Pistons as I really want to see Detroit win another championship.
“Sauce” as a concept of swagger or ownership of pride is reminiscent of the term “juice”, and the unforgettable “You got the juice now…” line from the classic Tupac and Omar Epps movie of the same name. Is there any correlation there?
Yes! Besides my personal inspiration, the actual inspiration for “Sauce” came directly from this movie. The writing and bravado attitude of the entire song is written from the perspective of Tupac’s character Bishop in the movie. He was magnetic, powerful, & willing to stand up against the whole entire world if they tried to deter his goals. I wanted the listener to feel as powerful as Bishop who always displayed confidence and strength throughout the movie.
As someone who came from humble beginnings and who was an orphan at a young age, what does it mean to you to be finding success in the music industry at this stage of your life?
For me, it means that everything I went through was to help me prepare for moments like this. I feel blessed to be able to morph the pain of my past into songs that empower people in the present day. I feel like this is my purpose and I am glad that I get to use my gift to help others.