Emma Shaka – Biography
Emma Shaka is an Indie singer, songwriter, and performer from a French territory called Reunion Island. However, if you ask her, she will say that she is a citizen of the world and one who find the United States and its culture, admirable. Venturing throughout Norway, France, and China, her travels have enabled her to comprehend all aspects of the world on a global scale. The traveling opportunities fueling her psyche have equally fueled her vehement drive to succeed in the music industry. Music is a gift to her, an unforeseeable treasure that she has not forsaken since she began singing at seven years old, nostalgic when reminiscing over previous Céline Dion and Led Zeppelin albums, collected as presents from her parents. Decisively choosing to not restrict herself to categorical barriers, Shaka and her music choice bridge the gap between the concrete energetic edgy rock and melodic pop music. Conclusively, she is a woman on fire with music captivating her veins, possessing perseverance that only a distinguished singer-songwriter and performer such as Shaka can illuminate.
Priding herself on a career substantially built off of a strong commitment to music making without professional assistance yet, Emma Shaka is constantly applying hard-working principles to the music she creates. The hard work applications haven’t formed without persistence and dedication, something she learned early on in her childhood. Music rang in her ears and spoke clarity since she began singing at church during her childhood, constantly driving her life, especially once she established herself and decided to choose music for a living. Many of her early projects featured covers that her friends accompanied her on. Constantly looking for ways to progress, Shaka quickly felt the need to make her own songs, even persuading male friends to perform Jewel songs over Metallica ones. The singer-songwriter slowly combined years of experience and practice into her own music-making process. Following previous workings in rock cover bands, evolving as a vocal teacher in China, and singing with a jazz band at corporate events, Emma continues to live by the principle of “making music for a living, instead of doing music.” She establishes that such a mindset formed after returning to Reunion Island. After receiving no financial support for her current project as an indie artist, hiring and managing both session players and engineers, among composing and writing all songs, Emma seemingly shatters all implications of restraints, incomparable to others who choose dependency over independency.
Now based in France, Emma Shaka doesn’t work solely on her own, with the help of David.H. Ortola (bass), Vincent Perotti (percussion), James Le Joliff (guitar). James and Emma mainly represent the project at the forefront. Before even encountering David and Vincent, Emma and James tried out five different drummers and four bass players within a year, as the project began in 2010. The match was easily made, considering David’s masterful knowledge and understanding of guitar and bass and Vincent’s quick ability to adapt, since he managed to learn all songs only a few months before the début album released. While, Shaka manages all aspects of the project single-handedly as far as the creative process ensues, James persistently aids in all technical issues. After working together for seven years throughout a myriad of projects, the connection generated between James and Emma is unequivocally unmet by any other combination. They stand as four people on stage with the rawness of Emma’s voice backed consistently by the instrumental trio. The product has been edgy drumming, piercing guitars, and slappy bass strengthened by the semblance of Adele in Shaka’s vocals. The results have received praise for reminding listeners of Joan Jett, Joplin, and Anouk. However, Shaka credits Nirvana, the Rolling Stones, AC-DC, Alanis Morissette, and Green Day as her inspirations. Those artists perhaps inspired and influenced Emma, but her musical intuition guided her towards an album she considers herself proud of: her début album, Who I Am (2012).
Female-fronted bands tend to entice misconceptions, but Emma Shaka’s Who I Am establishes a foundation combined rock and pop roots that everyone can enjoy. The work captures the sensitive person that Shaka is while transforming all of her fears and frustrations into self-made compositions. Emma has a message to spread and she isn’t shy about it, especially on Who I Am. Songs like “Let Me Try” highlight Emma’s released frustrations, when she eagerly speaks about the foreseeable change needed in society, voicing her concern over consumer habits and ecological issues. Building on the momentum of redefined pop/rock is also her current single “Can You Hear Me.” Alexa Spieler of ReviewYou.com states that “Emma displays her vocal ability, unparalleled by any other vocalist in the industry now,” concerning Shaka’s current single. The recorded experience of her single can now be visualized by the music video that she produced, on YouTube. Concerning, a potential succeeding single “Sex Away,” Spieler declared that “she [Emma] epitomizes what it means to be a true rock star, glimpses of Joan Jett conveyed through her strong vocals and rawness.” The title track has even been described as “Superb, absolutely superb, as Emma Shaka touches your heart.”
The album is divided into two parts, constructing an album that is aurally pleasing for both pop and rock lovers. The first half is defined by more rock elements versus pop, whereas the other half is defined by pop music, successfully creating a refreshing album that resonates with both pop and rock music listeners. Keep in mind, Shaka places an emphasis on immersing herself in all aspects of her artistry. The tattooed tongue portrayed on the Who I Am album cover wasn’t without Shaka’s guidance, implementing her creative control. Bodi Lorant from GraphicBull worked on the project, but Emma possesses a creative consciousness that arose amidst the artwork progression, hoping to express the inner rocker in her music.
Though Who I Am may have recently been released, it hasn’t dawned on Emma to pause her music career nor does she plan on following that path. In hopes of expanding her audience and feeding her drive to conquer the world, Emma plans on touring the U.S. and Canada, if monetary means permit, and hopes to begin recording her next album in 2014. Before venturing out to North America, Emma notes that she has formed contacts throughout Asia and Europe, hoping to explore new venues and reach new audiences with a tour on both continents. Emma is even working on properly recording each song at each of the concerts, with intentions to release a concert DVD. She has mastered various roles as a songwriter, performer, and even as an album artwork selector, but now determined to continue on her ever-evolving career path. The future deems itself bright for Shaka, who has set her sights on achieving success that others may stigmatize as impossible. But, Emma is no stranger to overcoming obstacles. Making it in the music industry is not an easy task, but with the consistent perseverance and commitment she displays that is combined with the helping of others with her project, in the future, she hopes to find thousands of fans at her concerts, finding herself amongst the greatest in Rolling Stone and Billboard, the strength in numbers tangible. Emma adds, “I cannot tell where I will or would like to be in 10 years from now. My goal in my music career is to make it.”
On June 16, 2013, Emma Shaka performed at the prestigious Alhambra Concert Hall in Paris, where she participated in the Zic Me Up contest one of the most popular music competition for unsigned artists in France. Zic Me Up contest is often referred to as a “talent booster” and includes a panel of judges made of notorious music industry professionals. Out of 8,000 bands from France as well as other countries Emma Shaka made it to the top 10, another huge honor for Shaka and her band.
Emma Shaka has grown in popularity over the past year and for good reasons, audiences have been stunned with the quality of music Shaka writes and sings as well as how energetic and captivating her live performances are, she has come a long way from the small island of Reunion and is now ready to storm more stages with her band, fans, and supporters.