Dancehall/pop star Shenseea says she intends to help bridge the gap between the genre’s past and its future.
“I want to help bridge that gap between Dancehall – where it was, and now,” the 26-year-old told Billboard’s Tetris Kelly, while the two shared a space at the Soho Desert House, following her Coachella debut earlier this month.
Further shedding light on that goal, and with reference to her recently released single, Curious, the 26-year-old explained: “I wanted to bring back a nostalgic feeling with the old school Dancehall and mix it with a modern sound. A lot of people who know about the culture is like ‘Yo, we haven’t heard this sound in a long time,’ and that’s exactly what we were aiming for.”
Curious, which boldly details the star’s ‘freaky’ interest in other women, premiered on April 13, two days before Shenseea’s Coachella performance.
The song’s accompanying music video, directed by Arrad, also aligned with the star’s new-meets-old mission. It featured modern depictions of old, sexual innuendos – such as the dripping honeycomb – while also throwing it back to old school Dancehall fashion, maximizing on its Dancehall Queen-esque vibe, while also highlighting the signature Mesh Marina and bedazzled, shiny clothing.
The brief sit-down with Billboard News also saw Shenseea relishing the accomplishment of gracing the Coachella stage, and touched on how mindful she was of the moment.
She shared: “I’ve been waiting on this moment for such a long time. I just gotta give God thanks and try the relish the moment because it’s going by pretty fast.”
Despite her commitment to continuing Dancehall culture and bridging the divide, the mission hasn’t exactly been smooth for the Trending Gyal. Just last month, she had to fend off accusations that she had ditched her Jamaican accent.
“Mi accent can neva lef’. Born an’ raise inna Jamaica from mi yiy deh a mi knee—weh yuh mean? Dis nah guh nuh weh,” Shenseea responded via an Instagram Live session.
She explained that her perceived ‘American accent’ was merely a skill needed to navigate the American market. “Mi deh a foreign now suh mi haffi twang. Yaad gyal haffi know how fi twang when yuh come a foreign, yuh know?”
Fans even questioned the artist’s authenticity when she revealed recently that her new music would be “Dancehall that Americans can understand.”
That point was further underscored by the star’s approach to her Coachella debut, which, she explained to Teen Vogue, in another interveiw, primarily involved targeting the US audience.
“I was trying to engage mostly people in the States because I felt that [Coachella] culture was going to be a lot of people who are not from my ethnicity or my nationality, which is Jamaican and the Caribbean,” said Shenseea, who was explaining her set list decisions and the vibe she was going for.
“So, I made a set list to appeal more to the audience that I thought was going to be there, because I do a mixture of Dancehall, but then I have the rap and Pop side of me,” she added.
Watch the Billboard interview below.