SHEA’ “THE DOLL” LIZETTE was born and raised in Long Island,NY. Shea’ began singing and dancing at a very young for the legendary “Miss Bunny” at the “Ace Center” in Amityville,New York. In addition to being a lead vocalist in her church choir Shea’ also played the drums for the choir and Sunday services. When Shea’ reached the age of 14 she was not only a drummer but a member of the elite jazz band as a trumpet player. Shea’ was also athletic participating in basketball and gymnastic, as well as captain of her cheer leading team. While attending high school Shea’ was introduced to Andrew Spencer (producer’s edge magazine) at the age of 17.
Andrew would be the first person to record Shea’ and teach her the technical and business side of music the industry. Andrew constantly encouraged writing and recording, he even taught Shea’ how to record her own sessions. The devastation of Shea’ losing her aunt to cancer brought out even more emotion and determination. The name “doll” was given to Shea’ by her aunt and incorporated in remembrance of her spirit. Eventually Shea’ would begin to collaborate with artists from all over the United States and even overseas. Shea has released mixtapes and singles that can be found on iTunes and datpiff.com. In a recent interview Shea had the following to say to Jamsphere Magazine.
1. How long have you been doing what you’re doing and how did you get started in the first place?
Shea “The Doll” Lizette: I have been writing since I was around 12 years old, I pretty much got started in church singing in the choir as a child. In high school I used to have a few friends who also sang and any chance we got we sang. I used to beat on walls and tables and sing, rap, freestyle anything.
2. Who were your first musical influences that you can remember?
Shea “The Doll” Lizette: I remember falling in love with the tones like Anita Baker, and Toni Braxton but the first time I ever heard Sade! It was indescribable! After Side, my love for Lauryn Hill and 2pac began. Their ability to express what they felt so vividly- it was like I could touch their words.
3. Which artists are you currently listening to? And is there anyone of these that you’d like to collaborate with?
Shea “The Doll” Lizette: I’m currently listening to Johnny Rain and yes I would definitely love to collaborate with him.
4. How did you get to choose the drums and the trumpet as your preferred instruments? Especially as these are normally male-dominated instruments.
Shea “The Doll” Lizette: Well my journey with the drums also began in church. I was kinda fascinated with percussion and the effect it has on people. I remember asking the church’s drummer if he thought I could learn how to play and he said “ of course”. So from that day on David (drummers name) started teaching me what ever my little hands could handle! Now the trumpet came in to my life much earlier in elementary school. Every child who wanted to participate in band was given a test try on instruments to see what would fit them best. I remember blowing into something during this test and then voila! -the trumpet was handed to me.
5. Tell us something about your meeting up with Drew Spence (Domino Grey) and the influence he has had on you career thus-far?
Shea “The Doll” Lizette: I meet Drew around 16 years old; we were introduced by my manager at the time. I honestly don’t know where to begin with Drew he is truly an inspiration and he literally taught me mostly everything I know pertaining to music and even life lessons. By 17 I was recording myself and mixing vocals, Drew has always encouraged me to learn how to do things independently. I’ve been featured on his dance albums and rap songs which also opened my ears and mind to new and different sounds. Drew and I are still working and I have no idea what I will learn from him next but I’m always eager and ready! Hopefully composing tracks with him.
6. Studio work or performing live, which of these do you prefer most and why?
Shea “The Doll” Lizette: This is a hard one! I can’t really choose between to two and I will explain why. My studio home (Hithouse Studios) has provided such a comfortable environment for me that I pretty much live there and get lost in music. When I’m at Hithouse its therapy for me, I get to experiment with sounds, words, and emotions. However, I also enjoy hitting the stage and sharing what I’ve made in the studio with the audience. Especially when the crowd actually knows the words to your songs, it’s amazing! There is a particular feeling that words can’t express.
7. Although you are obviously competent in all, what do you consider yourself as most, a singer, a drummer or a trumpeter?
Shea “The Doll” Lizette: I’d have to say none of the above. Above all I am a writer first , its my first passion and even if I didn’t get to do any of the others I would have to write !!
8. On which song do you think you delivered your personal best performance so far, from an emotional and technical point of view?
Shea “The Doll” Lizette: On this particular mix-tape I’d have to say “Sound Robot”. I still remember hearing the track for the first time. Jimmie Bones, who produced the track, played it for me at Hithouse one night and I was in music love! It’s dark and edgy but aggressive in a way and I fell in love with the combination. I literately wrote the song in minutes, lyrically it’s a true expression of how I feel about my relationship with music. I can’t seem to get away from it at all – so “sound robot” is my ode to music thus far.
9. Which ingredient do you think makes you special and unique as a performing artist? And how did you how did you get the nickname, “The Doll”?
Shea “The Doll” Lizette: I think what makes me unique that I’ve personally noticed is I tend to sing over a lot of hip-hop beats! So when they announce my name people thinks its gonna be cute girlie stuff but then these grimey hip hop beats ring out and they are all looking at me like “what is she doing with that beat”! It’s hilarious to me every single time but its fun! The nickname “doll” was given to me by my aunt Genevieve who passed away when was 17. She would always do my hair and sometimes it would be so tight my eyes would look “chinky” and she would say “You look like a lil china doll”. After her passing I Incorporated “doll” into my name so I could always have her with me. Most people think it’s about looking like a doll but not at all.
10. If you were forced to choose only one, which emotion, more than any other drives you to stay in this tough business. Is it joy, anger, desire, passion or pride and why?
Shea “The Doll” Lizette: I would have to choose passion because although there are some days I am driven by some of the emotions you stated, I feel like they can be lost or changed easily. I personally feel like passion can never be measured and it lives inside of each and every one of us.
11. Which aspect of being an independent artist and the music making process excites you most and which aspect discourages you most?
Shea “The Doll” Lizette: The most exciting aspect is having control over your sound, image and lyrical content. The most discouraging for me is going through the motions with business…trying to learn who’s genuine and who or what is best for you as a whole. It gets very difficult sometimes.
12. Tell us something about your songwriting process. What usually comes first the lyrics or the music? And which instrument, if any, do you use as accompaniment while composing?
Shea “The Doll” Lizette: Usually the Melody comes first in my head. I make sure to always have a voice recorder with me everywhere I go because at any given moment they run through my head. Then after that, the words .
13. How involved are you in any of the recording, producing, mastering and marketing processes of your music. Do you outsource any of these processes?
Shea “The Doll” Lizette: I am 100% involved. I mostly do everything. I do record and mix my material, I have not yet mastered any tracks but I’m in the process of learning- so for now that is outsourced. As far as marketing and promoting, Hithouse handles that.
14. The best piece of advice in this business you actually followed so far, and one you didn’t follow, but now know for sure that you should have?
Shea “The Doll” Lizette: The best piece of advice I actually followed so far was from Drew and he always says: ”Can’t hurt to learn…worst case scenario: you wont use it, but at least you know how”. One thing I didn’t follow, that I regret is being in a female group! Very shaky and unpredictable but I absolutely learned my lesson!
15. At this point, as an independent artist, which is the one factor you desire most, and feel will undeniably benefit the your future (for example increased music distribution, better quality production, more media exposure, bigger live gigs etc…)?
Shea “The Doll” Lizette: What I desire most is to write for other artists, whether it be a male or female no matter the genre. I really enjoy that and if I can land a major placement that would undeniable benefit my future as a writer and artist.
16. Do you consider Internet and all the social media websites, as fundamental to your career, and indie music in general, or do you think it has only produced a mass of mediocre “copy-and-paste” artists, who flood the web, making it difficult for real talent to emerge?
Shea “The Doll” Lizette: I’d have to say a little of both because if you use any tool provided to you properly in addition to real talent, I think you should see a high success rate. On the other hand if you abuse these tool especially lacking the main ingredient with is talent, things can get confusing.
17. Tell us something about the production, the performers, the songs and any collaborations, on your mixtape “E.M.O” (expressing my obsession)?
Shea “The Doll” Lizette: On this mixtape I don’t have any vocal features but I do have some great production by “Al West” & “Jimme Bones” who are both from Long Island , NY.
18. Which song on E.M.O. best describes the sound and style you ultimately prefer and why?
Shea “The Doll” Lizette: To be honest this mix-tape was geared towards a type of dark sound so I wouldn’t say that it’s my “style” exactly but it is a portion of my style. My style is usually singing over hip hop beats and I didn’t do much of that on this mix-tape.
19. What do you think is the biggest barrier you have to face and overcome as an indie artist and performer, in your quest to achieve your goals and wider spread success?
Shea “The Doll” Lizette: The biggest barrier seems to be my skin complexion, but I love my skin color and it’s very sad that it should ever be an issue but that’s the way it is. I personally don’t think of color first I don’t see that, I only hear what needs to be heard and that’s music!
20. What is the ONE thing you are NOT willing or prepared to do EVER, in your quest to achieve a successful musical career?
Shea “The Doll” Lizette: I’m not ever willing to lose myself along the way , I’m comfortable with who I am and I have pretty much become my music so if ever lost myself that means I would lose everything I strive for.
21. Can you tell us about any new projects or ideas you will be working on in the near future?
Shea “The Doll” Lizette: My debut album willing be dropping in January 2014 entitled “The Formula” And I have a mixtape with a female rap artist “Kik Krackz” and also a mixtape with “Jimmie Bones” he also sings and raps. You can expect a lot from the Hithouse family this year! Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me. I appreciate it. Thanks.
OFFICIAL LINKS & WEBSITES: