Today we’d like to introduce you to Shanni Azami.
Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I was raised in a city full of creatives: Los Angeles. Growing up, I was always aware of LA’s reputation for attracting artists. To prove it further, all through school I was surrounded by so much talent that it was kind of intimidating. Sure, I took some piano and visual arts classes, and I was always doing some sort of art project in my free time, but I never felt like I was a “real” artist like other people I knew. In my head, I just wasn’t good enough to really pursue art full time. I did, however, know that I was good at concrete classes like math and science. There was always a right answer to get and a system I could follow, so my insecurity couldn’t get to me when I knew I was getting things correct. So, when it came time for me to choose a focus for university, I chose math. To be completely honest, I didn’t much enjoy being a math major as much as I enjoyed my minor in education. I found one of my passions was teaching math and I ended up tutoring in the subject after graduating. I then taught high school for a year before I went on to managing my own math tutoring center. I didn’t forget about my art, nor did I stop creating, but I did keep it on the down low and didn’t show much of my art to anyone who wasn’t my close friend or family.
At some point along the way, I started experimenting with writing as a source of art therapy. I tried not to put pressure on myself to write everything perfectly or fully articulate what I was feeling or thinking, just wrote whatever came to my head. I realized that when I was writing, everything came out with its own sort of rhythm, and that’s when I really started writing with the intention of turning my words into songs. I set piano chords to the songs and recorded them on my phone so I didn’t forget how they went, and that’s where they stayed for a while. Since most of these songs were about emotions and thoughts that I kept close to my heart, I was almost embarrassed to share them with anyone. Eventually though, I mustered enough courage to show one of my closest friends what I had recorded. With a lot of effort, she convinced me to let her play some of them for her brother, who works in music engineering and production. From there, things kind of took off. I found another passion in songwriting and singing and released two of my own songs and one feature on Spotify in June of 2021. I’ve also ghost-written on a few tracks for up and coming artists and am currently working with a couple of producers with the intention of writing songs for both growing and established artists. Of course, I haven’t stopped writing for myself either and hope to release more music in the coming years. It’s been a long journey of self-discovery, but I am finally able to think of myself as the artist that I am.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
My main obstacle was really myself. I think this is true for a lot of people, we end up being our own worst critics and convincing ourselves that what we create isn’t good enough. The biggest challenge then becomes overcoming our own ego. Being able to release the fear of judgment and the fear of getting things wrong. I really had to work on my self-confidence in order to get to the place I am today, and it’s still something that I have to work on consistently.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
So far, I have released two of my songs on streaming platforms: Easy and Tired. Easy has an alternative pop vibe about being in love with a best friend while Tired takes on more of a classic blues-inspired vibe about struggling with mental health. You can find my artist page by searching for “shanni” on Spotify and Apple Music. I also feature on a song by Gal Bushy called COMA, which explores more of an edgier side of my vocals for the rock anthem.
Is there any advice you’d like to share with our readers who might just be starting out?
Take action. Don’t stew in feelings of “what if something bad happens” or “there are so many other people who are better at this than me”. You are the only you to exist, and nobody thinks like you or can do what you do because every single one of us is unique. Put yourself out there and remember that the worst that can happen is never as bad as what we dream up in our heads. Don’t let yourself be the one to hold you back.
- Instagram: @shanniazami
- Twitter: @smashinitt
- Other: https://open.spotify.com/artist/4MQJ9pPrUtIlYxsDUiOqEb?si=g6zOnQznQ1eFpT-uOBG7rg&dl_branch=1&nd=1&utm_medium=organic&product=open&%24full_url=https%3A%2F%2Fopen.spotify.com%2Fartist%2F4MQJ9pPrUtIlYxsDUiOqEb%3Fsi%3Dg6zOnQznQ1eFpT-uOBG7rg%26dl_branch%3D1&feature=organic&_i=rQMxB9OpOfRtpjj8mfmt9%2F8dYy3NyUuY7mitlUF7xMfW55LHuXHw5dhxT13WBr17&_branch_match_id=970767866108445645
All photos taken by myself or Sharon Bushy