Shani Rigsbee ( SHANI), is part of a rare power pack of American stars that are equally fluent both on stage, recordings and on screen. Her credits as a Recording Artist – Singer, Composer and Producer appear in major motion pictures and she has performed at some of the world’s most prestigious venues
After relocating to Los Angeles at the end of her high school years, she honed her talents and was introduced to a wide range of International music. She was then invited to tour, write and record with some of the entertainment industry’s finest – both globally famous such as International Pop Icon, ANDY and as well as an array of Artists. Soon her work became featured in film, television, and new media with a special emphasis on globally diverse projects. With 4 Solo albums released Internationally, she has also released a variety of singles and collaborations. Her musical, humanitarian venture called “We Hear Your Voice”, was an original song penned and produced by Shani and features some of the World’s greatest voices singing in solidarity and unity with top Producers and musicians in the industry lending support.
She has parlayed her skills both in the music world and her experience as both a performer on screen and stage into also producing and directing. The Warner Brothers released feature film, AMERICAN WRESTLER features Shani as a singer in the end title credit song she co-wrote called “Rise” also performed with ANDY and the music video features Shani as also Director. She has created and performed works for many other television and features which include her song, “El Llamar de Pasión – Call of the Wild” in the ACADEMY AWARD WINNER for Best Picture, CRASH. On screen, Shani has played a variety of roles from a sultry femme fatale to a seductive ancient temptress. In GUARDIAN ANGEL, she plays a Detective and has also written and performed the theme / end credit song “Far and Away” for the film. Shani was the Featured Vocalist in the 20th Century Fox epic, ONE NIGHT WITH THE KING and also appeared in and provided music for THE HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG (Dreamworks). In THE KEEPER – THE LEGEND OF OMAR KHAYYAM (Guide Company Films) with Academy Award Winner Vanessa Redgrave, she played the exotic “Court Entertainer” and was also the Executive Producer of the soundtrack and created original music for the film. One of her first major credits was being chosen as the featured Vocalist for Sony Playstation’s PARASITE EVE, a mega popular and ground-breaking International Hit. Her debut film role was the feature film CROSSWORLDS with Josh Charles and Jack Black and she also has several episodic television credits in her archives from her earlier ingénue days in Los Angeles.
Her upcoming project CITY OF CROWS is scripted feature film where she serves as a Producer and is also a featured cast member and will provide the film’s theme song.
Shani has also worked in many charitable, humanitarian and service-oriented capacities, and having her own first hand experiences battling a life-threatening illness with Ovarian cancer, she felt her path enlightened and has dedicated much of her personal and professional life to causes she believes in. She has served on Non Profit Boards and been on Host Committees and performed in countless high profile charitable events. She also served as Producer of the 2008 Presidential Inaugural Purple Ball’s show in Washington D.C with Performances with IL DIVO. An avid Animal Welfare advocate and committed to those must vulnerable, she is the Founder and President of a Non Profit organization, Voices Out, Inc www.voicesout.org which gives voice and aid to children and animals in abusive, neglectful and abandoned conditions.
We had a chat with her:
Thanks for your time today! How has 2019 been treating you?
Probably more fair than others and for that I’m grateful! : )
Musically, did you approach this year any differently than you guys did last year? Yes, I felt more empowered than ever! I didn’t question the inspiration or messaging or flow. Whether it was the right time, who it was “for”. I just followed instincts strongly.
Where does this interview find you today? Is there music playing in the background? If so, what is it? What kind of music do you listen to when you are working? What music gets you instantly out of a bad mood? Today, I sit in my office area, where I try to focus. I have so many distractions with phones and input that I actually shut it down in order to hear myself think or become inspired to communicate properly! Such a non specific answer I know but I just love GOOD music. Probably if in a bad mood, needs to have some soulful rhythm and melody to capture my spirit and make me really feel all the way through. I have certain Artists or songs that will help me connect to that.
Growing up, have you always wanted to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory? Yes! My father had the best record collection. He was also a drummer and the drums were set up in our den area and he would play along to amazing Artists – Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind and Fire and so many others. And I actually could sit on his lap with my arms over his and get to ride the high hat and snare or do drum fills! I think my appreciation to rhythm came from this time.
If you weren’t a musician today, what else could you see yourself doing? Probably something involving Interior Design or with Animals
I always like to ask artists about where they came from and how that city or town has influenced them as an artist now.
I came from a town called Hot Springs, Arkansas. Growing up I just knew it was a National Park, a beautiful place with lots of lakes and small town but fun living. I also knew that it had deep ties to Al Capone era which gave it this interesting historical twist with various restaurants, hotels and bath houses that were from that time so it was and is still visually unique. Bill Clinton is from my home town and I think when he made the leap from being a Governor to the President of the United States, it really cemented to me that truly anything was possible.
Let’s talk about your newest SINGLE called “EVERYTHING”. Where did the inspiration for this SINGLE come from?
I just felt along with my other co-writers that the actual Voice of Inspiration is powerful! That listening to it, allowing the flicker of an idea or desire to turn into a strong burning flame that sets you up for being all that you want to be is not an idea but a right. And that no one should interfere regardless of who you are or where you come from. And separate to that feeling of wanting to experience “greatness” is an equal idea – a line from the song, “You’re perfect when you’re doing nothing”. Meaning, just BEING is enough. Being who you are authentically is also a solid and worthy place to be.
How do you think that being a musician has helped you live your best life? Can you talk about the joy that it brings you today?
I’ve been able to travel the world, to meet so many people and connect through non verbal language and not defined by borders of any kind. That is so exciting! When you realize that ultimately people all want the same things, are inspired often by the same ideas but just in slightly different ways – it makes me feel like the job of creating music is really just to find a way to tap into people’s mutual emotions. We all need to let it out, happy or sad. Crying or dancing – it’s all universal and sometimes if really done right – the actual language isn’t even a barrier. It’s something that the soul just understands.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
To perform and create! Working on a few feature films and doing shows and spending time with my family (including my animals) and friends and continue working for my Non Profit, Voices Out Inc. and causes I believe in.
Who are some of your very favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music?
So many! But I think the ones I love and appreciate the most are those who weren’t / aren’t defined by genres. They set out to make great songs and recordings. I love R & B and soul and anything rhythmic – Internationally. But also a great melody is undeniable – such as the Beatles, The Bee Gees, Ambrosia, Babyface – all examples of just melodic songwriting that could go any direction and would work. I also love textures so a gritty rock guitar is always on the menu for me! Artists, like Prince, Michael Jackson, Sting, Stevie Wonder captured me both lyrically and musically early on as they covered a lot of ground. I knew that they defied musical barriers of time and space. This was big for me in just following inspiration and what felt good. I see Bruno Mars doing this – not staying in one lane and he excels in that. Rhianna has a vast sound. And I really appreciated Adele’s sound of just doing Her. Speaking of H.E.R. – she’s also great as is Snoh Aalegra. I just love it when it’s executed right which is not always easy to do… hard to put your finger on but when it’s right it’s just right. A lot of Artists are also collaborating now with different backgrounds and making something totally unique such as Ed Sheeran and also this is very cool. I like to listen and discover music from other Countries also, the Latin and Middle Eastern Markets. There’s just so many to mention!
What musicians would you absolutely love to work with in the future? Sadly, some of who I mentioned aren’t with us anymore but anyone I’ve referenced already as well as so many others I haven’t would be amazing. For me, I’m always open to collaboration and being able to stretch and grow!
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
I didn’t realize it but I was told that it usually has this “light at the end of the tunnel” message even when it’s been on the sad side. So I guess for me, I try to share an experience whether it’s my own, someone I care about or a message from a film I’ve worked on that taps into your soul somehow and connects you to something – your own life force that keeps you driving forward. And that drive can also happen with rhythm. I hope that people feel better about themselves or their situation after hearing something I’ve done and then want to affect the world around them with the same intention… that is the greatest gift to me that could never be purchased!
MUSIC VIDEO LINK : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ie1SVR9VpnY