Every now and then a female artiste rises above the cliché representation of women in Dancehall, with fresh concepts, brilliant songwriting, vocal versatility, and an unapologetic, profound sense of self.
Shaneil Muir, a refreshing triple threat who sings, raps, and deejays, is the latest to restore the faith in the future of Jamaican popular music. Though she’s no newcomer to the scene, it is undeniable that the singjay has been getting her flowers lately.
“I wanted to broaden the horizon on what a yamhead is,” Muir said during a recent interview with Onstage.
“It doesn’t have to do with being in a relationship. It has to do with prioritizing things like females who go out of their way to look a certain way for the hype of it, instead of living in their means and by how their budget should allow them… I want to be that person to remind these females and even males that you don’t have to live to impress anybody because at the end of the day if you work hard for something and that’s yours, you should be proud of it.”
The song, produced by longtime collaborator Papi Don Muziq as well as Top Braff Entertainment, has earned more than 400,000 streams on YouTube since its premiere two weeks ago. Interestingly, Muir thought her previously released sexually explicit record, 3D, would have gotten her the “big buss” as it fit in with the genre’s status quo.
Muir’s recording history traces back to 2016 when the St James-native came to Kingston to pursue a music career.
She made her major performance debut that year as a contestant of the now defunct Magnum Kings and Queens of Dancehall television show, where she placed in the top 10. She recorded Proud Side Chick for Good Good Productions after being eliminated, then migrated to the United States to live with her family. While trying to find her bearings in a new environment and dealing with family loss, Muir placed music on the back-burner.
“I was going back to school, doing two jobs actually… and in 2018 I lost two uncles in two weeks,” she shared. “My grandparents lost their house in that specific time as well and my family was taken aback. I almost lost hope. I wasn’t interested in doing music and had turned my life over in a spiritual term. I just needed that inner peace, that inner comfort. I didn’t give up on music completely, I still had a little piece of hope left to push me forward, but I needed to get through that phase. I needed to understand what I wanted in life, I needed to know where I was going from there.”
Using her trials and blessings as inspiration, Muir decided to put more energy into building her music career, an effort aided by the coronavirus pandemic.
“I had just gotten a job and got a call that I’d have to stay home because of corona… When I got the break I said probably this is time for me to rest. Then maybe a week going in mi seh mi cya rest when I have so much to accomplish so forget this corona thing, mi a go find a way for people to listen.”
She used her Instagram platform to promote her music through live videos, which has grown from a start-up viewership of 45 people, to now an average of 1300 live viewers.
Her efforts have also earned her a recent recording deal with Good Good Productions. She is also gearing up to release a new single produced by Short Boss Muzik.
Muir is also known for tracks including Blessings, Pretty Pink and Vex When which features Stylo G.