Shanne Dandan spreads self-love and empowerment with her music

Shanne Dandan spreads self-love and empowerment with her music

“I guess that’s how I wanna be known, as someone who somehow touch their lives through what I do.”

Photos by Mohd Sarajan

 

You may have come across singer-songwriter Shanne Dandan’s viral audition video for The Voice Kids. In it, a fresh-faced, 12-year-old Shanne belts out her own rendition of UDD’s Tadhana. 

Watching that video and going back to her work as a musician now, it’s easy to dismiss her as someone who subscribes to the very Pinoy birit culture — you know the kind: powerhouse vocals and popstar charisma. 

Now a sophomore Interior Design major, Shanne wants to set herself apart from that stereotype. While she’s still signed under Viva Entertainment, she’s made it clear that she wants to carve out her own identity as an artist whose creative influences go deep. 

We got to sit down with Shanne to talk about her experience on The Voice Kids, having the guts to stick it up to Viva Entertainment’s Boss Vic, and the workings of her creative dynamic with her boyfriend, IV of Spades’s Zild Benitez. 

 

Young STAR: Hi Shanne! You started in the industry at 13, diba? How did you end up joining The Voice Kids

Actually, hindi ko talaga gusto sumali ng The Voice kasi growing up I was a really shy child. Sobrang loser yung feeling ko dati kasi I was always bullied in school because of my hair. Lalo na nang may OPM song na sumikat, yung “kulot salot” (sings the tune). Dumating sa point  na tinatago ko talaga yung hair ko. Nagb-braid ako, or nagbu-bun ako lagi kasi ayoko na ma-bully. Nung nalaman ng mom ko na may auditions yung The Voice, I was 12. Pinilit niya ako na mag-audition. And out of 1000 na nag-audition, pang 600, 680 ganun. Sabi ko, hindi ako makukuha dito. Hanggang sa nagulat ako na ‘yun, na [kaabot] ako hanggang sa last round ng auditions. I just went with the flow, I just sang what I wanted to sing. Hindi ko kinanta yung mga typical birit na mga songs kasi nung bata ako, lagi kong sumasali sa mga singing contests and laging ganun yung mga kanta. 

 

Naka-discover ako ng iba’t-ibang genres, ng jazz and soul. Doon ko na-discover na, “Ah, hindi lang pala birit dapat yung kanta. Hindi lang pala birit yung magaling na singer.”

 

Nung time na yun, before I joined The Voice Kids, dun ko na-discover yung depth ko in my listening to music. Naka-discover ako ng iba’t-ibang genres, ng jazz and soul. Doon ko na-discover na, “Ah, hindi lang pala birit dapat yung kanta. Hindi lang pala birit yung magaling na singer.” So ayun, nag-explore ako and nahanap ko yung Tadhana ng UDD. 

So what did you learn going on The Voice, or singing reality shows? 

When I joined The Voice Kids, nung natalo ako, I was really devastated. Sobrang iyak ako nang iyak noon. Bumalik yung sadness of being bullied back then. Naramdaman ko na I’m not enough, but I learned to be grateful doon sa part na yun kasi I got to show people who I am, what I sing, what my genre is. After, ayoko na sumali ng kahit anong competitions. Yun yung naging starting way ko para mag-explore pa ng ibang arts na hindi lang music. So nag-start ako mag-paint, sketch. Dahil na sobrang sad ako nun, nag-start ako sa ibang hobbies ko na ginagamit ko hanggang ngayon kasi I’m an arts student. 

I want to move and inspire people through my art. I guess that’s how I wanna be known, as someone who somehow touch their lives through what I do.

Ayoko na nga sumali ng singing competitions, eh. Three years after ng The Voice Kids, may audition na naman. Sa TV5, yung Born to Be a Star kasi pinapasali na naman ako ng mom ko. Ayoko na nga nun kasi yun nga, sobrang na-depress ako. So ginawa ko na lang sa audition, yung kinanta ko, sobrang hindi pang-contest na kanta. If you know Bust Your Windows by Jazmine Sullivan, hindi siya sikat, pero hindi rin siya pang-contest. Kinanta ko siya knowing that hindi ako matatanggap. Pero right after, nilapitan ako ng judge. To God be the glory, naging grand champion. Sobrang proud din ako na tinuturo nila na ‘wag kang matakot to take risks and to show who you really are an artist. Kasi minsan, may mga artists ngayon na pag napupunta sa TV, somehow nagcha-change bigla yung art nila, biglang nagiging mainstream or nadi-distort. May mga friends ako na sobrang gagaling na singers pero ngayon, parang sobrang nagco-conform sila sa mga social stereotypes, lalo na sa OPM ngayon. Natutunan ko sa journey na ‘yon na wag kang matakot na pakita sa mga tao yung bago, na hindi pa nila naririnig

 

Napansin ko nga na ganun yung mga younger artists, or mga ka-age mo

Fearless, wala kaming paki sa kung ano man na form na media na ganito dapat yung OPM. Parang naging genre na yung OPM. OPM is OPM. It’s not a genre. Itong kanta na ‘to, OPM ito but it’s also jazz, electronic, ganun. Na-box kasi tayo over the years. 

 

“Naka-discover ako ng iba’t-ibang genres, ng jazz and soul. Doon ko na-discover na, “Ah, hindi lang pala birit dapat yung kanta. Hindi lang pala birit yung magaling na singer.”

 

I mean your direction is very indie, creatively.  

I signed to Viva for maybe two years, and I stopped kasi pinipilit nila ako to be someone na hindi naman ako. Dahil na wide yung vocal range ko, parang gusto nila ako maging next Sarah G. Yun din yung mga young singers. Hindi naman siya masama. Ako, when I was a kid I also looked up to Sarah G. Parang medyo naba-box yung mga young artists. Kasi pag pop nang pop lang ang kanta, hindi mae-enhance yung voice, yung mga techniques and singing, mga texture mo ng voice, so you really have to sing other genres as well. Nag-stop ako for two years kasi ayun, nagda-dance workshop na ako bigla, nag-acting workshop. Isang summer ‘yun. Sumasayaw ako ng mga Korean songs, mga dancy songs tapos kumakanta. ‘Tas bigla akong nagising na, ‘ay bat ganito. hindi ako to.’ So I stopped. 

I asked Boss Vic of Viva [Entertainment] na gusto kong mag-aral, at pinayagan niya naman ako. Senior high yun, so I took up the Music, Arts, and Design track. Sobrang nadagdagan na yung knowledge sa art, yung production design ko sa mga music video. When I got back — kasi may mga subjects kami na mga management, art management — doon ko nalaman kung ano ang gagawin ko. Naghanda ako ng PowerPoint presentation [para kay] Boss Vic kung saan nakalagay kung ano yung gusto kong branding, kung paano gusto ko na music video, ganyan. Unang-una, shinow ko yung portfolio ko na ganyan tas parang na-impress sila na, ‘Ah alam niya kung ano yung gusto niya, alam niya yung direction talaga’. Ang saya rin kasi nasa mainstream ako na management and nagkakaroon ako ng creative freedom. 

 

You mentioned yung prod design. Ikaw yung gumawa ng prod design sa In My Prison, diba?

And Where Have You Been [My Disco]. 

 

How did that come to be?

I’ve known Zild na hindi pa sila ganun, noong nags-start pa ang IV of Spades. Noong palagi pa silang naka-all black, rakenrol. Noong time na ‘yun, it was difficult pa. That was 2015 and ‘yun din yung time na sobrang nag-explore ako sa 20th century na arts and music, literature, fashion. Sobrang nahawaan ko si Zild noon. Si Zild kasi, dati pa siyang nakikinig ng ganyang klaseng music pero hindi niya inisip na sa fashion din, sa branding. Sabi ko, parang kaya niyo nga, wala pang ganun. Sobrang proud ako sa kanila kasi somehow nag-set sila ng trend, yung mga retro, mga old school. So nag-experiment kami, sa Hey Barbara. Yun yung first music video nila na medyo retro theme. Tumulong ako dun sa costume. Hindi namin na-expect na kakagatin siya ng masa. 

 

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Creatively, what’s your dynamic with Zild? He produced your singles, right? 

We inspire each other (laughs). Siya yung nag-inspire sa akin for songwriting. I’ve been writing since I was small kasi isa akong journalist noong elementary hanggang high school. Pero I never knew the magic of songwriting, na pwede palang pag-pair up yung words and melodies at the same time. [K]asi si Zild talaga is a songwriter, lagi siyang nagse-send ng mga songs sa akin, parang na-inspire na ako, gawa kaya ako ng song. The very first song I wrote is entitled Beauty and Change. It’s about my journey and how I started loving myself and praising myself. Sobrang fun din na hindi lang kami yung relationship na puro ganyan lang. We’re being productive in both sa art fields namin

Would you say that empowerment or self confidence is one of the main themes of your music, or how you would want your music to be like? 

Yeah. I can’t stress it enough. Nilabas ko yung Beauty and Change, gumawa ako ng mini music video bago akong nag-18-years-old, kasi sobrang inspired ako sa — I don’t want to call them fans — pero yung mga nagi-inspire sa akin. They always message me long messages, ‘Thank you for this, thank you for showing me this.’ And nakikita ko na nagse-send sila ng mga selfies nila, super confident nila. Yun yung first song ko, and at first hindi ko alam na yun yung magiging path ng music ko. So nag-decide ako na gusto kong mag-inspire. Not just inspire [them], pero yung parang [tulungan silang] magkakaroon ng passions sa heart nila. Yung fire talaga na ‘I’m gonna start appreciating myself’. Kasi sobrang halaga talaga ng self love, sobrang laki ng impact nito at andaming hindi mo magagawa sa sarili mo. Kasi kung hindi ka productive, hindi ka magta-try ng new things, walang mangyayari sa buhay mo. I want to move and inspire people through my art. I guess that’s how I wanna be known, as someone who somehow touch their lives through what I do.

Stream Shanne’s cover of Himig ng Pag-Ibig by Asin this Oct. 18. Follow her on Spotify, Twitter, and Instagram. Know more about Shanne with these trading cards:

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