“Shit happens. People aren’t always as strong as they wish they could be.” That is the mantra of singer/songwriter Shaylen, who is both equal parts veteran and neophyte to the music industry. A former pop group member turned solo star, Shaylen is geared to bare her soul in a way that many artists struggle with through their work, starting with her debut single “El Dorado.” Welcome to the world of a rising powerhouse who is back…for the very first time.
Born in Chattanooga, TN but raised in Dallas, TX, Shaylen was musically inclined since birth. “Basically when I came out of the womb, I came out singing,” she says with a laugh. Starting in church and moving to musical theater, Shaylen eventually became classically trained in piano and took master classes at the world renowned Septien Entertainment Group (home to other superstars like Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato). At 11, an opportunity arose for Shaylen to join a group called Savvy. “We sang, acted, and danced and did a bunch of shows around Texas,” she recalls. By the time Shaylen was a sophomore in high school, Savvy was offered an opportunity to star in a reality/situation comedy show from Doreen Spicer of The Proud Family fame. The show was called The Wannabes Starring Savvy and yielded significant success overseas, offering the group a chance at global touring. Some contractual squabbles following their buzz single “Young And Reckless” left Savvy searching for the next step.
Shaylen suggested to her group mates that they move out to Los Angeles as an attempt to continue their careers. “Let’s just say within a matter of like six months I went from having a nice chunk of money to having no money and having to work at a bar seven nights a week trying to save up to move to out LA,” she adds. The struggle continued in Los Angeles, as the rest of Savvy returned home to Texas to pursue everyday lives and Shaylen stayed to work multiple jobs in the hopes of finding her way back into the recording world. It was her former producer Jeremy Skaller who ultimately started managing Shaylen and she was free to return to what she loved.
The music industry had so drastically changed in such a short amount of time. “The era where I came from was you had to sing, act, and dance and be the best at it, and all of a sudden it was like night and day when everybody was just social media famous,” she remarks. “People were getting famous off YouTube covers. I was so confused. I had no clue.” Shaylen took to Vine and began a sizeable buzz through mash-ups and covers of other Pop hits.
But her manager urged her to find her identity through songwriting. “He told me, ‘You’re going to write your way into a record deal.’” She inked a publishing deal with Pulse and took to Soundcloud to reach out to EDM producers, landing some key features on tracks like “Warrior” with DJ Chuckie and ChildsPlay and “I’m OK” with Manila Killa and AObeats. Her single “Take It Back” in mid-2018 proved that Shaylen was far from stopping anytime soon. Her growing success reached the ears of Republic Records, and the rest as they say is history.
Shaylen’s debut with Republic will detail her journey, including the highs and lows of both love and loss, starting with the infectiously dark single “El Dorado,” which she says was inspired by the myth of Colombia’s Lost City Of Gold. This city was rumored to be completely covered in gold. She explains further, “but also it’s about a man in search of the city of gold. I am the gold.” It’s empowering, yet unapologetic—something that Shaylen prides herself on through her road to self-discovery. “I’m definitely a feminist,” she explains, “and I'm very unapologetic with who I am. It’s not easy to get there. It's definitely been a process and a journey of figuring out this is me.”
It’s an inspirational tale that anyone can relate to, from any walk of life. “People aren’t perfect,” she admits. “I want people to really walk away from my music and know that these songs are representations of me and my stories, and even when you seem like you have it all together, you don’t and you don’t have to…and it’s totally fucking okay to cry.”