The Online Portfolio of Dev Gillespie

Starshell: “A Star is Born” (Full Blast Magazine)

Starshell: “A Star is Born” (Full Blast Magazine)


In the music industry there is always more going on than what meets the eye. Sometimes the listener never knows who actually wrote that song that they love jamming to. Song writer and emerging singer and performer Starshell  is that girl who can create hits with the pen and paper or hit the stage and tear it down just the same! Signed to the legendary Mary J Blige’s record label, Starshell is a fresh face and amazing talent that is ready to show the world that she has always had what it takes to be a great artist whether she is behind the scence or making the scene! 

Growing up in the late 80’s and early 90’s it was inevitable for Starshell to have an authentic taste for music, specifically R&B and Hip Hop. As Starshell began defining herself and becoming familiar with all types of music genres she was well on her way to becoming a star. Always having a passion for writing Starshell began to turn her short stories into poems and poems into lyrics. Developing her own writing camp and networking Starshell found herself in a position that would ultimately change her life. Starshell kept her love for music locked down which lead her to one of her biggest breaks, starshellproducing Kanye West’s hit “Love Lockdown”. Not too many people can capture the heart of great talent the way Starshell has. We got a chance to speak with Starshell and she tells us how she met Mary J Blige,gives us a speak peek at her debut album,and let’s us know exactly how this 80’s baby developed her own sound. 

FBM: You were born in the late 80’s and grew up in the 90’s. How did growing up in that music era influence you? 

Starshell: It is all of my influence as far as my music. In the late 80’s and 90’s as you know everything was about the new. From the 70’s funk bands into the 80’s it was about rebellion, it was about new sound, it was about collective sounds. Then in the 90’s hip hop was really big and R&B became hip hop beats with R&B singers like Mary J Blige. The melting pot became so crazy and collective during that time it was such a huge influence on me and when I feel in love with music. For myself and my music I try to bring back that fun that I experienced and witnessed as a kid.

FBM: How old were you when you first started writing music?

Starshell: I started writing in like 3rd or 4th grade. As far back as I remember I loved writing, but my writing went from books and stories to poetry and then to lyrics so I’ve always been a writer at heart. I started writing music in high school and in college.

FBM: Do you come from a musical background?

Starshell: I do. Neither of my parents were trained musicians, but there was always music in the household. My mom getting dressed to go out; she’d be blasting Madonna, Prince,she’d be blasting samba and salsa music from South America. Then with my dad he’d always give me music lesson literally every morning when he drove me to school he’d give me a different music lesson. I’d listen to the Isley Brothers, James Brown, and all the stuff that he grew up on so there was always music in my life since the beginning. 

FBM: Before the success of Kanye’s “Love Lockdown” who were artists that you’ve worked with and did the success of that song change your life in anyway?

Starshell: Before that record I had only worked with local artist in DC. I had a writing camp in DC called “The Secret Society” and we use to write and do performances around Howard and everywhere in DC. I did hooks and stuff writing for like Fabolous and a lot of rappers that I never really got placement for,but “Love Lockdown” was the big changer for me. It was like all my hard work showed me this could become something real for me.

FBM: You’re the first female signed to Mary J Bliges label. Why do you think being signed to her label was the best move for you?

Starshell: Like I told you when I was in college I had my writing camp. For us it was following in Puff’s footsteps going back and forth from DC to New York on trains or how ever we could get there. I was working on my demo in DC with my friends in my writing camp and when I come to New York we’d just network and try to pass out the demos and I eventually started working with producer based out of Atlanta,but he was in New York. He ended up introducing me to Kendu Isaacs who is Mary’s husband and also her partner at Matriarch as CEO. He listened to my demo (laughs) which was really really rough,but what he did notice was that the writing was great and that the ideas were great. So what he said to me was “Hey, if I put you with some real producers and real writers you could be really really dope. Come by the studio tomorrow night and try out a writing session with Mary.” Of course I was flabbergasted and nervous, but I showed up the next night and she was there writing with Marsha Ambrosius from Floetry and Mary and I kicked it off from the beginning on a personal level first and then on a music level. One thing lead to another and a year later I got signed to her label.

FBM: Who are some features on you album “Liberation”?

Starshell: The album “Liberation” means so much to me because it’s been a long time coming and it symbolizes the liberation of things that I’ve been through in the writing and it was been therapeutic for me. I have a bunch of features on it. I also call producers features because their collaboration with me means so much. Jermaine Dupri is on the record, Neyo co wrote some stuff with me, Busta Rhymes, Kanye West,and Big Sean. I’ve been blessed to work with some great artist for my debut album.

FBM: Who are some artist you’d like to work with?

Starshell: I’m really looking forward to working with Pitbull. His style is very similar to mine. The pop genre with the Latin flare. I’d love to work with Prince; he’s my idle. I would love to either have him produce something for me or write something for me. Or maybe he has something in the archives like “Hey, you’re the perfect person for this!” (laughs) That’s a dream.

FBM: Do you like being behind the scenes or being a performer more? Or is it two different feelings?

Starshell: I love the performer more! In this business it’s about networking,years of studying and developing and then you get to break out. I remember the first time I went to see Mary perform she took me on the road with her on her “Love Soul” tour and she use to watch the opening act; Miguel was the opening act, and I just felt chills everything I saw him get on stage, every time I saw Mary get on stage. I’d be like “Ahhh I want that to be me so bad!” That feeling when you’re a performing artist is crazy there is nothing that could replace that. 

FBM: Do you have any shows coming up or places we should be looking for you? 

Starshell: I do! I have the “Birthday Girl Party” tour. It kicked off July 27th and we will be going all the way through the fall. We are making stops on the “Pit World” tour which is Pit Bull’s world tour so I’ll be on that one for three weeks. After that we are making stops on Mary J Blige’s “Liberation” tour so I’ll be on that for about a month. We’re doing a “Back to School” tour also. We’ll be at a lot of locations clubs and in-between on tours. We have a party bus so we’re just going to be partying the whole time. (laughs)

Make sure you follow Starshell on Twitter @Starshell and check her website out for updates!

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