We had the good fortune of connecting with Sheilava and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sheilava, why did you pursue a creative career?
I had to. I tossed around the idea of becoming a veterinarian, going to nursing school, pursuing a career in sales, and joining the military. But I’ve always had so much going on in my mind, so many things to say, and so many ways to say them… it was only natural that I pursue a creative career and I believe the ability to create is one of the greatest gifts life has to offer. Whether you’re an artist, actor, filmmaker, songwriter, musician, writer, etc,. you have the opportunity to inspire someone each and every day. Whether you create for work, fun, pleasure, or as an outlet, you have the chance to unleash your wildest dreams, your deepest thoughts, or depict yourself and others in whatever way you choose.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Like most artists, I love telling stories through creative expression. What makes me a little different however, is that I love doing so with not just one or two artistic means, but as many as possible. Whether that be combining music, modeling, and poetry, or acting, writing, and filmmaking, I love that there are endless ways to inspire people and an infinite number of ways to say or do something. My love for creating with others bloomed from playing music in middle school, high school, and college. There’s something magical about the language of music, but even more so when you’re saying something with two, twenty, or two hundred other musicians. Each instrument and voice is beautiful in it’s own way and you can paint so many different pictures depending on the colors and shapes you choose. Performing in band, orchestra, choir, and marching band was fulfilling in so many ways, but even after completing my Master’s degree I still had the desire for more. I needed to create my own stories, paint my own pictures, and sing my own songs. It is not easy to chase your dreams and hope that people will listen to you or truly hear you along the way, and rarely is it possible that you can succeed in something entirely alone… I wouldn’t want to anyhow! I love collaborating with others and watching our dreams happen before our eyes, step by step, knowing that we are all learning and growing and building each other up. It is beautiful and much more fun, like sewing patches onto a quilt or writing a song with someone instead of doing it alone. Along the way I have learned that you cannot work with everyone and you have to say no sometimes. There are people out there that see the passion in your eyes and will try to take advantage of it, no matter the cost. Thankfully I’ve only had a couple of negative experiences but it has really taught me a valuable lesson in that you can’t always trust everyone. If a project puts your values and morals at risk, it is not worth it, no matter the pay or shiny package it is presented in. I’m grateful there are more people out there who want to build each other up and work together to make something magical. That is the most fulfilling thing about creating– it is not always about the final product, not only about the ticket sales, number of streams, or how many likes/shares/comments. It is about what you learned during the journey and how you can inspire others in the end. That is what I strive for and the mantra I try and stick to during each project.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
With the pandemic and all, it’s a little hard to pick my favorite places to eat & drink. But I will say that being outside is still very much enjoyable and nothing beats a walk around your neighborhood or a weekend hike at Lost Maples or Big Bend.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The list is a long one. There are so many people to thank, it is mind numbing. With each and every opportunity, job, gig, project, etc., comes another slew of people and creatives who helped me get there or inspired me to be better and greater for the next endeavor. We build each other up and it’s what I love about the indie scene. I wouldn’t be as confident or sure of myself and my craft without the support of my “tribe”, the people who have been there for me since day 1 of jumping head on into my artistic journey. That of course includes my closest friends and immediate family, but especially my husband Mike and my best friend Anton Savenko. There were also people who barely knew me in the beginning but believed in me every step of the way, so much so they do whatever they can to be there for every project or gig that comes my way… my dear friend and makeup artist Pati Currie, my photographer friend Christopher De La Rosa, and my band mates, Krieger (drums), Tre (bass), and Stevie (keys, sax, flute), There are So. Many. other people that are near and dear to me and I wouldn’t be who or where I am without their love and support. They know who they are, but I hope they also know how much they mean to me.
Other: soundcloud.com/sheilavamusic IMDb.me/sheilava sheilava.bandcamp.com
Al Zavala, Anton Savenko, Jennifer Rice, Sparrows Heart Photography, Ryan J. Delamater, Diego A. Flores, Ashleigh Brennan, Blended Sense, Louie Ayuma