by: Nadirah Simmons
I first saw Schenay Mosley during the NYC stop on Smino’s Hoopti Tour. A singer and multi-instrumentalist whose music embodies Alternative Soul and R&B, she commanded the stage with ease and set the tone for the show, something that few lead acts can even do. Mosley, who moved to Chicago to pursue her education and music career attended a rehearsal for Smino and has been singing with him ever since, calling the St. Louis rapper and the entire Zero Fatigue crew a “genuine family” she can trust with her thoughts and ideas.
I immediately dug into her discography, captivated by her 2018 EP Lotus. We conducted a quick interview via email about what’s influenced her artistry, her creative process and more.
How did you get into music?
I got into music when I was 4 years old. I just started singing and realized that I loved it. I use to tap my fingers on tables when I was younger and eventually my parents bought me a keyboard. It's been history ever since.
How did your upbringing and your environment influence you being an artist?
My Dad used to DJ back in the day (he still does now) and he always played music around the house. My cousin used to come over and make beats in the basement and I started learning how to produce from him. I grew up singing in the choir, taking piano lessons, you name it. I've always been drawn to the frequency of music.
Who are some of your biggest inspirations musically?
Some of my biggest inspirations are Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Erykah Badu, Aaliyah, Whitney Houston, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Sade, Marvin Gaye, Beyoncé the list goes on.
What is your creative process like?
My process varies depending on how I feel. Right now I'm letting the music flow and I'm not controlling what I say or do. I just lay it all out in the booth and clean it up later. It feels more authentic that way.
How did you link up with Smino? What has your experience touring with him and the Zero Fatigue crew been like?
One of my former friends told me he was looking for a backup singer and I agreed to come to a rehearsal--I've been singing with him ever since. And I love traveling with them, it feels like a genuine family, I know I can trust them with my thoughts and ideas. We always make sure the energy stays pure.
What is your favorite thing about being on tour?
My favorite thing about tour is seeing the look on everyone's faces when we walk on stage. I love the connection I have with the audience and I love instilling joy into their hearts through my gift.
How do you identify, and how important is your identity when it comes to creating?
I identify as a spiritual being and black woman, first and foremost. And my identity is important since it is the lens in which I'm telling my story. I also like to write things from a human perspective since I am more than the color of my skin.
What inspires you to keep going?
This indistinguishable fire inside of me, it's like I HAVE to do this. I have to share my gift and help people in a certain way and this is it.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I see myself selling out stadiums and enjoying my career with my beautiful family.