Like a musical goddess emerging from the ashes of ancient Rome’s Iron Age, SHEON is poised to captivate the world as a muse with a message. Orenda Magazine’s Ryan de Jong gets intimate with the international songstress as she opens up about her controversial music video for ‘’Second Base’’, her unique perspectives, and her forthcoming album “Xotica”.

Photos: Ron Ausilio x SHEON    |    Words: Ryan de Jong

Ryan: SHEON, your unparalleled, visual imagery is both charming and alarming. There seems to be a much deeper meaning behind the melodies through which you convey your message. Please tell us about your “Xotica” album soon to be released. What inspired this musical project?

SHEON: Xotica is about my personal beliefs, spirituality, and my point of view on life, religion, politics and humanity. You could say it’s my personal mantra. I think it will be important for my fans to be introduced to my story to better understand me as an artist. I’ve had quite a journey growing up through wars and economic instability in the former Yugoslavia. “Xotica” is my unique perspective. I’ve lived through all of that turmoil, but worked hard to achieve a better and safer life in search of the American Dream. The music on the record is contagious, pop with clever content and a meaningful message. I will admit even sometimes controversial *laughs*.

Ryan: Controversial indeed. Your 2nd single, entitled “Second Base”, combines three very polarizing subjects: SEX, RELIGION, and ABUSE. You tackle subjects verging on taboo in order to prove a point through a very specific story. How have your past experiences colored your message?

SHEON: I was inspired to write ”Second Base,” while experiencing the hypocrisy of religion. While I was attending a Catholic institution, people stereotyped me because of the way I looked and dressed. They believed themselves to be superior to me because they called themselves ”religious” people, people of God, and I did not. They held this public image of going to church, dressing properly, speaking politely and doing all things in the name of God, but in secret they acted dishonestly and promiscuously. They acted as if they could do whatever they pleased as long as no one caught them and as long as they asked for forgiveness. Like they had some magic pass which gave them exclusive rights to judge people and get out of hell. It just didn’t seem right to me.

Ryan: I think I can speak for both our readers and your fans when I say that your experiences with hypocrisy really strike a tender chord. Many of us have experienced similar character attacks based on a false notion of superiority in religion, myself included. How did this reflect in your writing process?

SHEON: When I started writing, ”Second Base,” I put myself in a character of a religious hypocrite. One who provokes and seduces a guy and admits to having sexual thoughts and desires. All so that at the end she can say that she is a good girl and that there should be no sex past the second base. To her, everything else sexual is okay and will be forgiven, as long as she remains a virgin. If you listen to the lyrics carefully, they go back and forth from seducing: “daddy come on give me some”, to refusing: “but wait hold on, I can only let you go so far.” This is exactly what some of those religious hypocrites did in the catholic institution I attended.

Ryan: I can definitely sense you were going for a theme of duality in spirituality. This was especially evident in your video for “Second Base”. Would you care to explain your thought process behind the visuals?

SHEON: The video has an additional twist to the story, which expands into my own spirituality. It starts off pointing out some of the hypocrisy in the catholic church, which we all know to be factual. Right before the song kicks in, I confess my sin of “thinking about sex” and appear at a church. There I meet this young and handsome priest, followed by a scene inside a confessional where I go deeper into confessing those sins. The images of me stripping are just reflections of thoughts and desires. The priest is in the form of a ken doll because this event doesn’t actually happen in reality. My sins are now forgiven as I confessed and that’s where ultimately a hypocrite would just go back and forth. I decided to leave it at that: in a confessional, where a religious hypocrite finds redemption for the rest of his/her life.

Ryan: When I sent out a newsletter about interviewing you, I asked our subscribers if they had any suggestions for questions I should ask you. I was inundated with emails asking about the last scenes in the video where you are, literally, flooded with a red filter. It’s definitely creepy and seems to hold great, spiritual significance for you. We would love if you elaborated more on these moments in your music video.

SHEON: The last scene is my “Spiritual Crowning.”: the moment I remember my past religion (Christianity, and my baptism) but give part of myself to this new religion, my own religion, “SHEONISM.” Where an open mind meets the best of all religions, but ignores the abuse and control that organized religion has over people. I think that being religious should be a personal choice, not something you are brought into or indirectly forced into by society or the environment that surrounds you. To everyone that belongs to an organized religion, I would ask to rethink the path of becoming a “believer”. If it’s something you found on your own, you are on the right path. If this religion is standing in your way of reaching you fullest potential then you are not free and being religious does not benefit you.

Ryan: It’s all very fascinating to me. Coming from a creative background myself, I know the amount of energy it takes to create a vision and how important it is to be true to “the process”. What is your creative process like? Do you hear music before writing lyrics or vice versa?

SHEON: I get visions and inspirations in my dreams. It’s like translating art I’m creating in a completely different dimension: the one in my head! Receiving those ideas and executing them is a process that makes me feel the most alive. I usually write lyrics to music I hear, but I’ve also written some songs where I’ve arranged the melody and lyrics before the music itself.

Ryan: It seems that this creative journey is a process that has taken you to Europe for the past few months. Where have you been specifically and what have you been up to there?

SHEON: I’ve been mainly in the Balkan area visiting my roots and exploring parts that I missed out on as a child. It was perfect timing, as I was developing my album ”Xotica”. Being surrounded by such mesmerizing landscapes is so inspiring.

Ryan: What is the future of SHEON? When can we come see your tour?

SHEON: I am working on this wild idea with my team: something that has never been done in mainstream music. It’s going to be a project that will consume my life, but I’m excited about executing it. It’s something that will have the potential of reaching the whole world and maybe even beyond. Stay tuned.

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