Shi Wisdom on the Trippy R&B Vibe of 'Stranger Things Have Happened'
Published May 09, 2014"Young Gunner" is included on Shi Wisdom's latest Stranger Things Have Happened EP, and it's been creating a bit of buzz for its Toronto-centric references and point-blank honesty regarding youth who get caught up in life on the streets. The Toronto-based singer-songwriter tells Exclaim! that a video for the Sir Chambers-produced track is currently in the works, and she's surprised with the attention the single has been getting.
"It's a song that nobody thought was coming. It doesn't sound like anything else right now," Wisdom says. "People feel it's more conscious, so they pay more attention. It just sounds like something where you should listen to the words and figure [them] out. I really feel strongly about that song because it feels really spiritual for me."
The seven-track Stranger Things Have Happened, released in late April, was executive produced by Wisdom, mix/mastered by producer/artist Keita "KJ" Juma, and draws on her eclectic R&B and jazz influences. Wisdom is a local soul sensation of sorts — she's the granddaughter of Jimmy Wisdom of '60s duo Bob & Wisdom (who were included on the much-loved Jamaica to Toronto comp) — and has collaborated with JD Era and Kardinal Offishall, as well as co-written material with Drake (notably the Rita Ora track "R.I.P.").
KJ had a lot to do with the creation of the project, says Wisdom, adding that it was one of his instrumentals that kickstarted the initial creative process and the overall "trippy vibe." Work on the project started last November, she adds.
"I've known KJ for a bit of time… he's a really good friend of mine," says Wisdom. "This particular mix tape spawned from a beat that I took off an album of his. I truly respect him and his craft. He's a good person. I had an idea of what I wanted; I wrote the beats and went from there. Sometimes I think that I overthink the situation, especially when it comes to my art because I really, really care."
As an indie artist, Wisdom is committed to wearing many hats, from management to production, along with the artistic side of things. She most recentlywas the opening act for UK singer Daley and aims that the new EP will enable her to raise her music profile and touring opportunities.
"It's all trial and error. I didn't know anything about management or the industry when I came into it. You have to be observant: look at what people who are successful are doing, what their habits are, and how are they handling their business."
She's begun the process of planning out the "Young Gunner" video, with the aim of having it connect much the way the song is with listeners, she adds.
"When I was writing it and the song started to take shape, I kind of had an idea that people, especially in Toronto, would resonate with it. When you hear things in a song that are strictly about your city only, it makes you feel a certain sense of pride. Right off the bat, people hear CP24 and are like 'Oh shit, this is Toronto.' I didn't do it for that particular reason but I realized that that is a thing that resonates with people, when they feel some familiarity with."
For now, listen to all of Stranger Things Have Happened below and pick it up here on Bandcamp.