For Shay Leonia an infatuation with music started long before she could carry a tune or write a lyric. A trained dancer, Leonia was immersed in the world of music as a child growing up in a family full of musicians. Inspired by greats like Michael and Janet Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Led Zeppelin and Barbra Streisand, Shay’s taste in music is eclectic to say the least.
A student of the Golden Era of Hip Hop, studying the culture made Shay realize that not only could her music be catchy and relatable, but it could also incorporate poetic lyricism. It was also from Hip Hop that Shay learned how to create a buzz as an emerging artist. Whether performing at dive bars or performing in cyphers in and around NYC, Shay has made a name for herself on the underground Hip Hop circuit by doing what she loves to do, write and perform.
With Leonia each song comes from a personal experience that she herself has gone through. From singing in New York City subways to earn money for her next meal to performing at prestigious venues like BB Kings, Santos Party House and Sullivan Hall, Shay connects with her core fan base with her honesty and heartfelt anthems about love and life. “I make music with the hopes that one person will hear a story in my songs and feel comforted in knowing that they aren't alone,” explains Shay.
When it comes to classic R&B music infused with the raw edginess of Rap and Rock, Shay Leonia is in a class of her own. From performing alongside a beat boxer to covering an Alice In Chains classic at one of her live shows, the appreciation and respect that Shay has for all genres of music is displayed in her work and her live performances.
Shay is currently working on her debut album, “The Perfection Of Faith”, inspired by George Michael’s “Faith” album. “I've always been a huge George Michael fan, but studying that album upped the ante for me,” explains Shay. To date the R&B songstress has worked with legends like Treach of Naughty By Nature and Dj Marly Marl, and has opened shows for Keith Murray and Raekwon of the Wu-Tang Clan. Shay has also recently partnered with “Friends of the Congo” to raise awareness about the injustices that are currently taking place there.
Written by David Nazario