Australian singer-songwriter Shameem has followed her Baha’i faith through life and into commercial success with her latest album, The Second City.
Celebrating her multi-cultural heritage and Baha’i faith, Shameem infuses her own diversity, social conscience, and positive attitude into her music. After releasing her sophomore album, The Second City, she looks forward to an exciting year in 2015.
Faith. Her lifelong Baha’i faith has shaped her perception of humanity as a siblinghood that owes its existence to God. Her trademark musical style, called neo-soul, powerfully gives voice to a strong sense of place within a global family, as well as a passionate call toward global unity.
Race. As the child of an Iranian mother and a Chinese-Malaysian father growing up in remote Perth, Australia, Shameem’s multiracial appearance perpetually distinguished her from the children around her. She claims this experience shaped her because she felt keenly aware that nobody could “put me in a box so they were a little confused by me.” She embraced this unintentional exclusion as a validation of her individuality, and proceeded to forge her own path through life rather than following the crowd.
Path. Shameem was also discovered in a non-traditional way, after she posted videos of her musical performances on MySpace. Grammy-winning songwriter, James Bryan, liked what he saw and heard, so he invited her to come to the UK to write and record an album with him. The Second City is the product of that collaboration.
At the age of 15, considered the age of maturity in the Baha’i faith, she affirmed her mother’s faith, in which she had been raised, as her own. More than just an influence on her music, the Baha’i faith is a prominent character in this new album. The title is a reference to writing by Bahá’u’lláh–first prophet of the Baha’i faith–that describes the seven valleys, or cities a person passes through on their journey to God. The second stop on this journey is the Valley of Love, an idea that carried strong mental imagery for Shameem and which inspired one of the tracks on the album.
While remaining true to the initiatives of her Baha’i faith, Shameem seems poised to take its messages of unity, harmony and equality to areas of greater influence as her audience continues to grow in Australia, Canada, and the US.