Photo Credit: Shirin Tinati
As you’ll soon learn, Shira isn’t just a musician but also does theatre. Thankfully so because that’s how she met one of her closest friends and musical partners, Paul Carbonara, formerly of Blondie. He’d co-written an off-Broadway play, Solitary Light, and towards the end of their time together he asked Shira if she wrote at all.
Shira remembers, “At the time I hadn’t played my songs to anyone before so answered with a very questionable yes. I didn’t have any demos or anything so I just came over to Paul’s studio with my ukulele and played him a song…And another…and another…when I finished he said, ‘Now I’m so excited cause I know what my next project is going to be. We’re gonna make an album.’ And so we did.”
That album wound up being her debut, Til The Sun Comes. We talked about the mystical elements of the album, the beauty behind her single “Am I Beautiful” and so much more like #TimesUp and what’s coming from this acoustic folk songstress.
Kendra: You’re in New York City not only making your way as an artist but as an actor as well. What came first, the music or the theatre?
Shira: Music first. 100%. My older brother was the one who encouraged me to find my voice. I was 10, he was 15. By then he already knew he was going to be a musician and he could see in me something that I couldn’t yet see. He would sit me down and play me the best music in the world- everything from Simon and Garfunkel to Pearl Jam. When I heard Ella Fitzgerald for the first time I knew I wanted to be a singer. I feel in love with Jazz and as I dove into the American Songbook I learned that all these beautiful standards were originally part of musicals and that’s how I discovered the theater.
Kendra: Your debut, Till The Sun Comes, is described as fairy folk. You actually seem to have a bit of a thing for the mythical creatures. Have you always felt a connection to their mysticism?
Shira: When I was a kid and I would be in the car with my mom and we would get to a crowded parking lot she would always say, “Okay, now let’s focus our energies and ask the universe for a nice parking space.” Nine out of ten times it would manifest. That’s my mom!
So you can say that I grew up with it; always fascinated with the secrets of the universe. I’ve studied Buddhism, Kabbalah and I’m almost a Reiki master. The more I explore the more I feel that I can understand and connect with people on a deeper level. To me, the “fairy” in me is the Shira that was put upon this earth to bring healing, connection, and compassion through my art.
Kendra: Your latest single, “Am I Beautiful,” definitely has that magical appeal. A beautifully written and performed song inspired by your friend who was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer who’s thankfully in remission. Was she the first person you’d ever known to go through such an ordeal?
Shira: Thank you so much. Unfortunately, no…she was not. My dad passed away seven years ago. We were very close. He was my rock and my biggest supporter. Honestly, missing him is still a daily struggle. Then this year one of my closest friends was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 29. Thankfully she is in remission now. I learned that most of us are about one degree of separation from cancer and zero degrees of separation from loss and hardship. That’s why I think people are responding so passionately to this song.
Kendra: How did your friend react when she first heard the song?
Shira: Deeply touched and honored, but also petrified. If you listen to the lyrics it is not clear if she survives or not, but that I will be there through it all. That is the reality when diagnosed with stage three cancer and I think that one of the deepest fears, when you’re sick, is that you’ll be alone. That song was my promise to her, that she’ll never be alone.
Kendra: Switching gears for a second. As someone in multiple facets of the entertainment industry, how important is the #TimesUp movement to you?
Shira: It is VERY important. With this movement, we are taking equality to the next level. Taking what generations of women before us fought for and building on top of that. To me, it’s not just about men learning to treat women better and seeing us as true equals, but it’s also about women doing that for themselves and for each other. We’re our biggest allies and when we’re united we are unstoppable. For the production of this music video, I made it a point to get the BEST people and the best were all women. Our director, cinematographer, editor, assistant director and all the producers were female. I’m extremely proud of that.
Kendra: What else can we look forward to from you in the coming months?
Shira: We’ve started working on a summer tour and my third single is set to come out in April. Very exciting!