We love hearing of our young people, especially when their dream is unique and unlike anything many of us have done. That’s what makes Shandi’s story so special to us! We love that she’s one of few Pacific women who’s putting herself out there at just 21, as a club entertainer, female vocalist and MC. In support of her dream, we bring you her story, and hope that it informs, inspires and motivates you to follow your own dreams too. (Story by Talanoa Intern, Ilisapesi Muliaina).
Tell us a bit about yourself, the work that you do, and how you came to follow that career path?
Hey, I’m Shandi. I was born in New Zealand and moved over to Gold Coast Australia when I was a baby. I’m now 21 years of age and a female vocalist, club MC and entertainer. I was pretty much born into an extended family of entertainers and always knew that’s what I wanted to do. I’ve been fortunate enough to gig professionally since the age of 13.
What have been the biggest challenges in your line of work?
I think one of the biggest challenges of being an entertainer is thinking on the spot, talking to the crowd and sharing what you love to do the most with absolute strangers. I feel vulnerable on stage because I’m putting myself out there and doing what I love the most, for people I don’t even know.
What is the importance of the connections you make? How can you utilize them?
The connections are important because I get asked to do gigs. I found that once I was in the circle of professional musicians – if people need a singer they’ll ask me. I don’t have an agent or manager or anything, I just know a lot of people in the business.
Also, I have to connect with every person I’m performing to. Whether it is through song or a simple chat at the end of a set. You have to engage with the audience. You get more work from taking the time to converse and connect with the audience.
How do you get people to take you seriously as a musician?
I always make sure that I handle myself in a professional manner. I’m punctual; I know my repertoire and I look presentable. You really do have to look the part.
What can people expect to see at your live performances?
A whole lot of fun! I figure that if I’m enjoying myself then the crowd will catch that vibe and enjoy themselves even more. Also, a whole lot of Beyoncé (not even kidding). I am a Beyoncé fanatic and I try to incorporate at least one Bey song in my set!
What motivates you to push forward with all that you do?
The love of it. I love being on stage. For me, I am at my happiest when I am performing. There’s no greater feeling. My motivation is that stage!
What advice do you have for young Pacific people who might be thinking of doing the same thing?
Practice makes perfect and if you have an undying love and passion for music… pursue it!
We’d like to thank Shandi for sharing her story with our Intern and with us. We’re excited to see what the future holds for her and her career, and will be keeping an eye out for her as she continues to pursue her dream!