Friday, 18 January 2013

#FindOutFriday with Musician and Producer, S.I.P!

The late, great Ms. Whitney said "the children are our future". Whether you're 'Nasty' or not, Ms. Jackson didn't lie when she reminded us that "we are a part of a Rhythm Nation". That's why this week, we're going back to the music, so I can tell you about a very talented teen that I met awhile back.

Shannon Punter is a musician over-brimming with eager potential. I could give you a lengthy intro, but that would detract from his spotlight so, introducing himself - meet a strong candidate for the future of UK music...

1. Welcome Shannon, to the #FindOutFriday hotseat! I believe it was last Spring when you impressed me with your skills, live in the 'Bush Bash Recordings' studio. Introduce yourself to my readers and tell them what you do:

Shannon Punter AKA S.I.P...
Hello Erica, thank you for having me on the #FindOutFriday hotseat. My Name is Shannon Punter, I'm now 19 years old since August. My stage name is 'S.I.P' which are my initials minus one letter (because it just doesn't roll off the tongue the same way)...

I'm a Singer-Songwriter, I also produce, rap and can play many musical instruments. I see myself as a complete musician. I also teach music to 8-13 year-old's in Shoreditch, London.

2. What made an 8-year-old from North London want to learn the Classical Piano?

One word - Parents! I think it started off as the classic parental idea of "I'll live one of my experiences that I didn't finish through you." However, I started to enjoy the creativity of experimenting with chord patterns and different notes. I started to get told that because of this, I was way more accomplished for my age than a lot of other young amateur players that hadn't taken any grades. Shortly after, I was recommended to a teacher who entered me into grade tests with Trinity music each year. Getting Distinctions all the way through to Grade 5; I've now completed Grade 7 and  I look forward to completing the last - Grade 8 in due time.

3. You got into Music Production 4 years ago – how did that come about and what was the first thing you produced?

It was kind of a branch from the Piano. I always used to learn songs off of the radio and I liked singing, it just wouldn't go farther than that. Then a studio got built in my secondary school and I knew I had found the next level of creativity when it came to music. The recording was just a plus at the time. But all of this triggered my imagination and I knew that was my forum for art.

The first thing I actually produced was at a studio in my youth arts club. I made a grime remix to 'Chopsticks', with the help of  Ghanian artist and producer Mensah, who engineered for me at the time. It was so hard I couldn't stop skanking all the way home!

4. You mentioned some Heavy Hitters as influences when we talked; can you name your three favourite Producers and ONE lesson that each have taught you through their work?

My three favourite Producers are Quincy Jones, Timbaland, and Labrinth.

Lesson from Quincy: Making something with human feeling and capturing it within an orchestral score to accompany your lead riff makes your music sound so much more captivating...

Lesson From Timbo: Be influenced by every sound you can find. Music is everything so let your imagination and creativity take you away and be experimental with things you don't find repulsive (a prime example of being influenced by every sound would be the baby sounds in Aaliyah's 'Are You That Somebody')

Lesson from Lab: Everything that influences you from the current day to your cultural musical roots - incorporate it and see how brilliant you can make it sound. Also, you can make it as a Producer and as an Artist - not just one or the other...

5. In terms of musical influences, you cite some legends that date back to before even I was born (which I commend you for)! As a young 19-year-old, what are you finding in the music produced between the 60s and 90s that isn’t there, in that of your own peers?

I think the sincerity is absent from the music these days. Sadly, that's because sex and fashion sell and those aren't emotions. What people fail to realise is that yes those things may sell, but how did they get there in the first place?

Sex was described by Love and Romance in the 'Yester-Era'. When you had artists saying "Turn off the lights and light a candle" it was true feelings that were expressed. Some artists, you just heard it in their voice and all they were saying was "oh, oh, oh, oh, Baby" about 10 times. The truth in feelings showed the humanity of it all and if a man couldn't sing out his feelings or say them, he damn sure would put on a track that spoke for him. I don't think you have that from hardly any English artists these days, because they don't know how to blend and adapt the two, without dropping one out.

Fashion is displayed through confidence and creativity, not arrogance. And it seems that you have to have that almost arrogant persona these days to be accepted. Once you take that on, it's naturally going to be difficult to maintain your humility. You're not supposed to gloat about what you have in my eyes, words don't need to speak much for you because people have eyes and those who gloat are mostly in the public eye already. To me whether you have swagger or class it's your creativity and confidence that'll make it likeable.

6. And how do you think you’re replacing what’s missing today with your own music?

I'm bringing back the humanity in music; the feeling in music, I'm making music for everyday people. Music that will touch people’s souls. Music that doesn't rely on the 'bling image' to look or sound good.

7. Now you don’t just play and produce, you also write. I got an insight into the ‘Artist’s’ side of what you’re embarking on in the studio. What would you say you’re mainly trying to express lyrically and how does it differ from your production works?

With writing, I focus on the reality of the scenario, mixing  present feelings with elements of fantasy if needed. This is to connect with the imagination of the audience. I wanna make them think "yeah I felt / want to feel like that" or "haha that bar reminds me of what happened to…" So everyone can relate.

My production accompanies the words. It's like Ying and Yang. There has to be some differences but ultimately, they have to coincide. It's either the words produce the music, or the music produces the words with me.

8. In terms of discipline, what’s the fundamental difference between what you've learned through your Classical training and the Music Technology that you’re studying at College?

I think it takes more discipline to be Classically-trained because it’s more structured and you're playing something specific to the set standard. With Producing, it can be done at your preference, at your own leisure. There are guidelines to this too, but it’s more about creativity. However the principle to become one of the best Producers is the same as being Classically-trained and that principle is to practice and research to no end.

9. You have an edge that most aspiring artists your age do not; in that you've grown up with the privilege of watching and learning how the Music Industry works from the inside. What’s the most valuable lesson that you've picked up so far?

It's imperative that you stay relevant; whether it be in performing, making songs, mixtapes, albums, etc. People's memories and attention spans are shortening as we speak.

Also, try and adapt what you think is the norm. Everyone likes something that's slightly different but still relevant.

Lastly, be consistent. Even people with a lack of talent can succeed because of consistency. So if you have both - a lot of talent and you're consistent then your winning, no ifs, buts or maybes.

10. So what can we expect from you musically in 2013?

More S.I.P Productions - whether the artist on the track is me or another (possibly from the collective I'm creating called R U Listening) or maybe someone a little more well-known (if my peoples can talk to their peoples and we can do lunch)... More S.I.P Mixes - aka Remixes of songs with S.I.P being one of, or the artist(s) on the track. More frequent uploads to Soundcloud and YouTube. 2 Mixtapes / EP's - hopefully by the end of the year...


Thanks Shannon! I for one, found the infusion of Classical training  into today's popular scene really interesting to watch in a live setting; so I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for what comes from this Young One in the future. You can do the same by connecting with S.I.P via his Social Media Catalogue:
What do you think of Shannon's talents? Got any constructive advice for a budding musician? Feedback in the comment box below and don't forget - To Share is to Care!

See you soon...
ES ;)