NewTracks New Artist: Shayna

NewTracks New Artist: Shayna

Cantabrian Shayna re-emerges with the single Miles Away which featured on NZ On Air‘s NewTracks compilation in April. Moving away from previous singer/songwriter releases under her full name Shayna King, she’s been working hard as a musician, dedicating the last couple of years to honing her craft. The single shows a confident shift towards tightly produced, poppy perfection. 

You’re essentially re-branding yourself right? Why was that necessary?

Yes, you may have heard of a release or two from my earlier songwriting days, I went under the name Shayna King and the music was a singer/songwriter, acoustic feel. I was also heavily involved in the live music circuit in Christchurch where I played music full-time to support myself for a couple of years. During that time I grew and developed a lot as an artist and musician, which then led to me giving 100% of my focus to developing my songwriting and crafting my sound. I’ve taken a lot of influence from R&B as well as electronic and pop music during this time, and I’ve learned to appreciate the art of crafting a great pop song.

What makes Miles Away stand out for you as a single?

Miles Away is very meaningful to me since it’s the first single I’ve released after two years of intensive songwriting and artist development. During this time I’ve not only grown as an artist but also on a more personal level. This single is symbolic of a new chapter and milestone for my music. In terms of the song itself, I hope that it resonates with people in some way and gives the good vibes!

What’s the background story to Miles Away?

Miles Away was inspired by my best friend who was travelling around Central America a couple of years ago. Our long distance conversations made me think of the contrast between the beautiful #travelgram’s we see online, and the sometimes difficult situations we may face in reality when journeying so far from home.

Travelling the globe with a sole companion and seeing the best and worst in each other’s characters, as you are both exhausted, low on money and feeling like outsiders who don’t fit into the fast-paced rhythm of a foreign city. It’s about seeing the beauty in the chaos and finding the fantasy in the mundane.

What’s your favourite moment of the single, musical or lyrical?

My favourite part of this track is the pre-chorus. I think it has a nice ‘lifting’ feel to it, and the production Josh Fountain has done is just magical. It really brings out the feelings of fantasy I wanted to create for this song.

Who did you work on the single with and where? 

Miles Away was co-written with M Basa (who has written for Aloe Blacc, Paxton Ingram & Lucian, and worked alongside producers such as Danny D (Beyonce, Rihanna, Ne-Yo), and was one of 15 (!!!) songs we co-wrote together during an intensive three-day writing session, at his home studio in Auckland. During those three days, I’d be naturally exhausted at the end of each day, whereas M would continue working on the tracks throughout the night and tell me he’d only had two hours sleep when I’d arrive the next day! The single was then produced by Josh Fountain (Maala, Leisure, Theia), at Golden Age Studio, which was a lot of fun. It was very cool to be in the same creative space where some of my favourite NZ artists have made music.

In one sentence, what do you want listeners to take away from the song?

“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” – Albus Dumbledore

Who did you make the video with?

The music video for Miles Away was filmed and directed by NZ director Shae Sterling. The video was shot in January over three days and features an array of contrasting Northland backdrops, from white sand beaches to night waterfalls. The most fun with the best crew!

In general, how do you work out what song would make a good single?

After writing and recording a ton of demos, I bring it down to my personal top 10 ideas, then run them past management (James Southgate) and my producer, and a few trusted people. Generally, from the first listen with fresh ears, the strongest songs will usually stand out.


Can you name three other local tunes that should be on a playlist alongside your song.

Have you made previous NZ On Air applications that didn’t get funding or didn’t get included on NewTracks? Got any advice for others? 

I’ve probably applied at least 5 or 6 times over the years. I think it really boils down to the quality and strength of the song. Just keep writing and creating, and don’t stop. As artists, we are always evolving, learning and improving with each project. Have fun collaborating with others and never stop finding ways to be inspired!

How can we find you on social media?