She’s dainty, down to earth and dynamic. Shvona Lavette holds many titles including actress, singer, model and wife, the list steadily developing. I was excited to meet with her and discuss her journey, her present projects and creative plans for the future. She has so much going on! But first I wanted to get to know a little more about her odyssey. We met in the lobby of Trump Soho, where Shvona sweetly introduced herself and suggested we retreat to the library where it was a little quieter.
She grew up in Rockaway, Queens with her parents and younger sister and began experimenting early on with the arts. Her parents provided her and her sister an exceptional and diverse education, which she credits greatly for her success. Her attendance at American Academy of Dramatic Arts is where she got into modeling and acting but soon she would grow curious of other areas too—music being one. Growing up in a culturally diverse household and community Lavette says her family listened to everything from James Taylor to Luther Vandross, soft rock to soul. Her mom is Indian and Caucasian and her dad, African-American, a uniquely beautiful combination. Her natural diversity has played a part in her creative decisions as well. Her first EP entitled, 3 Percent and Rising was named after the percentage of population in the United States that’s mixed. She didn’t want a typical title, she sought to introduce and represent herself. Pretty cool title, one that I could relate to as I’m a part of the 3 percent myself. This EP was just her first dive into the music world but only the start for Lavette, not just musically but artistically altogether.
You can expect the triple threat’s debut album It Was Fun While You Lasted this January. In the meantime you can check out the single “Holding On.” I love it! Lavette just recently launched a health, fitness and organic beauty video blog called “The Pink Seed.” In the blog she provides tips and tutorials in which she introduces recommended products and gives interactive and fun demonstrations. That’s not all – she has a webseries premiering shortly that she collaborated on with friend, Tehran Von Ghasri (featured on Bravo’s Shahs of Sunset). Lavette couldn’t reveal the title just yet but be on the lookout mid January, it sounds like it’s going to be a good, comical drama. Thought I was done? Not yet, you can also catch her guest starring on TVONE’s Love That Girl also airing January.
How does she balance it all? Her strategy is splitting her days, four hours into music, four into acting. She’s accomplished lots in several areas. At a youthful and eager 18 she moved to Manhattan and the rest is history. I asked her if she had any inhibitions before moving, alone, so young but Shvona says “no, I’ve always been a pretty gutsy broad.” She now resides in L.A. “You have to be head-strong, not take no for an answer, stick to your goals, dust yourself off and get up if need be,” she reveals of her mantra on life. She has this insanely admirable, “I can’t be stopped” outlook on life.
When I asked her what she’d say was her biggest accomplishment thus far she replied, “I’d have to say living out my childhood dream.” The task sounds easy when she says it, but there are people every day who give up on their dreams. Lavette’s take on it, “A lot of it is fear based, my advice is to take a baby step approach, if you want to be a fashion designer, take a seamstress class, if you want to write, start a tumblr blog, something simple, you never know where it might lead you.” She added that some people are more inclined to risks than others, for the ones that are not so risky her advice is to ask friends or reach out to someone doing their thing in the field of your interest and join the effort.
Lavette’s music is widely received and acclaimed in the UK. I was interested in her take on the difference between the reaction in the UK to not just her music but lots of artists’ who sometimes are much more successful there than here in the US. “People in the UK are more open, less judgmental and there is an array of acceptable styles, you don’t have to be as pop as Beyonce to be pop there.” Lavette’s music style is different – soft, many things in one and I have to say I agree, we miss out on a lot of epic talent by being accustomed to one type of “pop.” The word that comes to mind when listening to her music is “tranquility” her voice and style reminds me of a young Vanessa Williams with a 2013 twist and it’s ironic that they both happen to act and sing.
One actress who Lavette mentioned she admired was Angela Bassett, saying she thinks she’s made great choices in the roles she has chosen. And as far as some musical inspirations she acknowledged Groove Theory and even delighted me in a soft rendition of their most popular lyric, “tell me if you want me to.” (Even for a live, impromptu performance, her voice is graceful and effortless.)
Experiencing her relentless attitude towards her goals you can bet that she will continue to be widely received and successful. She has her hand in so many pots all over, you are sure to be hearing a lot more about and from Shvona!
Keep up with Shvona to find out all she’s up to (including the airing date for her debut on Love That Girl!) on twitter.com/shvonalavette, facebook.com/shvonalavettemusic, instagram.com/shvonalavettemusic, youtube.com/shvonalavettevevo and visit her site www.shvonalavettemusic.com.
Also remember to check out the blog The Pink Seed, I’ve already used some tips!
Check Out Shvona Lavette’s single, “Holding On” here: