It seems as though the month of September came and went like a swift breeze on a hot summers day: gentle and welcome with a lovely impact and result. I suppose, this would be one of many ways to describe Edmonton, Alberta, Canadian born Indie Pop Artist Shay Esposito. There are many facets to this young lady who has begun blazing a trail so bright that all of her friends, family, fans, and supporters voted her as the Winner of the October 2015 Starlight Music Chronicles Artist of the Month competition. One of the biggest ways that Shay has connected to her fans is through the reality of her own life experiences (see Hope Through Music Below) and it is her empathetic nature that she has been able to not only heal through her own music, but also to touch the lives of others with the same struggles she has been working to overcome.
Shay is our third Artist of the Month for Starlight MusicChronicles and we couldn’t be more proud to have such another lovely addition to what is becoming one of the most talked about and exciting Indie Music Competitions on a global scale. Shay will be featured alongside her peers and previous month’s winners: Olivia Rose (August 2015 Winner), and Matt Warface –IAMWARFACE (September 2015 Winner) in our first inaugural Starlight Music Chronicles Magazine which launches just prior to Halloween 2015.
In addition, Shay will be competing with past and future alumni in July of next year for the Artist of the Year competition for yearlong promotion on the Starlight Music Chronicles Website as well as our quarterly Magazine. We are very excited to have Shay as part of our Artist Alumni and look forward to supporting her musical journey!
CA Marshall | Editor
Starlight Music Chronicles
Shay Esposito: HopeThrough Music
Shay isn’t just a singer; she is a gifted lyricist, a poetry lover, and motivational speaker. Her lyrics come from her soul and have great meaning and depth. She is a poet who is gifted with a beautiful voice. There is no greater joy for her then taking her poetry and arranging it into a song to share with the world. She has merged her love of singing with her love of writing, which culminated in the release of “For Annie,” her first full-length album of eight songs in June 2014. Her song writing has already been noticed in the industry, as she made semi-finalist in the International Song writing Competition, the finals in the UK Song writing Competition, and the Top 5 in the It’s Your Shot competition. Shay is an inspirational speaker, giving talks on the important topic of youth mental health. Having suffered from depression and anxiety from a young age, she has a unique ability to reach out and connect with other teens suffering from this illness. She speaks out on a topic that most teens shy away from and suffer with in silence. As a result of Shay’s experiences and desire to bring awareness to this very real issue, she has been invited to speak and perform at several conference events. Some of the topics Shay speaks about are: depression and anxiety, self-harm, peer pressure, bullying, warning signs, self-help, confidence building, coping mechanisms: music, writing, sports, other youth-specific issues as requested, self-help, and confidence building.
Shay loves sharing her message of strength and hope with youth. Her presentation can include a talk and may be accompanied by a performance of a few original songs or a mini concert. She can present to large audiences in a dedicated assembly, or small classes on specific topics in a more intimate setting. Her program fits well with schools’ wellness days, and with health class curricula covering mental health issues and other mental health organization presentations. Shay does not ask for a fee for her presentation, but requests a small honorarium/donation to cover travel costs. When at a speaking venue, Shay would like to have access to a secure room to store her belongings and warm up her voice. Standard for vocalists, please provide Shay with fresh, room temperature water.
The Interview - October 3rd
Starlight Music Chronicles | Shay Esposito
SMC - What is your family origin? Did you grow up in Edmonton?
Shay - I was born in St. Albert and moved out to a small town called Calahoo when I was six years old. I grew up and went to school in Sturgeon County.
SMC - How do you feel about being a part of the Starlight Music Chronicles Alumni?
Shay - I feel incredibly honored to have won and even have been considered for October’s Artist of the Month. I am so grateful to SMC and everybody that voted for me.
SMC - What kinds of things do you hope to be able to promote in your month-long feature on SMC?
Shay - I hope to promote mental health awareness as well as myself as an artist and motivational speaker.
SMC - How many public speaking events have you been to to date?
Shay - In the last year I have spoken/performed at between 15- 20 events
SMC - Where were they?
Shay - Most of my speaking/performing opportunities have been within schools in Edmonton and the surrounding areas. Although I have presented at schools and conferences throughout Alberta. I spoke at a Conference called Dream Big (a conference to empower young women,) Shaping the Future (a conference put on by Ever Active Schools catering to health care Practitioners and educators), Stories that Matter (an event to celebrate sharing stories of success for teens, The Jack Satellite Summit (a student led organization to bring awareness to mental illness and suicide prevention) and at several health and wellness summits hosted by schools within the education system.
SMC - What satisfaction do you get out of your public speaking engagements?
Shay - It’s a very heart-warming feeling to know that I am making a difference in the lives of those that have been suffering with mental illness. It aids my own healing as well knowing that I can make a difference.
SMC - What is you most favorite song for getting your point across about teens suffering with bullying, mental health issues, or suicidal thoughts?
Shay - My favorite song to share is I See Everything, off of my album For Annie because it speaks directly from my darkest days and I think it’s relatable to anyone that has ever felt different.
SMC - What advise do you have for teens struggling every day with this?
Shay - My advice is to start living life for yourself. Start doing what makes you happy and forget about what other people think. Focus on your own well being because that’s the only way you’ll truly be able to help yourself.
SMC - What was your coping mechanism?
Shay - My coping mechanism was making music. Singing and writing was my outlet for me and it’s how I released all of the emotions I couldn’t talk about.
SMC - Who was your mentor?
Shay - I have had may mentors over the years, vocal coaches, friends, family, my sister and of course my parents. I can’t really pick just one. I wouldn’t be where I am without the guidance and support of every person in my life.
SMC - Who is your music mentor?
Shay - I would say my biggest music mentor is Trey Mills. He is an artist manager and Juno nominated producer. He really believes in me and has been an amazing friend and invaluable source of information. He produced my album and I rely heavily on him for guidance in this crazy music industry.
SMC - Who have you written a song with lately?
Shay - I have been writing all of my songs on my own. My producer has helped me with some arrangements and melodies but the lyrics are all mine. I haven’t yet had the opportunity to do any co-writing.
SMC - Is there any new music we can look for coming out in the next few months?
Shay - We have a few songs that are nearly finished, with a few more in production. Hopefully I will have some new music out for my fans soon!
SMC - Are there any exciting tours you can leak any information about?
Shay - I just confirmed a gig in Winnipeg. I have been invited to sing a song or two with Robb Nash at an arena show in November. Robb is one of my biggest inspirations so to be able perform with him is going to be amazing. I have also recently booked a 5-school tour in northern Alberta the end of November which I am pretty excited about.
SMC - Who is your most favorite person to collaborate to date with and why?
Shay - I haven’t done a lot of collaborations yet. I have really only worked with my producer Trey Mills. I do love working with him, he understands me and how I think and we really work well together.
SMC - Who would you like to collaborate with in the future?
Shay - I would love to do a collaboration with the band La Dispute. I think they are amazing writers and their lyrics are really captivating. To be able to work with them would be a dream come true.
SMC - What would be your dream tour as an opening act?
Shay - I would love to be an opening act to a band like Paramore, or a singer like Lana Del Ray, or any of those amazing female powerhouses with unique voices and unique styles.
SMC - Who are your influences?
Shay - Lyrically, I would say my influences come from a band called La Dispute. They are powerful and clever writers and they set the bar that I hope to reach with my own writing some day. Vocally, I would say Hayley Williams of Paramore is a great influence.
SMC - How has your family been supportive?
Shay - My family has always been very supportive and invested in my music, coming to all of my shows and always looking for more gigs for me to play, paying for years of vocal lessons and driving me all over the city for workshops and performances. I couldn’t have asked for a more supportive family to back me on such an up and down path.
SMC - How do you feel about competing with 11 other winning Artists of the Month next year for a year-long free promo spot on Starlight Music Chronicles?
Shay - I’m excited to be a part of it and I’m going to give it my all!
SMC - Have you song written with anyone before and if so, who is your fave?
Shay - I haven’t had an opportunity to write with anyone else yet. The hard thing about co-writing, is finding a middle ground between too drastically different artists. There are a lot of artists in my area but stylistically it’s tough to find someone similar to me. That being said, I would love to give it a try.
SMC - What was/is your coolest fan experience?
Shay - My coolest fan experience was after a speech and performance I did in Grand Prairie as a junior high school. There was this group of girls that just latched on to me after the show like I was a friend they’d known their whole lives. It’s a great feeling because that shows me that I really connected with them on stage and I got through to them on an emotional level.
SMC - What was your worst or scariest fan experience?
Shay - My scariest fan experiences have all happened over twitter. I’m sure everyone can relate to this. Guys are very direct and very creepy over twitter.
SMC - Tell us 5 things that no one knows about you
Shay - Five things that no one knows about me.
1. I love to take baths. They’re my favorite pastime, I seriously take one
every day. I will put off going out with my friends because I haven’t
taken a bath yet that day. I will refuse my Dad’s amazing cooking
because I want to take a bath.
2. I’m an anime fangirl. Always have been, always will be.
3. I’m terrified of moths. And I mean terrified.
4. I’m in love with penguins. I want like at least eight.
5. While all of that makes me sound like a dainty little fragile girl, I’m also one of the most fiercely protective people you will ever meet. That means you do not mess with the people close to me because I will end you.
SMC- Who would you like to thank for getting you to where you are today?
Shay - I would like to thank my parents and my sister for always supporting me and pushing me to work hard. Bernard Quilala for being my vocal coach for years and helping me realize my sound. Trey Mills, my producer, for being a great mentor and friend throughout our working together. Bryan Hetherman for seeing potential in me and putting me in touch with the people I needed to take my career to the next level. And finally, every fan, friend, or family member that has ever believed in me and stood by me whenever I needed them. Thank you!
SMC - What would you call your fashion edge?
Shay - I honestly don’t know, I’m pretty hopeless when it comes to fashion. Maybe that’s my edge. “I don’t know what I’m doing but it’s kind of working for me!”
SMC - Any tattoos? If so, what are they are what are their meanings?
Shay - I have one tattoo (so far) and it’s a bow on my left index finger. I got it to represent a promise I’d made to myself to never self-harm again.
SMC - What have you noticed is your audience range?
Shay - My audience range is fairly broad. I’ve found that I can direct my music at teens, and gain an even larger following by enveloping their family members, parents, teacher and peers into that equation.
SMC - Any new videos coming out soon?
Shay - Right now I am working on some my EP so that is going to take priority. Once my EP is done I would love to create a music video for one of my songs. That said if the right opportunity presented itself to do a new video on one of my current songs I would seriously consider it.
SMC - What qualities do you dislike in others?
Shay- Pretentiousness, the need to demean, the need to feel superior, and general selfishness.
SMC - What qualities do you admire?
Shay - I admire honesty. “Honest” is probably one of the hardest descriptions to pin to someone without any doubt.
SMC - Do you feel you have gotten a lot of peer support over the years?
Shay - Peer support is tough because when you’re growing up, your peers don’t want to see you succeed more than they have succeeded. That being said, I have a few very close friends that have supported me unendingly from the very start. Those are the type of friends you shouldn’t ever let go of.
SMC - How was/is it like attending school knowing your vocation? Are your friends supportive of your career choice?
Shay - My friends are very supportive. That’s why they’re my friends. In high school, you meet people that have common interests with you, and I spent all of my time with the music kids because they understood me and supported me. Everyone always has those few people that don’t believe in them or think they’re not going to succeed, and maybe it’s worse when you’re still in high school, but it’s easy to ignore when you have as good of friends as I did.
SMC - What advice would you give to children or teens wanting to pursue a career in the music industry or the arts?
Shay - My advice is find your own unique style and do what you love, because the trick to making people love you is making them feel the passion that you have for your art. If you can share that, captivate people and make them feel something, then you’re already a pro and you don’t need any advice from me.
SMC - Where do you plan on touring with your public speaking campaigns in the future?
Shay - I would like to do a cross-Canada tour. That’s my first goal because if I can touch a nation, I can change an entire generation’s views on mental illness.
SMC - Name three quirky things about yourself that fans would find interesting
Shay - Three quirky things about me:
1. I am obsessed with the Legend of Zelda. I’ve played Twilight Princess seven times. The only Zelda games I haven’t played are the Gameboy advance games because I never had one BUT I’m an adult now and I can buy myself a Gameboy advance so just you wait.
2. I love books. They’re the perfect escape. Also, I fall in love with book characters and I am not ashamed.
3. If you haven’t caught on already, I’m actually a real dweeb and the fact that so many people tell me “it’s so ‘cool’ that you’re a singer” and “oh you’re a public speaker? ‘cool!’” is actually hysterical to me. If only they knew.
SMC - What is the first five songs playing in your iPod?
Shay - Alright, I shuffled my music and these are the first five songs to play. (1) Skeleton Key by Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s (2) Self-Disclosure by A Bullet for Pretty Boy (3) Windows by Awolnation (4) In Your Eyes by Kate Boy (5) Million Dollar Man by Lana Del Ray.
SMC - If you had to do it all over again, would you? What would you differently?
Shay - I wouldn’t do anything over again. Every mistake I’ve made has made me who I am, and I like who I am today.
SMC - How do you feel about winning October Artist of the Month AND being featured in the first ever Edition of Starlight Music Chronicles Magazine?
Shay - I am so excited and so grateful to be a part of this, and I couldn’t be happier. Thanks so much to SMC for this wonderful opportunity and to everyone that voted for me!
SMC - Are there any final words or things you would like to share with your fans?
Shay - Just thank you for supporting me, I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of my amazing family and friends and I feel incredibly honored to know that you’re all rooting for me!
Upcoming Live Show Dates for Shay Esposito:
October 10th - Judge the Grand Finals - Edmonton Singing Competition
October 27th - Emcee, speaker and performer and HASS (Healthy Active School Symposium)
October - November - 5 day tour Northern Alberta Schools - dates TBA
November 16th, 2015 - Invited to sing on stage with Robb Nash at one of his concerts.
BIO (as per the Artist`s website)
Shay Esposito – Bio Shay Esposito has been singing and writing her entire life. She has had the honor of singing at many fundraising events, helping to raise money for various charities and has become a strong advocate in the youth mental health movement. In 2013, 15-year old Esposito became the youngest Artist to receive a Rawlco Radio 10k20 Project Grant. As a result, Shay recorded and released her debut album in June, 2014 and has gone on to receive worldwide recognition. Esposito was nominated for “Best Underage Recording of the year” - Edmonton Music Awards, 2013, “Rising Star” – Edmonton Music Awards, 2014 & 2015, “Rising Star,” semi finalist in the 2013 & 2014 International Songwriting Competition, and her song “Medication” was a finalist in the 2014 UK Songwriting Competition. Esposito was also a Top 5 Finalist in Canada’s “It’s Your Shot” Songwriter Competition which is run by Slaight Music, in partnership with Warner Music Canada. In addition to singing and songwriting, Esposito is an inspirational speaker, speaking to teens, educators and healthcare practitioners on the importance of being yourself, following your dreams, never giving up, anxiety, mental illness, and depression. She believes strongly that by sharing her own struggle, perseverance and triumph over depression and anxiety she can bring some awareness to the issues surrounding youth mental health. Shay was a keynote speaker for the Dream Big conference and Shaping the Future conference as well as the Jack Satellite Summit. She has traveled throughout Alberta speaking to students and educators in the school setting about this very important topic. As a result of her work she has been nominated for Alberta’s Great Kids award in addition to Emerging artist – St. Albert Mayor’s Recognition of the Arts Award. Esposito is a gifted singer, and thoughtful lyricist with an important message for her peers. Her lyrics are honest and real and touch on subjects more typically uncommon in popular music. Big things are in the future for this young artist.
Shay`s Social Media: