Listen. We have two words for you Shanica Knowles. If you know her already, then you know what we know, Ms. Knowles has it. If you don't know her, you will. She is smart, magnetic, a visionary, actor, songwriter and she can sing. We chatted with Shanica about her acting and music, living her red hot 2018 best life, including her upcoming single, Selenite, and EP, her role in Life Size 2 (starring with the one and only Tyra Banks) and how 2019 is on tap to be even hotter than 2018. Shanica is best known for her role as Amber on Disney's hit show, Hannah Montana. Amber was "mean girl" to Hannah Montana aka Miley Cyrus. Shanica was on the hit show for four seasons as a recurring guest star. She had the time of her life and developed a strong passion for acting. The role opened the door for subsequent successful acting projects, including the role of Simone, on The Young & the Restless.
Shanica shared booking the role and gave us all a reminder of the power of manifestation. "It was last December around the Holidays. It was the last audition I had that year. Every actor has their ups and downs. I felt like last year was not one of my best. So, I was definitely looking forward to 2018 being my best year. I said, 'This year has to be different. I'm going to book a series regular. I'm going to do a bunch of movies. I'm going to be on soap operas.' I manifested everything. The last audition of the year was "The Young & The Restless". They asked me to do a scene and also perform. I brought my guitar. I was the only person who brought a guitar. I sang Somebody Like You by Adele for the casting director. She had it on tape for the producers. On Christmas Eve, I got the call from my agent saying 'you booked it'. It was the best Christmas present."
After hearing her story, I mentioned it was the perfect illustration; manifestation worked. "It did. It always does. People don't know the power within it. If you really believe it to the fullest you can make anything happen. You are the magic." Still unconvinced? Keep reading. Shanica's first day on set on Y&R she met Executive Producer, Mal Young, his wife Mari Wilson and his daughter, Lily. Mari had seen Shanica's audition tape and had witnessed Shanica's magic for herself. Mari told Shanica, "There was something so unique and so different about you that none of the other girls did. Everybody was so talented and everyone could really sing but you had this own lane of yours and your own unique style that I had never heard of before. I just thought that would be interesting to explore on The Young & The Restless because they have never had someone like you." Lily was Team Shanica also having instantly recognized her from Hannah Montana.
Shanica enjoyed every second of her time on The Young & The Restless and more than rose to the challenges of daytime. "Everyone was so nice and welcoming. I love Mishael. She's so funny. I loved working with Bryton. Everyone just welcomed me in with open arms. I remember on my first day. I was so geeked out because I was the new kid in school. Oh my gosh what's going to happen? How is it going to all workout? It was a very fast pace. It's no joke. You get an email before you go on; you get one take, maybe two. I was like okay. But when you go into it, they are not joking. You are lucky if you get two takes. You really have to be on it. I didn't mess up once. I'm so proud of myself. Not once did I forget my lines. I thought I'm ready for the soaps. I can do this." We asked Shanica if she has any discussions with The Young & The Restless about returning. Especially, given Devon's current status (Devon returning to his musical roots) this seems like an ideal time for Simone to return to Genoa City. Shanica hasn't had any discussions about returning. But that could change once the new single and video drops. Shanica picked up on my train of thought. "Maybe when Y&R/CBS sees the video, they might think this will be interesting. Let's figure something out for the storyline. Who knows." We hope so, Shanica!
Before we delve more into the video, let's discuss Shanica's background in music, which is the reason (not acting) Shanica and her family moved to Hollywood. She won Showtime at the Apollo at the age of 11 singing Standing Still by Jewel, one of Shanica's favorite songs growing up. That was the moment she told her mom she wanted to go to Hollywood. "I told my parents I wanted to move out here. They sacrificed everything just for us to move to Hollywood so I can be an artist. I've always thought of myself doing something that would change the world at a really young age, when I was seven years old. I'm from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I would always sing country music while playing the guitar. I would sing Martina McBride, Dolly Parton, Shania Twain winning every talent competition. I enjoyed doing it. I love performing. I love looking at the audience. I love affecting people. I just love changing their expressions. There is something in that that makes me so happy. "Back to Selenite and the video.
Shanica Knowles and the Raven-Symoné are the executive producers on the Selenite music video. The song is purposely titled after a healing crystal. Shanica is purposeful. Everything she creates has a meaning and a message behind it. "In the single, I chose it to be about addiction. There are so many suicide rates from addiction alone. It's disturbing that we are killing ourselves." We told you Shanica is a visionary. She had a very specific vision for her video as well. Raven-Symoné also directed the video and helped bring Shanica's vision to life. "I talked to Raven-Symoné about it. I had lunch with her and told her what I wanted to do. I had this vision of the video where I had different addicts, a cocaine addict, an alcoholic, a cutter, a pill addict and a heroine addict. I have five different topics and the whole concept of the video is I know you are in a dark place but let me show you how to get into the light. I wrote those lyrics metaphorically saying that we can heal each other like Selenite. That's the whole premise."
One of the characters in the video is played by daytime's, our very own, Bryton James (Devon Hamilton, Y&R). Yea! Shanica spoke about her friendship with Bryton and his appearance in the video. "Bryton is such a good friend of mine. He plays a cocaine addict. He killed it. I think his fans and the world are definitely going to be impressed. He was so excited to do this. He's never played an addict before. He thought it would be such a great challenge for his character. He loves the message. He did an amazing job." The video also brought Raven and Bryton together again. Who can forget when in 1993 at the NAACP Image Awards a young Raven and Bryton walked Michael Jackson to the stage to receive his award. Shanica took us inside the moment when Raven and Bryton saw each other again. "They had this moment when they walked Michael Jackson out to the award. They hadn't seen each other for a decade so when they hugged it was such a moment that my project brought them back together." This wasn't the only moment for Shanica. The project was filled with them.
One of the most poignant, was when she saw the manifestation of her vision with her own eyes. "I saw it (the video) on my birthday November 17th. It was the best present ever. The editor, Raven-Symoné, my dad, my business partner and myself were all gathered when we saw the video. I almost cried. It was such a surreal moment for me." Selenite, the single, as well as Shanica's upcoming EP is a culmination of her journey of self discovery. She has reached such a level of self awareness that her music is a reflection of herself. She explained it much better. "I've been trying to find my identity as an artist in the midst of doing acting projects. I'm at a point in my life where I know exactly who I am creatively. And personally I have self discovered myself in so many ways." Shanica doesn't stop there. She wants to go further. Her music is not only a reflection of herself, she wants her music to also reflect the world and times in which we live. "I thought of all these issues that are happening. There is a lot of violence, substance abuse, addiction. I wanted my EP to be about those topics. There is a song about addiction, violence, racism and abuse. I want to be the voice of the people who need it most." Shanica's younger dream was to be the first African American country singer to win a Grammy. And although it was a great goal, prior to embarking on her EP, she asked herself was that the path she really wanted to take? What do I really want to sing?
Shanica's teenage years were musically influenced by Alanis Morissette, Avril Levine, Tracy Chapman, Sheryl Crow. She compares her sound to theirs; a "yodel twang, alternative, alternative mainstream." Every song on her EP is a strong empowering spiritually driven anthem." Although, I haven't heard her EP (can't wait), Shanica blessed me by singing a few melodies.Chills people. Chills. Again, this young lady can sing. She's also a song writer. We asked her how and where are her favorite times and places to pen her empowering anthems. "My writing styles have changed. When I was younger, I would always put a time schedule on it. I'm writing for 8 hours and I would have my guitar and write songs. Then as I got older, I wrote songs more when it felt natural. When I got in the mood to do it."
Shanica stars in Tyra Bank's film Life Size 2, which premiered on Freeform TV December 2nd. Shanica plays Eve's best friend, who revamps Eve to Eve 2.0, a more fabulous 2018 style. Shanica first met Tyra when she was in New York to compete at Showtime at the Apollo. Tyra was filming the first season of America's Next Top Model at the same hotel where Shanica and her family was staying. Shanica introduced herself to Tyra, talked to her and asked for her advice. You know Tyra gave her the best advice dashed with a bit of foreshadowing. "Never give up on your dreams. You are going to be a big star one day. You just go up on that stage and blow them away." And now Shanica has starred in a movie with her. Is it too soon to mention manifestation again? You know we had to ask Shanica what it was like working with the incomparable Ms. Banks. "She's an icon. She is really who you see on TV. She has so much love to give, even when the cameras are not on her or whomever is around her. No matter who you are, no matter what you do, she treats everyone the same. She always wants everyone to rise. That's so empowering and so inspiring. She is the greatest mentor."
During some downtime on the set of Life Size 2, Shanica pushed passed her nerves and asked Tyra to listen to her single, Selenite. Tyra heard it, loved it and got it. "Whoa.Whoa. This is like an anthem. This should be out like yesterday. This is huge. This is a hit. I'm obsessed."I mean once you get Tyra's blessing what else does one need? Tyra also suggested that Shanica release her single around the same time of Life Size 2 to give the song more exposure. Yes, like Shanica said, Tyra wants everyone to rise. Shanica is on a roll. And her plans for 2019? She assured us, "I'm not going backward." It's full steam ahead. We can look forward to; Guest star appearances on several shows (she can't reveal the specifics yet). Release of her EP Summer of 2019. Launch of an online beginners acting course. Launch of her own YouTube channel with videos, tips and information on how to break in the business. Introduction of Special Affects Records, with Shanica Knowles and Caleb Middlebrooks as the CEO's. Her own YouTube music channel, Shanica Music. Her artist website, shanicamusic.com I'm purposely repeating what I said at the beginning because honestly there is no better way to end. Shanica Knowles. If you know her already, then you know what we know, Ms. Knowles has it. If you don't know her, you will. Shanica's single, Selenite, will be released on all digital platforms on December 7th!