Who Is?/Official Hype

Published on October 6th, 2018 | by Landon Buford


Who Is Songtress Lionna Shellese?

Courtesy of Lionna Shellese

Lionna Shellese Rush (Lionna Shellese), is an up and coming  American rapper and songwriter.  Shellese was born on March 16, 2001 to her father, a Pastor and community activist, Lionel Rush and her mother ,a gospel recording artist who has sung with r&b turned gospel singer  Al Greene and the late Marvin Yancy , Lashelle (Shellie Renè) Rush. Born and raised in Indianapolis Indiana,  Shellese began the hobby of  writing at the  tender age of 5.

This would later turn to her passion and pursued niche, she continued and developed a knack for her craft. She embraced her writing in different ways, whether by making sermons to be an aspiring minister/preacher like her father and uncle, to making poems,songs, and even skits for plays. At the impressionable age of 9 she would see and hear her older cousins rap, one of them known as the eminent  rapper, producer, guitarist and song writer,FainCarter. Not as knowledgeable of the genre, she somehow became enamored with it. Growing up in her junior high years ,writing poems became her mental reprieve and crutch.

While she was being influenced by musical artist such as Kendrick Lamar, Lauryn Hill, and the late Tupac Shakur because of their potent lyrics and relative perception of the world and life to hers, she would dream of the idea of  becoming  a voice in the rap game and an inspiration to all people through music. By the time she was a freshman in highschool , she decided that since music was something that she had a definite interest in, to start taking it more seriously.

At the age of 17 she would go on to record her first song that is set to debut , which is entitled  “Truth and Dreams”. The song captures her essence as  it imputes her Christian values and her journey of unearthing many truths while going through life’s woes and trying to achieve her dreams.

Can you talk about what it was like growing up in the church for you?

Growing up in the church for me , speaking that my father is a pastor, was a little trying because of familiarity. I had to be an example and not do certain things , which led to rebelliousness after a while. Also it really  wasn’t any seperation from church life and home life. However it  was/is an experience I wouldn’t change for the world because the church is my foundation and I appreciate it more and more as I get older.

You began writing music at the age of five. What is about writing music that intrigues you the most?

The whole creative process intrigues me. My writing process changes up every time so it excites me because I don’t even know how something is going to turn out until I’m finished. Sometimes I have to freestyle to filter out thoughts and get my mind going. Other times when i feel inspired it just hits me to start writing, even if it’s subpar and I never come back to it again.

How was having your mother who has experience in the entertainment business helped you thus far in your career?

My mothers experiences and advice has helped me a great deal. The greatest pieces of advice she has given me is keeping God first, have good people around you,  and to not expedite anything.

When you create music what do you want your audience to take from it?

I want my audience to be inspired. Every song I disseminate is going to have a positive message , even if its more melancholy or more blunt and obscene than others. I just want it to edify and be a blessing to the people who listen.What is it about Kendrick LamarLauryn Hill, and the late Tupac Shakur intrigue you about their music?
Lauryn Hill‘s flow and her lyrics get me. She really was dropping jewels in her songs. I really got into her when I started listening to  The Fugees. When I heard zealots , how many mics, and Fugee la , I was sold. I was really amazed by her especially because I was younger and wasn’t even nearly close to trying to acquire  the skill of rapping.  Kendrick Lamar‘s story telling and his perspective told through music intrigues me the most. Overly dedicated , section 80, TPAB, and GKMC, are my top favorites from him. Lastly Tupac  was just a young legend to me. The emphasis is not so  much about his choice of  diction, but how  potent and passionate he was in his music. All and all even though these artist come from three different worlds and share different perspectives , their messages were/are universally relative.

At the age of 17, you would debut your first single “Truth and Dreams”. What is inspired this single?

Many things inspired this single. This wasn’t something that I just wrote and was done with on the spot. It took some time because many life experiences had to play out before I could finish it. I didn’t even have the chorus until I recorded it , which is crazy because I was  trying to write one for so long and then it came naturally one day when I wasn’t even writing the song. That’s how the title came about too. Each lyric fed into the other.  I started writing it at a time where I had to get desperate and surrender everything to God and not lean towards my own understanding.  I was really searching for purpose and identity and answers to why certain things werent going a certain way prior to that. I was at a standstill,very stagnant , stuck in the past , and scared of what the future held. After a while of having those feelings,  I just wanted to go to the next level.  The ending is just more so about me going forward and having faith .

When can we expect new music from you? 

I have a bunch of music in the pipeline and I’m working on a project coming soon.

Finally, who would like to work within the future?

There are seriously so many artist I would love to work with such as  Noname, Rapsody, Big K.r.I.t, really any one in TDE and Pro Era, and last but not least my cousin FainCarter whose  always been inspirational to me in the field of music. He’s a bomb rapper/musician/producer and an awesome person. He really put me on game at a young age even before I made the ultimate decision that I want to pursue my own career as an artist.

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Washington State Graduate Past Interviews include Grammy Award Winner Kenny G, David Banner, WNBA President Lisa Borders, What's Trending's CEO Shira Lazar, Ice Cube, NBC's Chicago PD LaRoyce Hawkins, Family Matters Darius McCrary, En Vogues Maxine Jones, Team USA Track & Field Member Norris Frederick, James Kyson, WNBA Great Lauren Jackson, and more.

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