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Press play: How familial support shaped Shazza into a wholesome rockstar

Press play: How familial support shaped Shazza into a wholesome rockstar

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Shareefa Aminah is a communications student, but shazza is the musician that went viral after appearing in a TikTok with Canadian pop duo, Crash Adams. Still, what both Shareefa and shazza have in common, is how family support and creativity comes hand in hand with not just making music, but marketing music too.

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Better known as shazza, the 23-year-old's family has had large influence on her career, especially with both her parents having a career in communications and a brother in the creative industry. In fact, the musician works together with her family members on projects, citing that their shared understanding and support brings the up-and-coming singer a source of comfort and safety in the competitive industry. 

Since releasing her first single August in 2020, shazza has released an album titled chapter one and eight singles. The most recent being All you really need (is love).

In this series, MARKETING-INTERACTIVE spoke with shazza to get to know how she markets her music and the most exciting campaign she's run up till now. 

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: Tell me the story of your first big moment when you felt you made it in the industry? 

shazza: It has been a surreal experience since I first released my first single to where I am now. If I had to choose one big moment, I would have to point to my very first launch campaign. That was my first experience learning to market myself and I was doing it independently. I hold it very dear to my heart because it was such a behemoth of a project. My family and I treated this as a big marketing campaign, and it was very fulfilling to see it all come together.

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: What’s the most exciting way you’ve marketed your music? How did you go about it? 

shazza: My first launch campaign was the most exciting to me because it was a very big learning curve. I was a communications student and I had learned about these things, but I've never applied it to my own music. That was my first time trying to professionally put out a song and stepping into this as a new kid on the block.  

We put out a music video that was independently done and storyboarded. We put out a media kit. My family and I had stayed up to 7am to pack the bags and PR kits. The song was called Pity Party so I came up with the idea of party invitations. I packed the physical press releases in big envelopes that I designed saying "You're invited... if you want to come" because that's a lyric from the song. I really loved doing it because it allowed me to connect so much more to my song and share that with people. 

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: What are some challenges you faced in marketing your music?


The job doesn't end when you have produced a song and put it up on a platform.

I think as local artists, creating awareness is something that we need to focus on because people are a lot more directly exposed to international artists. 

Marketing music is mostly an organic process and there isn't a playbook for it. I think a lot of the time you have to treat the music as a part of yourself and you have to understand the song inside out. The process of creating music, while beautiful, is also a very time consuming one and because of that it takes quite a bit of time to also find a creative angle to sell the song.

The tedious part of is finding a way to angle it and make it consumable and understandable to another person. This is especially when you've created a song that's as personal as it is you, could be quite abstract to another person.

The other challenge I've ever experienced, were cases where I've put in my whole heart and soul into a marketing plan, and it doesn't get the results that I'm hoping to get. You can't guarantee these kinds of things, but you can't be deterred by that. Roll with the punches. 

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: What’s one marketing tip you’d like to give fellow musicians who are starting out and are struggling to get their music out there?

shazza: When I started out independently, I was very involved in the process of finding ways to market my music and that is something that I will forever be grateful for as tedious and time consuming and stressful as it was.

I think it's very important for us as musicians to get some semblance of knowledge and good sense about marketing, even if it's not something you're passionate about.

We have to understand that it kind of ties in hand in hand. If you're looking to have people resonate with your music, marketing is a huge part of it. We have to embrace the fact that it's a very important part of this journey and not everyone has the advantage of having a manager or a label to do these things for you.

I think it's really good to learn and expose yourself to the art of marketing strategies and take some time to look at your music as a listener rather than a creator of it. I think it's a matter of compromise - finding a way to achieve your vision in a way that people can resonate with and relate to.

And never underestimate the power of even the smallest media platform.

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE: How do you think brands and corporations can support artists like you? 

shazza: I think compared to working with artists by getting them to help promote a product or service, using artists’ products and services go an even longer way.

What I mean is, for example, when brands use an artist’s song in their advertisement, or when they work together with an artist to build a campaign based on a relevant piece of art their have created, I think this helps to drum up awareness of artists in the context of their art. That’s the more effective way to get people interested in our work.

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