We had the good fortune of connecting with Shaunna Heckman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shaunna, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Taking risks has not been something I’ve typically done. I’m a very organized person and I tend to like to see the situation played out in my mind before I engage, knowing what to expect along the way. This all changed for me last spring as the pandemic hit. My life completely changed and the biggest risk I took was believing and trusting in myself to take the steps necessary to move forward with the life I wanted. I started doing things for myself, trusting that my choices were to better my life and career goals. I took the leaps to get this in motion, not knowing how I was going to land. Leaps I had wanted to take long ago. I applied to the Berklee College of Music, promising myself that if I got in I was going to commit and not let the financial risk scare me away. Now I’m a student there, manifesting my career goals, grateful for the education I’m receiving. Taking the risk was a gift. It has shifted my perspective on the way I live my life. I’ve learned that taking risks has made me stronger, more confident and more trusting in my choices. Facing the fear of risk taking has helped me see it more like opportunities for experience and growth.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am really excited about where I am at as an artist in my life right now. It finally feels like things are falling into place and the direction I am headed is making sense. There is a rhythm, momentum, inspiration and a much clearer vision of how to continue developing and moving forward. I’ve shifted from singer/songwriter to more of the role of a music producer. I love this transition. It feels right. I’ve always wanted to learn to produce my own music but lacked confidence in taking that leap. I discovered Beats By Girlz (www.beatsbygirlz.org) at the perfect time in my life. After learning about this organization I knew I had to start a chapter in my city. It was an opportunity to develop and practice my production skills and teach female youth how to make electronic music. A blessing I am grateful for every day. It changed the course of my music career in the best way possible. I’ve come to realize that this shift into producing my music is where I am thriving. I am ok with not being a great songwriter. Lyrics have always been hard for me. I think about them too much. However, I am still able to sing and use my voice which is what I consider to be my primary instrument. As an electronic musician I love being creative with how I sing and how I can manipulate my vocal samples to become an entirely new instrument. I am putting more emphasis on how I am using my voice rather than what I am saying. I enjoy the challenge of using my voice in a multitude of ways. I think this helps set me apart from others and define my sound. I’m in full creative control when it comes to executing my sonic vision. I am also incredibly fortunate to be able to tap into this incredible network of individuals for mentorship. This has greatly changed the direction of my music career. With my focus being on music production and business I am learning how to wear many hats which is expanding my opportunities in how I choose to engage with music technology both as a performing artist and an educator.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I live in Duluth, MN. This is a great city to be in during the summer. There are endless options for outdoor activities, which I personally love, so lets start there. We would spend our days at the beach on Park Point, drive up the North Shore, hike the Superior Hiking trail and find a friend to take us on a their sailboat. We would be sure to have meals at Lake Avenue Cafe & New Scenic Cafe, as well as spend some patio time at the local breweries. Sometimes the breweries have live music which would be a bonus. We would also drive an hour and a half east to Bayfield, WI, the town I grew up in. We’d take the ferry from there over to Madeline Island and camp for a night or two. If there was enough time we might snag the kayaks from my parents place and do a day trip to the Apostle Islands Sea Caves.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many people that have provided love, support and encouragement along the way. My dearest friends, my partner and my community keep me fueled creatively. In regards to where I am currently at in my life with music I would like to give a shoutout to the amazing global team of women I work with at Beats By Girlz. I would like to give a nod to Christin Light and Christine Hoberg as they really got me going with this in the beginning. This global network has provided me with an abundance of guidance, tools and resources that have further developed my career and artistry. A few of them are Berklee College of Music alumni. I am now a student at Berklee. I’m not sure I would have ever taken the leap to apply and move forward with it had it not been for in depth conversations with these women about their educational experience and the opportunities that can come. I have already been presented with amazing opportunities which have led to expanding my network of creative and professional individuals. Becoming a part of the BBG team has shifted my career as a musician in a really exciting way.