[quote style=”boxed” ]“It’s a passion like no other. It’s a drive like nothing you’ve ever seen.” -Keaira LaShae[/quote]
Keaira LaShae caught the music bug at the early age of seven after choreographing a dance, entering a competition, and beating out competitors twice her age. She was inspired to be a dancer and even took up singing at the church across the street from her childhood home in Tampa, Florida. At age fourteen she formed and fronted a trio and was invited to perform at the regional competition “Showtime at the Apollo” where she was introduced to her first manager.
Through word-of-mouth alone, a well-known record executive caught wind of the talented trio and requested an over-the-phone audition. Keaira LaShae sang “Hold On” by Envogue and the VIP offered to fly the group out to LA for an official fifteen-minute showcase for Sony Music. The trio, which included Keaira LaShae’s younger sister Ceaira, was signed on the spot, but like so many other deals at that time, the relationship fizzled out and everyone went their separate ways.
Despite the heartbreak, the trio wasn’t ready to give up just yet. “[The labels] knew about us, and I knew that wasn’t our only shot,” Keaira LaShae recalls in an interview with Ourstage.com. The girls took fate into their own hands and planned a two-hour exhibition, working around the clock to write musical arrangements and choreography, to secure a venue and a DJ, and to sell tickets. To promote the show the girls sang morning announcements at every school in Hillsborough County, at food courts in different malls, on the streets, at nail salons, and anywhere anyone would listen. The hard work paid off, and on the night of the exhibition, lines formed down the street and around buildings, forcing the doorman to turn people away.
Among those in attendance were representatives from Virgin Records, who invited the trio to perform for the label’s president in New York. The girls were blessed with a second chance at fame, but after a successful fifteen-minute showcase, a member of the trio insulted an executive and the moment was over. Keaira LaShae was devastated, but made it through with the love and support of her mother. “She believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself,” she says, and at seventeen, after graduating high school early, earning her cosmetology license, and saving up money as a hairstylist, Keaira LaShae moved to Texas with her mother in tow.
In San Antonio, Keaira LaShae’s music career thrived as she honed in on the rich culture of the city and learned to sing, write, and perform in Spanish. Her renditions of “No Me Queda Mas” and “Amor Prohibido” brought her audiences to tears, and she became affectionately known as “the black Selena.” To support herself, Keaira LaShae worked as a both a hairdresser and a waitress, while also teaching dance and fitness at a local hip hop dance studio. There she found herself with a devoted following and eventually opened her own dance studio, Street Beatz. “I saw the effect the trainers had on people by helping them accomplish a goal by gaining confidence and building character. [It] inspired me to motivate people as well.” Keaira LaShae also participated in multiple after-school programs for students and those less fortunate, choreographing pieces that would eventually be performed in front of entire student bodies. “I was always happy to bring change into their lives, bringing them confidence and letting them know how special they are.” Since opening Street Beatz, Keaira LaShae has worked and/or trained with choreographers who have choreographed works for Usher, Chris Brown, Pitbull, Janet Jackson, Britney Spears, ABDC (America’s Best Dance Crew), and So You Think You Can Dance, to name just a few.
Around this time, Keaira LaShae wrote and recorded a slew of sexually charged singles. One of the singles, “Nasty,” landed high on the CMJ charts, reaching #1 in over 27 US cities and named #2 most added on the College Radio Charts. The video for another single, “Mad At Me,” was featured heavily on BET, requested more than any other video at that time. But despite her commercial success, Keaira LaShae wasn’t happy. “They [her team at the time] said, sing like this, dance like this, and it will work. And it did,” she says, “But it wasn’t me. I knew I had to get out of this… I [wasn’t] happy.” Keaira LaShae listened to her heart and had a professional renaissance. “I had to step up and say, ‘I’m gonna do me.’ That’s been the best decision of my life.”
Keaira LaShae moved to Los Angeles in 2010, but quickly relocated to Las Vegas to hone in on her writing skills and study under Jamal “Mally Mall” Rashad (Young Money [i.e. Drake and Lil Wayne], Rick Ross, Bruno Mars, Trey Songz) at Future Music. At the conference, Keaira LaShae also had the opportunity to sit in on sessions with producer Jason “Pooh Bear” Boyd, who has worked with Usher (as writer and vocal producer on “Confessions”), Lupe Fiasco, Scott Storch, DJ Khaled, Kelis, Ruben Studdard, Kelly Rowland, and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, among others.
In late 2011, after polishing her writing skills in Vegas, Keaira LaShae moved back to LA. She is currently writing new songs, honing her craft, and working with Rodney “Dark Child” Jerkins’ team at his prestigious studios after recently wrapping up a new EP that she co-wrote and co-produced with such talented producers as Duane “DaRock” Ramos (Pussy Cat Dolls, Jadakiss, LL Cool J, Nicki Manaj, Jay Z), Sanchez Holmes (T.I., Young Jeezy), The Audibles, and Jamal “Mally Mall” Rashad. The latter two producers co-produced “Superhero,” a new song from the upcoming EP about empowering women to be confident and strong. Keaira LaShae, who consistently tags her posts on Twitter with #TeamSuperhero, says “[It’s] a way to connect myself with my fans and let them know that they are Superheroes, too. You don’t have to fly in the sky or have special powers to be a superhero. You can be a single parent, a great student, a teacher, etc. Anyone that has been through a rough time and overcome and learned from it is a superhero to me.” Other new songs on Keaira LaShae’s upcoming EP include “Frankie,” “I Got It,” “Love Junkie,” and “Luv You.” The EP, tentatively titled Keaira LaShae is about love, female empowerment, and having a great time. “I think it’s the best title because all [of my] songs are a part of me in some way shape or form.”
Courtesy of keairalashae.com
Keaira LeShae: SUPER HERO