From Kris “Me and Bobby McGee” Kristofferson through The “Umbrella” Dream, countless artists have begun their careers as songwriters before stepping out into the footlights on their own. Meet the latest: Barbados native Shontelle, whose I’m-a-long-way-from-over-you R&B ballad “T-Shirt” cracked the Top 20 of Billboard’s Pop 100 Airplay chart this week, and is No. 37 on the Hot 100.
All of 23 years old, Shontelle (born Shontelle Layne) was plucked from life as an entertainment-law student when producers Evan Rogers and Carl Sturken, the men responsible for discovering fellow Barbadian Rihanna, heard her soca – that’s soul + calypso, for you non-Caribbean types – song “Roll” (above, with J-Status and none other than Rihanna herself) in 2005 and signed her to the roster of their SRP Records. Shontelle’s debut album, Shontelligence, which features the now-obligatory Obama tribute (“Battle Cry”), will be released next Tuesday. – Chris Gray
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