An Exclusive Interview With Courtney Shilo

Could you share the story behind your latest song and what inspired its creation?

My latest song, Silence was inspired by me wanting to reconnect with a person who was upset with me for saying something out of pocket. Sometimes we don’t realize the severity of our words until we are met with silence from the person we offended. I wrote this song as a plea and a hope for forgiveness.

How do you approach the process of songwriting, and are there any specific themes or emotions you tend to explore in your music?

Most of my music has a theme of navigating through love and heartbreak. I am a lover of love and I put my real emotions and experiences in my songs. For my songwriting process I focus on what I want the theme of the song to be then go from there.

As an indie musician, how do you navigate the balance between creative freedom and commercial appeal?

As an independent artist, its pretty easy for me to express my creativity. The landscape of R&B music has changed, but I like to stay true to the essence of R&B. The R&B genre is not as commercial as it used to be. Many labels don’t invest in it anymore. So as an artist, I have the freedom to stay true to a genre that may not have the most commercial appeal, but it’s so special to me.

What do you find most challenging about being an independent artist in today’s music industry?

The most challenging part of being an independent artist is trying to fund your career. Making music costs thousands of dollars. It can take a really long time to come up with the money for a project which can prolong the process. Also due to the low pay of streams, without merch or concert sales, it can be extremely hard to see a return on your investment. The love of music is what keeps me going.

Can you talk about your experiences collaborating with other artists or musicians? How does it influence your creative process?

I love to collaborate with other artists, especially other R&B ladies. I love learning from other people and seeing how they tackle writing songs. I try to learn something from everybody I work with.

What role does technology and social media play in promoting your music and connecting with your audience?

Technology and social media have been vital in helping me promote my music. My music career was launched when I started posting me singing covers on youtube. Most of my following comes from my Youtube channel where I then prompt them to follow me on other platforms. There are people who have been following and connecting with me for many years.

Are there any particular artists or genres that have had a significant impact on your musical style?

I am heavily influenced by the R&B stars from the 90s and 2000s. I grew up on this music and it inspired me to want to sing R&B music. I would study singers like Destiny’s Child, Mya, Brandy, and Mariah Carey. I learned how to sing and write music from these ladies. They were a critical part of my formative years in music.

Indie musicians often have a close relationship with their fanbase. How do you engage with your fans and build a dedicated community around your music?

I engage with my fans through social media. Because I’m still a small artist, my DMs are a lot more accessible. I really enjoy connecting with people on there whether its via dm or comment section. They are very supportive, when I do throw live events, I advertise on social media and a lot of my fanbase supports.

Could you describe a memorable live performance experience or tour that has had a lasting impact on you and your music?

The most memorable live show experience would be my performance at Showtime at the Apollo. In high school, I was a part of a trio, and we had the pleasure of performing on Showtime at the Apollo. We were excited, but also nervous because of the reputation of the tough crowd. Although we did not win, we got through the show boo-free, so we were satisfied. Being on that stage is when I knew I wanted to sing forever.

In an era of streaming platforms, how do you feel about the changing landscape of music consumption and its impact on independent musicians?

It is definitely tough being an independent artist in this era, due to streaming. It can be costly to make quality music, and due to the low pay of streams, it’s hard to see a return on your investment. Also, we are in an era where consumers have short attention spans, so there is a lot of pressure to constantly pump out music. Taking a long hiatus can be risky because people might not be checking for you if you come back. I do love the accessibility of streaming, however, I do hope there is an improvement in payout if this continues to be the way we consume music.