Superstar Shyra dishes on music, fame, and personal inspiration


Photo Courtesy Courtney Barnes PR

Superstar Shyra

Tonisha Barnes and Tonisha Barnes

Who doesn’t want to be a superstar? Unfortunately, not everyone has what it takes to claim star status. Luckily, Sacramento can say they helped produce at least one: Superstar Shyra, to be exact.

The superstar, Shyra Sanchez, is the writer and singer of the Billboard chart-topper “DJ Love Song,” a hit single from the movie “Abduction” which featured Taylor Lautner from the uber popular Twilight movies. Sanchez was given the name “Superstar Shyra” by director-producer-screenwriter John Singleton, who is known for films like “Boyz N the Hood,” “2 Fast 2 Furious,” and “Baby Boy.”

Sanchez, a Valley High School alumna and Sacramento native, sat down with the Current to discuss her popular single, plans for her debut album, and her journey to stardom.

It is said you are a multi-talented individual, what talents do you possess?

Singing, acting, dancing, I also play guitar, bass, conga. I also love teaching kids. It’s a very strong passion of mine because it’s a talent too. It’s all about giving back and being a role model, I think that’s very important when being an entertainer.

Having many talents, when did you know you wanted to sing?

I’d say probably the age of three. My mom thought I had the terrible twos, it didn’t go away, and she took me to the counselor. I’ve always been like (my) mom. I want to sing; I want to be an entertainer. And she put me into dance, and it just happened from there. I sang in church as well.

Your song “DJ Love Song” is classified in the dance/house/club genre. What drew you to sing that type of music?

I love all types of music, and having my background of dance and being multi-cultural — Egyptian, Latin, American Indian — I’ve always been into music. My mother conditioned me with well-rounded music. I used to be in a heavy metal band in Sacramento. I’ve tried all different types of music. I love the dance music because it’s very international and it’s very passionate, and you can just touch people. I just love the dance music, you do anything and talk about anything, you can talk about love, (sadness), happiness, whatever. You don’t have to put yourself into one box.

So what is like to have a song push its way up the Billboard Break-Out Dance Chart?

It’s very exciting. Also, being an (unsigned) artist, it’s very, very exciting. When I made “DJ Love Song,” I knew it was going to be number one, so being able to experience being on the Billboard charts with Chris Brown, Madonna, (Jennifer Lopez) — there’s all these different types of people — it’s just been an amazing experience. We got the call that my record is No. 30. Last week No. 30 was Chris Brown. So it’s like, “Oh my God, it’s happening.” I’m a strong believer, and very spiritual in God, and (he’s) the reason why I am this far.

What was the inspiration for “DJ Love Song”? It was on the “Abduction” movie soundtrack, but what inspired you to write the song itself?

I wanted to have a song that related to girls going out and having a great time, or to anyone going out and having a great time. If you listen to the lyrics it talks about going into the club and doing something that you usually don’t do. You have the guys popping bottles and stuff but you don’t hear about girls having a great time in the V.I.P., it’s always the guys. So I’m like, “You know what? I want to write a song for us women so that we can go out and have a great time.”

With your single rising on the Billboard charts, when can your fans expect your debut album?

(The album) can be expected at the end of 2012.

What type of songs should we look forward to hearing from you?

My next single is going to be “Baby Tonight,” which is written by myself and Andre Merritt, (who) wrote Rihanna’s “Disturbia.” (“Baby Tonight”) talks about being in a dance club having a good time, feeling someone’s vibe, and dancing with them. I’m a dancer so when we created that song I wanted it to be dance-related through the video and everything. So when you see the video (and) when you see the performance, it’s going to be very visual as far as the dance moves. It’s going to have a lot of color.

I have another song called “Green,” meaning green with envy. I don’t want this guy to be with anyone, so it just makes me green with envy. It’s kind of like a country song, (but) it’s really pop. (Also) “No Ordinary Girl.” That one talks about, “Don’t look at me as just another girl. I want to live my life (and) take over the world.” I guess you can say I have, like, these empowering songs for people. Not just women, but for everyone, because I feel that everyone needs encouragement and I think music needs to uplift you, make you feel good, so when you put on that song you feel like I can conquer the world; I can do this.

How would you define your music style?

Something that I call my music is “MESH” music (metal, evolutionary rock, soul, and hip-hop). I do all types of music, all genres of music. So when people say what’s your type of music? That’s my type of music. I do everything. Don’t put me in a box.

What else can we expect from Superstar Shyra?

I’ll be in San Francisco doing (Gay) Pride (and) will be in Sacramento hopefully to be playing at Faces. Also I’m going to be doing a camp for kids (in Sacramento). It’s called the Super Pop Star Camp, and I’m going to be teaching kids ages 7 to 14 about singing and dancing and how to be a pop star. A lot of people gave back when I was younger and I know how much it affected my life.

Kids want to be loved, they want to be nurtured and sometimes they’re not getting it at home. And also they’re taking a lot of the arts out of the schools so they have nothing to look forward to. Where (will we find) our next Miles Davis? We’re not going to have that anymore unless we as a people, being an entertainer, give back. How are the kids going to know about this? Instead of turning to drugs they can go and do dance and do singing or exercise or something positive in their life.

Thank you once again for speaking with the Current.

Thank you.