Boom Ba Yay Shanelle

What do Fried Twinkies, mending broken hearts, the life of a performer and concerts in Africa all have in common? They're all things that were talked about on October 2, 2009 when elleELLEeye sat down with Miss Shanelle Gabriel! Who is Shanelle Gabriel you ask? She's a poet, singer, songwriter and inspiration to anyone living with Lupus.

Here's what happened when we met up with Shanelle in NYC for an interview:

We know that you grew up singing in church, but what inspired you to want to become a performer? I graduated in 2006 from Utica College with a degree in Communication Arts. I like working with kids and I worked at Harlem Children’s Zone. After working there, I worked at a financial company for 9 months and that just put me to sleep so I needed something that would keep me going. You should do something you love rather than what other want you to do. I didn’t fall asleep on stage so I knew that performing was it. I knew that I could write but I had to ask myself,

"Can I write for people to listen to me?"
and that's when I began slam poetry.

What’s your favorite childhood memory? After Christmas, or any holiday my sisters and I would play music, sing and dance.

When did you start performing? I think I was 11-years-old.

Do you remember what your first performance was like? I was performing at Nuyorican Poetry Café and the paper in my hand was shaking. No wait...that wasn’t the first time. It was when I sang "Send Me I’ll Go" at church and I had attitude!

Do you have an alter ego when you perform? No, no Sasha Fierce here.

“I’m me!"
It’s important for me to be myself on stage because that’s what the people want to see.

Stage fright? No, but before a performance I get a little anxious.

What’s your favorite piece to perform? It changes; I’m getting a little tired of "Why I Love You". But "Possibilities" would be my favorite. It’s the first time I combined singing and poetry. Also, I think that this poem is so universal, it can apply to you whether it relates to love, work, etc. everyone can relate to it.

How’d you get started with HBO Def Poetry Jam? They didn’t find me I found them. I submitted my work and felt real excited about the whole thing...until I got to the dressing room and knew everyone that was there [laughs]. It was a lot like nationals. But Stan Lathan is cool.

How do you keep your personal and professional life separate? It’s hard to have a personal life. I bring work on stage with me and that’s what makes it great.

How would you define love? My definition of love is so fly, you ready?
"Love is when you and your partner try to out love one another. It’s not one-sided and it's not about getting love back."

What advice do you have to mend a broken heart? Just get over it! Holding onto the wrong person will only hurt you in the end. You’ve gotten over things in the past, so what makes this so different?

What's your guilty pleasure? Fried Twinkies from the "Chip Shop" in Brooklyn.

Name three things you live for. I live to: (1) make people smile, (2) prove others wrong by following my dreams and (3) enjoy life.

What’s the last song you were listening to? "'Til I Collapse" by Eminem.

Who is your favorite celebrity to hang out with? There's a few, I like hanging out with Graph. I went to a party with him and I had a blast. I also met Joe Budden and it was so funny because I didn’t know who he was at first and he’s like "Hi I’m Joe" and I kept saying "You look so familiar". I asked him where he was from and he said Jersey...after a while I realized it was Joe, Joe Budden!

If being a performer wasn’t an option, what would you be doing right now? I would probably be a teacher or a counselor. I feel like you can still be creative and I like to work with people.

What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not performing? Eat. Food! I’m passionate about food!

If sky was the limit, what would be your dream performance? I would have a crazy dope show in Africa, the motherland, and it would be a fundraiser for the Lupus Foundation. The performers would be Stevie Wonder, Jill Scott, Michael Jackson (R.I.P.), Jay-Z, and me of course. They would be chanting "Boom Ba Yay Shanelle" and we would all rock out and all perform at the end together. That would be so dope!

What’s next for Shanelle Gabriel? I’m just working on some new tracks for the next album, performing, and writing.

Shanelle was a pleasure to interview and we wish her the best in all that she does! Before we parted ways, she decided to sing elleELLEeye a little something that she's working on. Check it out:

YouTube Link

To see what's coming up next for Shanelle,
Check Out Her Website
Follow Shanelle on Twitter

Spread Love. Live Life. Be Inspired.

TeAM elleELLEeye
t i f f a n y & DANiE
Proud supporter of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society


  1. sage said...:

    I thoroughly enjoyed your piece on shanelle I'm just coming across elleELLE thru this!I'm a poet in nigeria west africa practically responsible for kicking the spoken word movement here with two albums over a hundred public performances almost weekly tv appearance!thk you for putting the word out!my name is sage hasson

  1. Anonymous said...:

    this was mad cute. very nice ladies! yall are working over there

  1. t i f f a n y said...:

    I'm glad that both of you enjoyed it! Shanelle was a pleasure to work with!

    Make sure you pass the word along. We're greatful tat someone from Nigeria would find interst in our blog. Thanks again!

  1. Terrence (via Facebook) said...:

    i read the interview with Shanelle Gabriel...nice!! she too funny and i love her definition of love

  1. Sherwin X.L. said...:

    Nice interview...

    Sherwin X.L.

  1. Jeff said...:

    This is a cool interview. Seems like you covered everything. I heard about her before and watched her on youtube. She's pretty dope

  1. Ashley said...:

    I love Shanelle. She has a great spirit and personality. This is by far the best interview that I've read with her.

  1. DANiE said...:

    This NEVER gets old! so Inspiring

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