One’s award-winning documentary series UNSUNG spotlights Shan
non, the mother of freestyle, this Sunday, March 22, 2020 at 10 p.m. ET/9C.
Bursting onto the dance scene with her 1983 breakthrough hit “Let the Music Play,” Brenda Shannon Greene – better known as Shannon – was at the helm of a genre-defining sound. Known as “The Mother of Freestyle,” her blend of Latin-inspired percussion, dance and hip-hop paved the way for artists such as Lisa Lisa and The Cover Girls. Her follow up hits “Give Me Tonight,” “My Heart’s Divided” and “Do You Wanna Get Away” dominated the soundtrack of the early ‘80s club scene and brought Shannon international fame. Behind the scenes, however, the pioneering artist struggled with warring record labels that started a 30-year battle for control over her music. Now, UNSUNG takes a deeper look into the life and career of a musical trendsetter as she steps into a new phase of an ever-evolving journey.
Right On! Digital’s CEO Cynthia Horner caught up with Shannon to find out how she felt about being featured on Unsung and how she’s continued to thrive in the competitive music industry.
Q: “Let The Music Play” was always a favorite song of mine. Did you know how significant that song was?
A: I didn’t, at the time, but everyone else around me knew. When we first heard the song, people said it would be the next big record.
Q: You always had beautiful photos and hairstyles. You were a trendsetter at the time.
A: Thank you. I always wanted to have my own sound, image and style. I looked up to artists like Diana Ross and Patti LaBelle.
Q: So how does it feel to be a part of this amazing franchise?
A: I had been wanting to do it but something was holding me back. But I went ahead.
Q: Well, you look great and you’re in incredible shape.
A: Thank you. That’s a blessing from God. I try to make sure that I eat right and drink a lot of water since your body needs it. I try to drink a gallon of water a day and eat a lot of fruits, vegetables and salad. I stay away from the hard core sugar. I also stretch to keep myself limber. When you get older you have to decide how much life you want to enjoy. I wanted to make the moves I used to make, so that meant staying healthy.
Q: You haven’t released new material in awhile. When will we hear more music from you?
A: In the fall I plan to release “The Good Life.”
Q: What advice would you give to young music biz hopefuls who learn of the challenges that you and other artists have faced in the past?
A: The music business is hard; you have to be up for the challenge. You also have to learn to invest in yourself.
Q: You were almost like an overnight success back in the 80’s. When you disappeared off your fans’ radar, what were you doing?
A: I left the music business because I was so sick of it and I got a job. I tried different things. I drove a cab, I worked at an advertising agency, but it wasn’t for me. I went back into the music business and I was able to do a lot of shows outside of the United States in places like Europe, Cairo, Tel Aviv, Mexico and the Caribbean.
Q: How did it feel to have artists like Lisa Lisa talk about how inspirational you were?
A: I respect her and any other artist that gives credit, especially since there are some artists who want to take the light.
Q: How can fans find you on social media?
A: Follow me on Instagram @shannonletthemusicplay. And I want to thank Right On! for the exposure that you gave me in the past.
WATCH A CLIP HERE: