Artavia Shareese talks about her musical career, influences and her first single “Free” | @ArtaviaShareese
An exciting new, Urban, Contemporary Gospel artist by the name of Artavia Shareese is impacting her generation in the Lone Star State and beyond with her fabulous, new track called Free. As the daughter of a pastor and prophet,Artavia understands ministry and has accepted her calling to minister to millennials merging the magnetic sounds of R&B, Hip Hop and Soul with lyrics that point to the heavens. BlackGospel.com spoke with Shareese about her debut single, her occasional fall from grace and her newfound freedom in Jesus.
Christopher Heron: Artavia, tell us a little bit about the evolution of your musical career, the journey that’s brought you to the point of releasing your own music.
Artavia Shareese: I was raised into a Christian home where my late father was the Pastor of our church and my mother, whom you’ll have the chance to hear on my single, is a Prophet. I was automatically “involved” but it always gave me great pleasure to be active and singing just happened to be what I loved the most. I always sang at churches that we fellowshipped with and I began receiving request for me to sing. Around age 20, I wanted to try singing on my own as someone who could possibly make this a career. I gained a bit of experience watching other local artists/groups perform and I received support and advice from some great artists.
Christopher Heron: Who are a few artists that influenced and inspired you over the years or artists you’ve worked with that impacted you and why have they been so impressionable?
Artavia Shareese: I have been influenced by a number of artists and styles of music. I grew up listening to a lot of Gospel artists such as Mary Mary, Yolanda Adams, and Kirk Franklin. I am inspired by artists such as Tasha Cobbs, Kierra Sheard, Mali Music, Francesca Battistelli, FLAME, and Casey J. Really the list is too long to compose but these artists are all over my playlist.
Christopher Heron: Your first single, Free, is a testimony of liberation and restoration. Is this a very personal expression? Could you share how this song speaks to your own experience?
Artavia Shareese: ‘Free’ began as I was praying and asking for repentance from God for continuously falling short of His will. I knew that I was doing wrong and I’d ask for forgiveness just to fall and do the same thing over again. Sin freshly crucifies. I kept telling myself, “you can’t love Christ when you continuously do the wrong thing because it’s what you want to do.” I started becoming distant from Christ because I couldn’t consciously lift my hands to “worship” knowing they were filthy. When I stopped trying to hide my flaws and just said, “God here I am and I don’t want to be out of your will anymore. Cleanse my mind, my heart, every part of me and please turn not your face from me…” THAT is when I felt liberated. I also had to forgive myself and not allow guilt to take over.
Christopher Heron: How exciting and challenging is it for you, as an independent artist, to tell your own tale through music and be a witness for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as a soloist? What have been some of the important lessons you’re learning on the fly about being an independent artist?
Artavia Shareese: At times it is challenging to share my story as I am human, I really don’t like being exposed and having others pick apart personal situations I’ve been in, however if God says, ‘talk’ my mouth moves! If sharing my testimony brings another soul to Christ, I’m more than willing. I’ve learned that not every opportunity that presents itself is for you. I’ve also learned and was taught you should seek God in all things as that will keep away a lot of headaches. I’m just staying prayed up and praying for discernment! Another major thing I’ve learned is that you need to be ready at ALL times.
Christopher Heron: Is this the beginning of great things to come? Are there plans in the works for more music? And why was Free the perfect debut song for Artavia Shareese?
Artavia Shareese: This is definitely the beginning of great things to come!! I am currently working on finishing the full work of the EP and I’m excited; can’t wait to share it with everyone! I believe Free was the perfect debut song because it gives the prelude and foundation to the type of artist I am. My music is relevant and will touch the lives of people around the world. I want people to walk away with a fire in their souls placed by the Holy Spirit.
Christopher Heron: Finally, what is the lasting impression and important message you hope to leave with the listener through your song, Free?
Artavia Shareese: The message that I want listeners to walk away with is that although you may fall, get back up! Yes, you may lose a few friends because you choose to follow the path God has set for you but that’s okay! Share your testimony! It will help other believers know that they are not alone, they are loved, and God can turn around their situations using them to minister to others!