When JSaysOnline commemorated the release anniversary of Danity Kane's last album "Welcome to the Dollhouse" (I loved Danity Kane; they were racially diverse & had no lead singer) back in March, former member Shannon Bex was kind enough to do an interview with us to talk about the album, the group and of course, her current endeavors. At the time, she was working on a new country EP, "I'm a Woman," which is now available on ITunes. Here's the music video to her official single, "I'm Out." One of the things I've loved about Bex since following her career is that she has such eclectic musical tastes. The song may be country, but she's giving us "pop life" (shout-out to Prince) with awesome choreography in the video (Bex is a trained dancer, by the way). Hit the comment button and let me know what you think of the song. You can keep up with Shannon at http://www.shannonbex.com/
4 years ago today, MTV’s "Making the Band 3" girl group, Danity Kane, released what would be their last album, "Welcome to the Dollhouse.” The group gradually fell apart after two members, Aubrey O’Day & D. Woods, were dismissed by the man who formed the R&B/pop quintet, Sean “Diddy” Combs. As most of the members have tried to maintain their music careers, still heartbroken, yet devoted fans have continued to support them along the way. Shannon Bex, known as the ‘mother figure’ in the group, gave JSaysOnline an in-depth interview, dishing about the downsides of the music industry, the DK breakup and her current endeavors.
JSaysOnline: It’s been four years since Danity Kane’s final release, Welcome to the Dollhouse, and the group’s disbandment. What’s happened in that time for you professionally and what are you pursuing presently?
Bex: Since DK was officially disbanded in ’09, I took a full year to spend with my husband and focus on the next journey. Then I headed down to Nashville. Started writing and really exploring the type of sound I wanted. The process is still moving forward. I’m not working with a label, which means a lot of creative freedom, but it also means the process takes a lot longer if you want to do it right.
JSaysOnline: What is your ideal goal as a recording artist and who inspires you the most creatively?
Bex: My goal is always quality of product and the brand I represent as a person and artist. Gwen Stefani is a wonderful representation of a well thought out brand: from her style [and] songs, to LAMB [Stefani's clothing line], to how she balances her family. Everything has a beautiful streamline and consistency. I’m very excited to see what she does next.
JSaysOnline: In 2003, you placed second on NBC’s Fame. You survived Making the Band auditions and got a place in Danity Kane, but the group ultimately disbanded. Starting and stopping seems to be a big part of pursuing a music career. How have the ups and downs impacted you emotionally?
Bex: The entertainment business is always starting and stopping. You have to find a good balance between investing into your work and personal life. You never know when your last gig, job, [or] concert will come. The consistency in your life will come from family and friends. A music career can break you emotionally. So be confident in who you are and what you bring. Don’t make moral sacrifices to succeed in the game. That way, when it’s all said and done, you know you did your best and you didn’t compromise.
JSaysOnline: In addition to emotional ups and downs, there might be financial ones as well. Do you have any suggestions on how aspiring artists can survive until they reach their goal?
Bex: It takes a lot of dedication and perseverance. If you’re looking to get into this business to make millions--or even thousands--of dollars, you shouldn’t be in it. Your focus can’t be monetary. In the height of touring and filming Making the Band, I would fly back home and work at another job on my time off just to make ends meet. I never had time off, still don’t. Haha! You have to love what you do first and foremost. It is a full time job if you want to do it right.
JSaysOnline: Speaking of financial matters, some would assume that an artist is wealthy because they have a gold or platinum record like Danity Kane had. How true is this assumption?
Bex: …I can’t begin to count how many people assume I have a mansion right next to Puff. Honestly, it’s quite sad how hard artists work and how the lack of support and good management and bad business can affect them. That’s why you hear so many stories of celebs going bankrupt. There is so much to understand and learn outside of the stage and nobody takes the time to show you. My time with Danity Kane was a crash course. It was a very educational, hands on experience. The number one thing I came to understand is that it’s truly 90% business, 10% talent. That’s why many extremely talented people don’t make it…they don’t understand business or have anyone around them to help.
JSaysOnline: Coming back to your experience in Danity Kane, I think there was a lot of growth between Dollhouse and the first album. Did you see this growth? What do you think Danity Kane would have blossomed into if not for the split?
Bex: DK was so excited when Dollhouse was finished. However, it didn’t start out sounding like the finished product. There were a lot of phone calls, meetings and frustrating conversations with Puff, A&R and the label. If we didn’t say anything, it would have been good, but more of a slow R&B album. We knew it had to cross-over and be an international pop-dance record. Thankfully, Puff understood what we were trying to accomplish on this record and he released a lot of creativity to us. As for our future, we would constantly talk about the vision of DK. That’s why when I say we didn’t know the split was going to happen, it’s an honest answer. Eventually, we envisioned releasing five albums down the line that would compliment each girl’s individual style. For example, Aundrea’s CD may have been pop with a Latin influence, while mine would have ventured down the country path. Giving each girl a chance to shine in their strength and style, while all five CD’s would have still shared all of our voices and a common DK thread.
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