Singer and songwriter Shontelle used to write about anything as a child in her native Barbados.
She would write remixes to “Sesame Street,” Christmas songs, and chants for local cheerleaders, anything that would come to her mind.
“I was a weird child,” she said, sitting on a couch at a makeshift green room before a concert at Tanger Outlets in Deer Park as part of their free summer concert series. “I had a wild imagination.”
That imagination helped her write her new song “Say Hello to Goodbye,” and several other hits. And now fresh off a world tour with Beyonce and Jason Derulo the once “weird child” performed in front of a thousand screaming fans in Deer Park Saturday night, many of them lined up all the way back to the movie theater at the center of the outdoor mall.
As she performed her hit song “Impossible” her fans sang along and held phones and cameras in the air to catch a snapshot of the 24-year-old artist.
Standing on the stage with pink heels and one of a kind mosaic military officer hat created by Rodrigo Otazu, Shontelle sang into the microphone as her hit song bounced off the walls of outlet stores.
After singing “Perfect Nightmare” Shontelle said to the crowd “I didn’t know so many of you were going to come out tonight.” As kids yelled, “you’re amazing,” the singer shouted back “kids in Long Island have manners. I like that.”
Several fans in the crowd dancing to the music said “Impossible” was their favorite song. The singer remembered thinking “’Oh my gosh’…This is like an epic ballad,” when the song was first introduced to her.
“I got so excited about ‘Impossible,’ because I know so may people need a song like that,” she said, adding, “there’s got to be a lot of heartbroken people out there.”
The singer was discovered in Barbados after other caribbean artist would brag about her work as a songwriter. A song she wrote “blew up all over the Caribbean,” she said, and people in the industry took notice.
While in New York she got a phone call from SRP Music Group telling her they were interested. “I hopped on the first train and I went to them and the next thing you know we were making demos,” she said.
Although she’s getting used to life in the states, she does miss the “tropical paradise” back home, she said, where she visits once a year for Christmas.
“I miss my hot sauce, I miss my macaroni pie, I miss it all,” she yelled out before the concert. “You don’t even really know how cool growing up in Barbados is until you leave.” She added, “And then you’re like ‘why did I leave?’ ‘Oh yea, to do this music thing.’ So that will tell you how much I really love music.”
Shontelle’s teenager years in Barbados wasn’t all about music, she said. The singer studied law and philosophy at the University of West Indies, and was a military drill sergeant, which she credits for helping with her booming voice.
“I had guys doing pushups for me and saluting me,” she said with a smile.
Two albums later she’s still learning how to grow in the industry, she said. After watching Beyonce perform during her world tour Shontelle said, “I learned how to win,” and called that experience “impactful.”
The last four years of her life have been a “whirl wind,” she said. “I’m still catching up to myself right now.”