19 years old from Virginia Beach, VA Shaolin’s warm voice and kindred spirit have bore a sizable hole in a sturdy, metallic industry in need of a softer side. The rising singer, who’s in the earliest stage of career, has won over some of music’s greatest minds in her relentless pursuit of transforming the world at the junctions of hip-hop, R&B, and alternative music.
Shaolin’s childhood motivated her to pursue music. She had a journey of a lot of ups and downs, with bumps on the road being commonplace. She realized that she enjoyed music when she got into the first Rock Band video game and couldn’t stop performing its fiery records. Constantly singing along and jumping in place, imaging herself on a stage actually playing the records, she fell in love with the craft of singing. But at first, it wasn’t her focus — she switched to poetry through her middle school years to hone in on creative language.
By the time that high school came around, her itch to sing returned, and that’s when she began to focus on it. At 16 years old, she had transitioned from writing passionate poetry to intense songs about identity and emotion. At 18 years old, she decided to take singing seriously and pursue it as a career. In between those years, she put out five singles on SoundCloud that reflected her growing interests, but it wouldn’t be until shortly after that she’d fully step into the industry.
Shaolin made a splash into the music industry with the release of OME, which means “Organized Mixed Emotions.” Her debut project portrayed her creative entryway into hip-hop and R&B — one that was inspired by rock bands like Yeah Yeah Yeah and Nickelback, pop singers like Billie Eilish and FKA Twigs, and rappers like Tyler, The Creator. She also released songs like “COWBOY BEAT BOP” and “RETRO LOVE” and has continued to work the music that’s already been released because of its sticking power.
Normally, having a tiny bit of music out doesn’t always lead to massive success. But due to the quality of Shaolin’s music, she’s broken the mold. During a trip to Atlanta, due to her catalog, she was able to audition in front of A&Rs for the Revolt Summit and ended up going on stage and performing. This led to her winning the Be Heard contest where industry figures, and artists worldwide, got a chance to see her and what she was capable of up close. After this event, people were contacting her management team left and right, with her now being known on a much wider level.
This began on a series of events that would lead her to working with Heir Wave Music Group. The record label’s music team reached out to her and set up a meeting with its founder, Pusha-T to see what she’s about. The meeting went well, especially with its general manager Doug coming to see her later at a show, leading to her joining the label’s roster so that it can fully support her and make her into a certified superstar.
What’s next for Shaolin is anyone’s guess, but everyone knows one thing: it’ll be grand than before, as with each of her steps so far. She is set to release the Blackstone EP on Thanksgiving and is always working on music ahead of that, being the future-facing thinker that she is. As the world prepares for her new releases coming up and in the future, she wants them to realize that she’s a singer of multiple sounds and genres and to always be ready for her to switch at a moment’s notice. She never tries to be anything that she is not, so her experiments are solely for the purpose of expressing her creative vision in as many ways as possible. Shaolin’s a new kind of creative in the music industry; one that separates her identity from the music that gets released. She’s already changing the game without an album out.