Simona Shao is an emerging singer/songwriter who made her professional solo recording debut in 2017 with the single “Fall Away”. That somber piano ballad introduced a talented young singer/songwriter from Los Angeles, California. Prior to releasing her own music, the singer made a name for herself on the international stage in competitions and television appearances.
Since her debut, Simona Shao has dropped a steady string of successful singles. She has connected with millions of fans around the world with hit songs like the Solstis/Sands collab, “In My Head”. Over the last five years the singer has developed a distinct and soulful r&b sound.
“The Only Thing I’ve Known” is the brand new single from Simona Shao, released worldwide via all major streaming services on November 11, 2022. A smooth jazz guitar opens the track and the singer steps to the mic for her melancholy soliloquy. She looks back wistfully at the past and contemplates a brighter future. The beat drops on a chilled downtempo lo-fi r&b/trap groove as dreamy vocal harmonies paint the periphery.
Check out “The Only Thing I’ve Known” below. You can also hear the song on the Deep Indie Beat playlist, or listen on your favorite streaming services. We had the chance to chat with Simona Shao about her journey. Check out her answers to our 8 questions below. Follow the links at the end of this article to connect with the artist.
8 Questions with Simona Shao
Where are you from?
Simona Shao: I was born and raised in LA (in a town called Arcadia). I grew up attending an all girls private school in Pasadena called Westridge that was known for their amazing arts program, and then went to the University of Pennsylvania in the east coast for college, studying finance and management at the Wharton School of Business, but also completing a minor in their music school.
How long have you been making music?
I began studying classical piano at the age of 4, but started writing my own music around age 13. My classical voice teacher at the time encouraged me to explore creating my own songs, and I would post them to Youtube and SoundCloud.
I started to perform these songs live on TV show singing competitions, such as the 2012 International Beijing Water Cube Cup and 2013 ICN Network’s “American Stars.” This was the start of my music career, and since then, I have been blessed to have worked with Dillon Francis on writing the theme song for a Comedy Central TV show he was piloting, record demo tracks with producer John Feldmann, and collaborate with some amazing electronic artists.
Who are the musicians involved in your project?
My talented friend Joseph Lee (also known as Jae Luna) was the producer, who also mixed and mastered the track. We sat down numerous times to build out the production sound and drew from various R&B influences that I found inspiring.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
I find tons of inspiration vocally and sonically from Kehlani, SZA, Summer Walker, Emotional Oranges, and Kacey Musgraves. From my classical background, I have also always been inspired by the French composer, Claude Debussy, with his ethereal and dreamlike melodies. With my own music, I want to go for a luscious but emotionally driven R&B/pop vibe and hope I can continue building this sound out.
What is your greatest non-musical influence?
The happiest but also most challenging moments in my life are definitely the biggest source of musical inspiration. I’m able to channel the best and most beautiful memories with friends and loved ones, but also the most difficult and painful times, into my lyrics and melodies to build out a unique musical world within each song.
What inspired you to create this project?
This particular project was inspired by the idea of taking something for granted, but realizing too late that it should have been cherished and protected while you had it. People often feel this strange, innate urge to mess something up when it’s too perfect, and I tried to channel that feeling into this song. Sometimes the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
What are your plans for the future (musically)?
In early 2023, I will be releasing a future-bass/electronic track with my friend Adam (also known as Avello); we have been working on this one for over a year and I am really happy with how it turned out, so stay tuned. There are a few other electronic tracks in the works with several amazing producers which are going to be kept secret for now. I am definitely also trying to release another R&B/pop vibe single next year on my own.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
Balancing working full-time in finance and being an independent artist has been a difficult but amazingly rewarding experience. I’m so appreciative of the support that my fans have given me thus far and I am incredibly excited for what’s to come!