Black Immigrant Daily News
Shantal Martin is a trailblazer in her own right.
The Barbadian opera singer and beauty/style influencer famously known as ‘hairaconda‘ is using her platform to showcase her creativity and the exemplary musical prowess of local artistes like herself.
The Shantal Show officially launched on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2022 with the first episode titled The Christmas Special.
The production featured comedian Jherad ‘Lord Zenn’ Alleyne, the ‘orange hair songbird’ Nikita Herbert ne? Browne and actor Jabari Browne.
It tickled all the right chords with its blend of internationally renowned Christmas carols and elements of a Bajan Christmas with classics such as Bumba’s Christmas Feeling.
Shantal told Loop Lifestyle the idea of The Shantal Show was sparked after the conclusion of her notorious Halloween looks series in October.
“I was coming off of Halloween and I was feeling a burst of creative energy but it wasn’t tied to makeup. I really enjoy making the musical videos I do periodically on my Instagram and decided I wanted it to be long form content as well. I watch a lot of variety shows from the 60’s and 70’s so I was inspired by the Julie Andrews Hour,” she revealed.
She immediately set it in motion, partnering with Stefan Walcott on the musical arrangement, Noize Boyz for audio engineering, Matthew ‘Fewwture’ Ashby for videography and editing and Jherad ‘Lord Zenn’ Alleyne for writing.
“Preparing the production was actually pretty easy. My team honestly is amazing. They listened to me and we came up with a show in less than a month.
“Execution only was challenging because Christmas is a seriously busy season so it took a lot to get all of our schedules plus the other guests Nikita and Jabari together and free at the same time,” Shantal shared.
The fruits of her labour have definitely been sweet, as there was an outpouring of love from the locals and the diaspora. Even musical ‘anti-fans’ were expressing their love for the production.
“I was pleasantly shocked by the response….I didn’t expect as many people to like it as they did because I’m used to hearing most people say they don’t like musicals. I don’t think I realised I took that as a challenge but I guess I did because it seemed to transcend some people’s dislike for musicals,” she told Loop.
Describing herself as a “big believer in carving out and creating spaces and places for yourself”, Shantal says she wants to act as a “peephole to the theatre world”, highlighting the talents of Barbadian talents and serving to inspire future creatives.
“In the future I’m hoping to develop it into a live TV broadcast with an audience, like how the original variety shows of its time were or like Saturday Night Live. But I also want it to serve as a peep hole to the theatre world which isn’t always that accessible. If I can inspire new generations of musicians to look and learn these genres I’d be happy as well as opening new audiences to the magic of theatre.”
She also expressed that she hopes to include musical theatre and opera composers in the future – so open casting call!
“I’m not a song writer but I do support original composers so I’d love there to be a space for that within the show. I’m not sure if we have any musical theatre or opera composers on the island but if we do I wanted the show to be a space for their work to shine.”
The next episode of The Shantal Show is set to be released in February around Valentine’s Day. While tightlipped about what the future episodes will include, Shantal spilled that two to three episodes will also be released between Easter and Summer, as well as musical videos she will be creating with Rommell ‘Sleepi Did This’ Alleyne.
However she did let the cat out the bag to say that the show has also caught the attention of a local broadcaster – CBC TV 8.
“The Christmas episode is set to be broadcasted on CBC before the 12 days of Christmas is over,” Shantal shared.
“I do have a goal of it becoming a TV show on whatever streaming site would take me but until I get there you can find the full episodes on The Shantal Show on Youtube and keep up with the process on our Instagram and TikTok,” she added.