LISTEN: Shea Rose brings Sinéad O'Connor's message back to light in the face of recent tragedies.
Shea Rose Addresses Police Brutality With Stirring Cover of Sinéad O’Connor’s
“Black Boys On Mopeds”
Twenty-six years after Sinéad O’Connor wrote “Black Boys On Mopeds,” her words are as relevant as ever.
Shea Rose has given new life to those words with a version of the song that reflects all the emotion and turmoil of recent world events. Her voice, barely more than a whisper at times, echoes the pain felt in Orlando, the confusion in England, and the grief over the recent deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.
On her 1990 album, I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got, Sinéad O’Connor sang about police brutality in the UK. The album was a tribute to Colin Roach, an innocent 21-year-old black man who was shot and killed by the British police. “Black Boys On Mopeds” was written about an incident in O’Connor’s neighborhood where the police assumed that two black teenage boys had stolen a moped, which was actually borrowed, and chased them until they crashed.
Though the lyrics reference England in the 1990s, Shea feels that this song serves as a universal statement on the social and political climate of the world today. The song came to mind after the shooting and unrest in Ferguson. As more and more stories of police brutality came out, Shea was hesitant to release her recording, fearing it could be taken the wrong way. As the song goes, “To say what you feel is to dig your own grave.” But now, with an election on the horizon, Shea has chosen to use her platform to spark a conversation about the disquieting conditions across the world.
"These are dangerous days.
To say what you feel is to dig your own grave."
“An artist’s voice is sacred,” Shea states.
“We end up taking the fall for what other people are fearful to say.”
Sinéad O’Connor has taken the fall for speaking out, being portrayed as mentally unstable after expressing her political views. Female singers have repeatedly been ostracized for speaking their minds – take Natalie Maines from the Dixie Chicks as another example. But for Shea, this is more than a statement: it’s the beginning of an important dialogue.
“Music with a social meaning deserves a different kind of platform,” producer Simone Scazzocchio says.
And so together, Shea and Simone are presenting this song not as a musical performance, but as a conversation with the community. This conversation will take place over the next few weeks through social media, in person community meetings, and listening parties.
“It takes a community to lift these songs up to be heard,” Shea says, “so we are reaching out to give this song a collective voice.”
Join Shea and Simone to listen and discuss:
Listening Party | Conversation
Tuesday, August 16th 5-7:30pm
1175 Tremont St., Boston
Live Twitter Conversation @SheaRose, #BBOM
Thursday, July 14th at 7pm and Friday, July 15th at 3pm
“Black Boys On Mopeds” serves as a single release bridging Rose’s 2011 Little Warrior mixtape and her upcoming EP, D.T.M.A. (Dance This Mess Around), which will be released later this fall.
Collaborators on the track include:
Producer | Arranger
Vocal Coach | Consultant
Dr. Ysaye Barnwell
Former member of African American a cappella ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock
Audio Mix and Master
Owner and Engineer at Chillhouse Studios
Shea Rose is an acclaimed singer and songwriter based out of Boston. She is a featured songwriter and performer on two Grammy award-winning jazz albums, The Mosaic Project and Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue, both produced by legendary drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and featuring an all-star cast of musicians including Esperanza Spalding, Patrice Rushen, and the incomparable Herbie Hancock.
She was named the 2012 Pop/R&B Artist of the Year and the 2011 R&B/Soul/Urban/ Contemporary Artist of the Year at the Boston Music Awards, and for the past year has been curating the RISE Music Series at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum with Simone Scazzocchio.
Off stage, Shea is dedicated to working with local and national communities through her music for social change initiative, “My Angel Wears A Fro.” Her outreach includes volunteering, live and in-studio performances, coaching, workshops, lectures, and clinics. She has worked with over 30 community organizations, including the Amazon Aid Foundation, Music2Life, Safer is S.E.X.Y., and Berklee College of Music.
Shea is available for interviews and in-studio performances
and would be happy to discuss this single and her upcoming EP.
Please email email@example.com with any press inquiries.