How Shenseea rise from being a bottle girl to landing two spots on Kanye West’s landmark album, Donda?
In her meteoric rise to international dancehall fame, Shenseea has transcended the telling tiers of a success story expeditiously. From the vantage point of everything she has achieved already, it is quite easy to forget that it was only five years ago that the dancehall star exploded onto the scene with her Vybz Kartel-assisted breakout hit “Loodi.” At the time, many doubted the prospect of her longevity on the podium in the dancehall arena, having had the dancehall mogul aid her initiation. However, Shenseea has proven time and time again that she can not only stand on her own but is a force to be reckoned with.
Despite the fact that her fans still await her highly-anticipated freshman studio album, Shenseea remains one of the top dogs in dancehall music with her decorated discography of singles, music videos, and international collaborations. The deejay has accomplished far more than a majority of artists have, with far less at the opportune young age of 24 years old. The same age many of her former co-workers would have been when she was a bottle service and promo vixen just a few years ago.
Her start in the entertainment industry commenced with a thin-figured Chinsea Lee clad in promotional agency-branded attire and roaming parties with liquor and champagne bottle sparklers. Never one to shy away from her hustle, the superstar has recounted her early days in the industry on a number of occasions. In a November 2020 interview, Shenseea said she actually enjoyed working as a promo girl and was one of the top workers for Romeich Entertainment and even became highly requested by patrons. Romeich Major kept her on even after the release of her first single, “Jiggle Jiggle,” and her breakout hit “Loodi” later that year.
As 2016 wrapped up with dancehall fans then completely aware of exactly who Shenseea was, it eventually became time for her to solely focus on her music and leave her bottle service and promo girl days behind. By this time, the singer had a 1-year-old son, a booming start to her career, and the music industry at her fingertips. At the top of 2017, when she did an interview with Winford Williams for the popular entertainment talk show OnStage, Shenseea declared that in five years, she would be an international recording artist and reckoned that she would be traveling so much it would be hard to call one place home. It would be quite accurate to say the elite dancehall star hit the nail on the head with her forecast, as her resume today proves that she has manifested this and much more.
In her interview with Yendi Phillipps lasy year, Shenseea revealed that she has never written a song all her life until late 2015 after the birth of her son. “After the birth of my son I felt that it was time. I just felt the calling like ‘start,'” she told Yendi. “At that time I had never written a song before in my life; we’re talking about November, December 2015. Never written a song. I was on Facebook and all of that doing covers of other people’s songs.”
In 2017, Shenseea shared a throwback photo of herself from her bottle service girl days working at Dream Weekend while reminding fans where she is coming from.
“Throwback to when I was a bottle girl at Dream Weekend…Hustler from long time…Most Outstanding Bottle girl,” she wrote on IG. “A nuh just now me a work hard…Nuff people used to trouble me about my “fake slippers” weh look like “Bridget” and dem tired fi see me beat me one slippers and laugh afa me. But guess what! That didn’t stop me nor distract me from my work. I wear what I have to do what is necessary! Not once have i overstepped my boundaries to please society. Plus, I now have so many Bridgets I cant count, yet never showed them off. I still remain humble through it all..Alot has changed, I have changed for the better but still as REAL as can be.”
After following up her breakout year success with memorable singles like “ShenYeng Anthem,” “Love I Got For U,” “Trending Gyal,” “Trick’a Treat,” and collaborations alongside the likes of Jahmiel, Tommy Lee, Konshens, and Sean Paul, Shenseea launched her transition to the international scene with California-based Jamaican producer Rvssian who produced her and Konshens’ “Hard Drive” in 2018. Then came 2019, the year the singer signed to a major label and released her first big international collaboration, “Blessed,” with rapper Tyga which peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Reggae Digital Song Sales chart. It was also the year that she was featured on Christina Aguilera’s 2018 album Liberation for the track “Right Moves” with the lead artist and reggae singer Keida.
Shenseea earned the label of fastest-rising dancehall artist, and by the following year, the singer locked down collaborations with Swae Lee, Young Thug, Masego, and more. However, her 2020 collaboration with Tarrus Riley titled “Lighter” is arguably her biggest hit to date, rivaling her previous year’s champion by surpassing its number of YouTube views with nearly 56 million streams and counting. Shenseea has been doing big things since she signed with Rvssian’s Rich Immigrants outfit under Interscope Records in 2019, but 2021 has already proven to be her best year yet. Since announcing that she has been signed to a new manager, Wassim ‘Sal’ Slaiby, who also has major artists like Diddy, The Weeknd, Doja Cat, French Montana, Ty Dolla $ign and more on his roster, Shenyeng has released a string of successful singles and graced multiple international stages. This summer, she became the first Jamaican dancehall artist to ever perform at the Rolling Loud Festival in Miami, and she also joined the lineup for Hot97’s Summer Jam 2021.
Her most recent accomplishment is by far the biggest of her career to date as the singer guest-starred on Kanye West’s tenth studio album Donda. Shenseea made not one but two appearances on the lengthy 27-track album. Displaying her ever-versatile range, the dancehall star showed off her smooth vocals on the track titled “Pure Souls” and her deejay prowess on “Ok Ok pt 2.” Kim Kardashian, for one, seems to be a fan of the latter as she has since shared the lyrics to her Instagram Story tagging Shenseea in the post. This would have introduced the Jamaican singer to the billionaire entrepreneur’s quarter-billion followers and given her a huge social media and career boost. The dancehall community, however, has had mixed reactions about Shenseea being tapped for Yeezy’s album, and the spectrum certainly is wide.
Of course, the Shenyeng gang has been nothing but supportive, toasting their leader for her latest accolade but others have scrutinized and undermined the achievement with speculation that the dancehall artist had to sell her soul to that end. While Shenseea has gained more haters as she climbs the ladder of success, she has also earned celebrity fans, including Megan Thee Stallion, Wild’n Out comedian Pretty Vee, supermodel Winnie Harlow, Love & Hip-Hop star and rapper Omeretta, and more. 21 Savage also seemed pretty fond when his mention of her in a 2019 live gaming session went viral. “I’m a fan!!!” he later wrote about the dancehall star on social media.
By now, Shenseea has a long list of international artists eager to collaborate with her, and it is rumored that her debut album will feature guest appearances by acts like Drake, H.E.R., Meek Mill, Lil TJay, Moneybagg Yo, with productions by Murda Beatz and London On Da Track with whom she shares her Canadian manager.
There is no denying Shenseea’s fast-track ascension in the music industry, and her career continues to bloom every day. She recently announced that her debut studio album is finally complete, which means its arrival date is sure to be a catalyst to another career growth spurt.
It was only a few years ago that so many doubted the sustainability of her presence in the industry, but now it is apparent that imminent success is inevitable, as was the fulfillment of the singer’s devotion to becoming an international music artist. This makes Shenseea’s success story not just inspirational but still ripe with potential. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. The promise of so much more to come sets the stage for more glorious career moments for the young mother and international dancehall star.
Considering everything she has achieved before 25, it is clear to see that Shenseea’s five-year journey from bottle service girl to Kanye West’s album is one for the books and the best part is that her story is still being written.