Join us as we reflect on the transformative power of our Drake Music Collective programme. In this blog, we’re catching up with SingSkateDJ, writer, speaker, and podcast host Sha Supangan. Sha was a recipient of one of our 2022 Emergent Artist bursaries, which were awarded to artists in the early stages of their musical careers.
From overcoming personal challenges to finding her voice, Sha shares how Drake Music has helped her to build her confidence and embrace creative freedom. Since then Sha has skyrocketed, including becoming a panellist speaker at Ministry of Sound and winning the British Arts Council x Unlimited Micro Award, and we couldn’t be prouder!
We are very grateful for the support that we have received for the Drake Music Collective. In 2022 the programme was supported by the PRS Foundation, Help Musicians UK, David Family Foundation, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation, Fenton Arts Trust, D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust, the Leche Trust, and Idlewild Trust.
How has being a part of the Drake Music Collective impacted you?
“DMC has impacted me massively. It has boosted my confidence, being recognised by an organisation that champions Disabled artists in the field of music and technology, and even more so, connecting and meeting some awe-inspiring artists and creatives in my time as an Emergent Artist recipient.
Staying connected with Lisa, Kit, and the rest of the team enabled me to keep going in such a difficult time. As I received this award during the lockdown, it was difficult to see where I was and whether I was progressing as an artist. I wrote my application and crafted my slides on my phone whilst I was homeless. I was able to fly home to the Philippines and this was where I finalised my submission.
The money that I received went into buying a new laptop for myself which meant I was able to do more DJ / performances where I can Sing, Dance, DJ, and interact with guests while on my rollerblades since I could do independent shows and bring my own gear, my controller, and my microphone. I performed for a Summer Festival where I was interviewed by Louis Theroux himself before he introduced me on-stage.
I used this laptop as well to secure a home for me, moving to Norwich from London, and starting over once again. Although this was a big decision after living in London since 2017, it was absolutely the right move for me. I was able to breathe and have a much bigger space to create and percolate.
The support I got from Drake Music was instrumental for me as well since I knew that I was supported no matter what, without judgment. I’ve also been included in a research project from the University of Birmingham: Embodiment and Disability in DJ Practice Project that Lisa Heywood kindly referred me to, and I was able to speak about my experience here in the UK as one.
Thank you for all that you do, and I look forward to being part of the community and to more events and gatherings in the future.”
What have you been up to since you received your Drake Music Emergent Bursary?
“Tons and tons! I don’t even know where to begin. From becoming an official UK streamer on platforms where I get to do my live vocals, DJ, dance, and emcee on my rollerblades (at home!), to sharing my songwriting sessions and creating songs in an hour, including lyric art (!), and share my love of pigeons where I also perform with a knitted pigeon called Nicholas the Pidge.
I’ve been able to experiment and expand since I have also decided to become completely teetotal (alcohol-free) since last year. I have since then become a panellist speaker at Ministry of Sound, sharing my experience as a sober DJ, which has helped me massively in regulating my health and well-being.
I’ve also released songs that were all featured on BBC, including two Tagalog songs (my mother tongue) that were picked to be synced on TV (one of which was on the premiere of Real Housewives All Stars: Ultimate Girls Trip), and more sync music coming soon that I’ve made with award-winning producer/artist Tut Tut Child, and Berkeley alum Jacy Sim, who’s also from the Philippines.
Since then, I’ve won a British Arts Council x Unlimited Micro Award for my project with another creative in the Philippines (Paula Melizza Valera) who also happens to be a doctor! We’re speaking about the journey of disability from our birth country, finding acceptance and celebration in the UK (we met during the lockdown in London while both being students), the frustration, the elation, and everything else in between through songwriting and calligraphy – I intend to perform the song through my one-woman-play to be shown at the Canal Cafe Theatre in West London on August 4 and 5. The working title is “The Pigeoness” and it’ll be supported by composer Ant Survila.
I’ll have my first-ever music video premiered in August for my song “ANXY” On My Own which is almost like a love song for my anxiety (personified!), directed, edited, and filmed by another ESEA artist Charo Galura. I’ve also been included in the ESEA Songwriting Camp with other incredible artists, performing for the Royal Docks 125th Anniversary, University of East London, MetFilm School, and TSQ Club/Playhouse in Trafalgar Square (central London club residency), DJing at a summer festival with Louis Theroux, and other fun performances that I’m so grateful to have done.”
Have you got any advice for other Disabled artists?
“Please ask for help. Please speak up. Please tell us what you are going through. Please don’t hide away or wait until it gets “bad enough” that you have no choice but to say something. The “worst” that can happen is asking for help that you eventually figure out you can do on your own or manage on your own.
The fear of being “too much” hangs around menacingly, waiting to judge and pounce on us. Be your best advocate and if that’s too much right now, baby steps.
I’m still in the very early stages of coming to terms with disability and what that means for me and to me. We’re constantly changing and adjusting, and showing up where we are is enough. We don’t need to seek perfection in our being – we only need to show up as we are. I’ve met so many incredible human beings through this journey and I’m so glad to be able to do so.”
Can you share any top tips / creative wisdom with us?
“Find spaces where you can experiment, make mistakes, and possibly even share that part of the journey as well! Social media sort of forces us to show only our best, which is amazing, of course, but there’s something to be said about the imperfection, messiness, and truth of the journey.
The commodification of art is unavoidable for many of us, and it does feel good to be properly compensated for our work – but to simply exist in the space to share and find others who appreciate you and your journey where you are is such an enriching feeling. I found that through streaming (since I can’t physically see my audience, which helps tons with my anxiousness about performing).
Be silly, try out ideas that seem “far-fetched”, not to be the “next big thing” or to even be academically sound or artistically profound – simply make and do stuff because they’re fun. Hot hot take in the “music business” but it has to be said!”
Have you got anything coming up you’d like to shout about?
“Our brand-new launch of ALTWOMEN Paradise shows we will tour around the UK together with some alt-pop, electronic, and pioneering woman-identifying artists. In August, I am also participating for the research at the Birmingham University for the DJing and Disability and possibly a showcase as well in September (if all goes well with my visa!) I’ll also be releasing an EP with Tagalog/English songs with my songwriting partner Jacy Sim, as well as remixes that involve Nicholas the Pidge.
Drake Music helped me through my lowest point of deep depression, anxiety, and homelessness. I am so grateful for the confidence, support, and the reliable encouragement that is priceless in this field of work and passion, today.”
Thank you so much to Sha for this open honest interview and stay tuned for the next artist interview.
Follow Sha and find out more on her social platforms here: