Shailah “SLM” Morris is a 22-year-old up and coming artist from Montreal. From the very beginning of her music career SLM has set her mind on her goals and accomplished them. She pays no mind to the haters and continues on her path to becoming a better artist and performer while pushing herself outside her comfort zone. SLM has recently come out with a music video for her debut single “Pony” that has garnered lots of attention for its amazing visuals, choreography, and the meticulous detail that went into its production. We had such a great time chatting with SLM about her debut album, her inspirations as well as her activism.
You’ve recently dropped your newest single “Pony” from your debut album. How does that feel?
It feels really good! It’s super overwhelming with the amount of love I’m getting, but it feels so good to be received really well by the city and even people outside of the city. It’s super fulfilling.
What was the inspiration behind the “Pony” music video?
So me and Q (@generaleQ), the director, were sitting on the idea of doing a one-take shot video since about February – March. We really wanted something creative, nothing that you’d expect like your typical Airbnb-party rap video. The number one reference video was Dani Leigh’s No Caller ID. We really loved that one take and wanted to do something reminiscent of that but way more colorful because I’m just a colorful bitch and you know that’s what I like!
We peeped that your debut album is on its way and we know we aren’t the only ones that are super excited! Can we get a little insider info on it? A name? A date?
The debut album is on its way, the name though.. I’m not really gonna tell you guys yet, but it’s something nostalgic. Most of my inspiration comes from my upbringing and what molded me into the person I am today, and I wanted to reflect that. I’ll give you a hint though! I’m just going to say a different world, do with that as you will.
What theme/messages do you hope to get across within your debut album, what’s the inspiration behind it?
I just want to empower women. I want to empower myself. Creating this album was really like a therapy session for me. There was a lot of negativity in my life, it was bringing me down and I was like, “fuck all that, I’m that bitch”! So imma spew all that out into songs, make other women feel like they’re that bitch, because they are, we all are. And just hope that it’s well-received.
You’ve been on your journey as an artist for about a year now, tell us about the birth of SLM.
Back in September 2019, I was down bad at my friend’s house for like 3 weeks, just trying to get my own space outside of my house. I was listening to Money in the Grave by Drake, and I was like this beat is fire, lemme write. I jotted the lyrics down in like 10-20 minutes, went on live, performed it, and then I recorded and dropped it! That’s where it all started!
Apart from being a rapper, you are also very vocal about your activism. Can you tell us a bit about your community initiative “Secure The Vibe”?
Secure The Vibe was started by myself and my best friend, Unique Daniels when we realized that there was a lack of representation for black artists in Montreal. We wanted to have a house for that. We started off doing poetry nights, where people would come in and read, there would be live paintings, kiosks set up and it was great to see the community be able to showcase and consume each other’s work. We had Full Circle, a three-part series that gave women, men, and nonbinary people a space to vent and express their concern with how the community within our city is progressing or regressing and things that we have to undo within our generation to progress and move forward. Ultimately how to break generational curses. Most recently, we got funded by Head&Hands and were able to host an online talent show during the COVID-19 lockdown which allowed artists to still be able to have a platform to be seen and also to be paid for their talents!
As for the future, we have a lot of plans for Secure The Vibe and hopefully, a lot of them will be realized by the end of this summer or at least a big part of it anyway, if not it’ll happen in the coming months.
How has your family taken to this new chapter in your life?
My family shows me the most support ever! Of course, I still get the occasional “you should have gone to university” or “ you should have finished school”. But I’m like listen, I did college, I gave y’all the paper, but now I wanna do what I wanna do. I told my mom, give me a year and I’m gonna have this shit on lock and show you I’m really serious about it and low and behold, here we are. Pony just dropped, got a whole album on the way and she just really sees it, she sees the dedication that I put into it and so has everyone else from my grandparents, to cousins in the states, to cousins in Guyana! It’s really full force. We’re strong together.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
I see a little tour, I see merch, I see multiple businesses, and multiple streams of income. What I see for myself and my family is financial stability, long term happiness, and growth. As an artist and as an individual, I just wanna use every experience to my advantage and dominate! I really wanna live comfortably and live happily off of my music. That’s the ultimate goal.
Thank you so much for sitting down to chat with us, where can we all keep up with you?
You can keep up with all things SLM on my Instagram and twitter @SSHAILAH. All the announcements will be happening there, maybe some surprises show, maybe some surprise pop-ups, I don’t know! There’s a lot of things going on so make sure you guys are tied into all of that. So you don’t miss a beat! ‘Cus y’all know I don’t!