Virginia Commonwealth University student and cross-genre artist, Shy Lennox knew his dreams of breaking into mainstream spaces were not farfetched when his music independently reached 500,000 streams on Spotify and over 200,000 plays on Apple Music.
At the age of 21, Lennox has made academic strides as a vocal performance major, and virally with the release of his EP, Audition. “I have always been very passionate about making art,” he explained. Soon to follow, his first-ever concert at Flora, a well-known venue in Richmond, Virginia, booked over capacity — becoming a sonic affirmation for the soloist.
“I knew my dues were paid, and I could aim higher,” said Lennox. With his eyes on the prize, the newcomer boasted a glowing performance at Virginia’s PRIDE and took his debut strut down the catwalk of NYFW — giving him the confidence he needed to take his talents to Hollywood. “My music has been played on KRCW Radio in Los Angeles. That was a big moment,” the crooner explained.
Each hurdled Lennox leaped over gave him the courage to explore more in the studio, and broaden his signature twist of alternative R&B over waxed poetics. “After [further establishing my] growing recognition, I was featured in the Ink Magazine, Imirage Magazine, Artistic Manifesto, and became the first starring male splashed on RVA Magazine‘s Pride Guide,” Lennox told The Knockturnal. Withal, the many facets of Shy Lennox show promise. Get to know the on-the-rise singer in his words now.
The Knockturnal: When was the moment you knew you wanted to become an artist?
Shy Lennox: I have always been very passionate about making art. It is hard for me to pick one instance where I had an epiphany or chose to be an artist. However, I will say that the older I get, the more serious I get about my craft.
The Knockturnal: Describe your sound.
Shy Lennox: My sound is smooth and experimental. I’m still learning a lot and am in the process of figuring out my voice. It is definitely resonant though… sonically and figuratively.
The Knockturnal: What was the message behind the giant heads in the “Signs” music video?
Shy Lennox: I envisioned the cast for that opening scene [with the giant heads] to be partially hidden. In some ways, this occurred as a means to incorporate their dramatic reveal. My character was frightened and apprehensive when he first saw these masked individuals.
However, when the heads were removed, my character was immediately drawn to their beauty and released his inhibitions. I was fortunate to have collaborated with Nastassja Swift. She hand sculpted these masks from wire and cotton. I always envisioned the covers to be extravagant in someway, but it wasn’t until I came across her work that I was determined to incorporate her specific style into my audiovisual.
The Knockturnal: Musically, who are your influences?
Shy Lennox: I consider myself to be very eclectic. There isn’t one particular style that shapes my original music. I am very inspired by my friends who are also artists. I get to see their creative process firsthand and share my artistic ideas with them. As far as outside influences go, I listen to so much classical music and jazz, mainly because of my university studies.
The Knockturnal: Can you describe the inspiration used for the closing scene of the “Signs” audiovisual?
Shy Lennox: The entire visual was based off a dream that I had last year on Valentine’s Day. I consider the burial scene to be a representation of how you can end up destroying yourself after putting so much faith, trust, and energy into one person. [This is especially true if they do not] match your level of commitment.
The Knockturnal: What does LGBTQIA representation mean to you?
Shy Lennox: It means a lot to me. As a queer-identifying individual, I find solace within others who choose to be open about their non-heteronormative sexuality. I find myself relating the most to queer people of color, rather than queer people as a whole. This is because of the experiences and views I share with QPOC. I have gotten to a point in my life where I am very proud to be fluid and queer.
The Knockturnal: Where can your listeners keep up with you and what is on the way?
Shy Lennox: My handle on all social media and music streaming platforms is either, Shy Lennox, or @ShyLennox. I’m planning to release a few singles while I’m living in Milan. But overall, my listeners can expect more content and potentially some great things upon my return to the USA.
The Knockturnal: Who is Shy Lennox?
Shy Lennox: Shy Lennox is an entity placed on earth with the purpose to create and transform the lives of humankind.