Red Shaydez’s new album Feel The Aura isn’t a request; it’s a demand from a higher plane. And, frankly, to ignore it would be in no one’s best spiritual interests.
The Boston artist drops her new full-length record today (July 27), revealing yet another pulsing testament to her vision of rap as a fine-tuned, cherry-red craft. “My aura (good and bad and all parts in between) is a part of my brand,” Shaydez tells Vanyaland. “Consistency is key. When you think of ‘Aura,’ I want you to think of me.”
It would be easy to assume that the theme of auras has subconsciously trailed alongside her this entire time, as demonstrated with her 2016 record Magnetic Aura, to last year’s collaboration with Eva Davenport, “Come Here Lil’ Baby (Feelin’ My Aura).” The truth, though, is far more meaningful and direct: Shaydez is simply so intertwined with her own atmosphere that it permeates through her performances every time she snatches the mic.
Her aura is a cloak of love and self-preservation, as demonstrated in her song “Self-Care ’18”; it’s a self-assured sense of depth, spirituality, and just plain knowing.
“I like to believe that everything is all connected and that my life was already written,” she says. “Everything that is happening is supposed to happen.”
That’s not always as comforting a concept as it seems, though. While Feel The Aura was completed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, a major chunk of her rollout was thwarted earlier this spring when its accompanying film — yes, a whole-ass film — was put on hold. Shaydez had even already booked a space at Hibernian Hall to debut Feel The Aura: Behind The Shaydez.
“I’ll never forget the night I had to make the decision,” she recalls. “I was on a production call regarding the film with Snaps By Kat (the director), Féliz (the screenwriter), and DJ TROY Frost (the production assistant) when we all had a moment of silence and realization that the filming process had to come to a halt. We tried so many ways to work around it but on each follow up call, the virus updates were just getting worse and worse.”
2020 wasn’t the first time that the flick’s production was delayed, either. Shaydez’s initial plan was to create and release the film in tangent with Magnetic Aura almost five years ago.
“I was very discouraged initially because I was so excited to share my musical journey and talents via film and show how delayed gratification is so rewarding,” she says. “I tried everything I could but I said to myself — ‘this just isn’t the time.’ I immediately had to get creative with the rest of the rollout.”
Still, Feel The Aura still bears a compelling visual element through “The Aura Sessions,” unfiltered looks at some of Shaydez’s album collabs with fellow MCs Brandie Blaze, Cakeswagg, Tashawn Taylor, Rayel, Bakari J.B., Kasia Lavon, and Oompa. Albeit far shorter and less “official” than a full-fledged movie, the mini-episodes pay tribute to both Shaydez’s natural synergy with other artists, and her Film & Video degree from Fitchburg State University. In her “off” hours, she actually works from home as a video producer.
“Filming these were so fun because they were so authentic,” Shaydez explains. “Nothing was rehearsed — all sessions were recorded via an iPhone. All collaborators had to agree to be under my ‘aura’ in red light at all times. It’s really cool because you get to see a song be created from scratch. I wanted to bring back a feel reminiscent of BET’s Access Granted or MTV’s Making The Video. I always loved getting a behind-the-scenes view of a project. I love watching things come together.”
With plans for shooting Feel The Aura: Behind The Shaydez pushed to 2021, Feel The Aura almost was almost rescheduled as well, and understandably so. Facing an unpredictable and ever-changing landscape for album releases, coupled with lost income from numerous cancelled performances, Shaydez had to decide if it was still the right time to release her new album into the world.
After some contemplation, she realized it felt like she and her community couldn’t afford not to share it.
“We’ve been dealing with an unprecedented pandemic and a public outrage due to police brutality and a slew of other things,” Shaydez notes. “We are all dealing with a lot. I considered prolonging the release for sure. However, after speaking with father (who is also my mentor), he assured me that the world still needed to hear my music and that there was no better time than now. I have songs on this project that could potentially help heal people who are going through a tumultuous time, or even uplift them as well!“
That’s the thing about Red Shaydez’s aura — it’s not so much a mysterious mist that subtly shrouds her as it is a blazing beacon of light, guiding listeners back to their own, personal paths of fulfillment. That kind of energy can only emerge from someone who’s entirely confident in their own purpose.
On Feel The Aura, Shaydez doesn’t just know her purpose — she owns it.
“I reinvent myself every time,” she concludes. “My music is really just self-discovery and motivation. It’s evident on this project how comfortable I am this time around. I have arrived. Now I want you to ‘feel’ my aura.”