Charleston, SC has long been a hub for live entertainment. Any given night you will hear home-grown vocalists and musicians creating the very atmosphere that has contributed to the success of Charleston’s night life. Zandrina Dunning effortlessly offers her soulful touch and captivates audiences with her high- energy, infectious personality and stage presence.
SCMG: Hi Zandrina. Thanks for carving time out of your schedule to speak to me today. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Zandrina: I am a Soul/Funk/Jazz/Fusion artist who does not put herself in a box of one genre.
SCMG: You grew up in Boston, MA and went to college in Orangeburg, SC. What is it about Charleston that makes you want to plant your musical footprints here?
Zandrina: I have built relationships with so many great musicians and vocalists in Charleston who I am proud to call my family. Here I have freedom of expression in my music and the people are very supportive of it. I am living my best life in Charleston, SC.
SCMG: What do you think defines Soul/Funk/Jazz/Fusion music, and what influences do you believe created it?
Zandrina: Soul/Funk/Jazz/Fusion music is music for your soul is feel good music. As an artist, I’m expressing how I feel through song, and as music lovers you feel what I’m feeling. That’s what makes music the universal language. We can communicate simply by sounds, gestures and body language. James Brown, for example, gave us the feel of funk. You saw it in his face he made certain facial expressions that let you know he was feeling it from deep down in his soul. When he sang a song of pain you could hear it in his voice as well as see it on his face. When he sang a song of victory, it showed in his body language. My musical inspiration is life, and I feel it is the same for many artists. I see beauty in so many things and so many people. Music allows me to express that.
SCMG: At what age did you realize that you were musically inclined?
Zandrina: According to my mother, it was age 3. I didn’t realize that music was truly a passion for me until high school. With proper coaching, I groomed my vocal skills to prepare for an audition for a college scholarship. After earning a scholarship, I set my eyes on a life-long career in music.
SCMG: Tell us about your college years as a music major.
Zandrina: I followed my musical calling by attending South Carolina State University, where I earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music Industry/Vocal Music in 2004. My classical vocal training included the German, French, Italian, and English influences. I wish I could relive the beauty of my college years to truly enjoy and soak in every moment of that time. I had the opportunity to record my first original project, which was collaboration with other music majors entitled, “For the Love Of”. I also started performing and had the opportunity to open up for artists such as: Lil Jon and the East Side Boyz, Avant and Lyfe Jennings.
SCMG: You’ve had the opportunity to travel the world and work with many great musicians? What is your most rememberable experience?
Zandrina: Just recently I had the pleasure of traveling to Cuba for a series of performances. The greatest thing about that experience was that I was also celebrating my birthday. It was an all-around win for me. The show was called, “Soul Funk Cubanized” and was one of the most exciting times of my life. The audience embraced our delivery of fusion between their musical culture and ours. I believe this opportunity came to me through the power of reciprocity – when you put out positive energy then positive things will happen to you.
SCMG: Are you writing your own music? If so, how do you find inspiration for your songs?
Zandrina: Absolutely! I’m currently working on an EP to be released in the mid to late 2017
SCMG: If there is any advice you could give to aspiring artists what would it be?
Zandrina: Be true to yourself and know who you are. Confidence and certainty will carry you far in this journey. Whatever you feel musically, release it. You never know whose life you can positively affect just by following your own dreams.
SCMG: That’s awesome Zandrina! We are looking forward to hearing more about your upcoming work. We wish you all the best! Thank you!