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Perth, Western Australia, Australia | Established. Jan 01, 2009 | SELF

Perth, Western Australia, Australia | SELF
Established on Jan, 2009
Band R&B Neo Soul




"Interview with Shameem"

“… she proved not only can she elegantly deliver her soul repertoire, but also she can cut the stage up So You Think You Can Dance style. Respect. I’m impressed.”


Wardrobe changes and wardrobe malfunctions have oft outshone music performances. If you sat back and thought of the key moments in pop history (who can forget Janet Jackson) no doubt Britney Spears, Madonna and perhaps even Alicia Keys might spring to mind. While these women move and shake their thang on a global scale, Perth soul songtress Shameem is keepin' the wardrobe change alive and well on a local scale.

Her recent show at The Subiaco Arts Centre saw the stunning Iranian, Malaysian-Chinese singer grace the stage in in a Spanish inspired, vibrant red floor-length dress, only to remerge three-quarters of the set through, in hi-tops, khakis and a crop top circa 80's street-style. Supported by two back-up dancers, she proved not only can she elegantly deliver her soul repertoire, but also she can cut the stage up So You Think You Can Dance style. Respect. I'm impressed.

Her current tour is "pretty big!" and will take in Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane, and Adelaide and also regional hotspots Newcastle and Byron Bay. She eagerly advises, "[It's the] first time I've gone this wide and I am taking my band with me. There are six members including guitar, bass, drums, keys, a backing vocalist and me." The tour celebrates the release of her new album The Second City, which launched on January 16th, off the back of new single Under the Sun (the track was released nationally on December 12th 2014). The feedback on her sophomore album is that it is being welcomed with open arms, "I've had really great responses. There have been a couple of reviews, and it has been fun to read. It's going well so far and it has definitely attracted some attention to the album."

'Under the Sun' video clip and thoughts on her artistic approach.
With the filmclip for Under the Sun, Shameem deliberated about taking a slightly eclectic approach. The end result is a compelling and visually engaging piece constructed entirely of paper. "Yay, that's good to hear! It's a bit tricky now in the music industry. It's not just about the music, it is about the visual aspect and the viral aspect, she explains. "I kept thinking, how can I make a video that is cool, and people find compelling enough that they'd want to share it? I was trying to get inspiration and I decided to turn to the arts."

Her research included the spectacular track by Australian artist Goyte (featuring Kimbra), 'Somebody That I Used to Know'. "I guess I was trying to look at video clips that are really engaging and one that has been done really well in the last couple of years. I kept thinking okay, art … can I use art somehow in a cool way? Because that kind of matches with the thing that I am trying to project as an artist. I have this friend (WA artist Renee Farrant) that does paper art, and I thought how many people do that? And what if everything was made from paper? That is where the idea began."

Shameem recognises the music industry is changing, and moving on to the next level as an artist requires a different approach, now that she has moved past the 'gigging stage.' "I have to push myself further out, and think about those things I guess."

The Perth music industry.
Born and brought up in Perth, "except for one year when I lived in Alice Springs, I did volunteer work after I finished school – ever since then I have been getting into my music." Shameem reflects for a while when asked what the industry is like for her genre of music, "Perth is very difficult for soul music. There are a small handful of artists, which is helpful, and some of them are really good too. I think they find it hard to survive in a very rock, electro and hip hop driven scene. A couple of them do really well for themselves, and they are slightly different to me, they are slightly more boisterous."

Big brassy horns, and Hip Hop don't really feature in Shameem's style of music; it's more RnB, "kind of more lyrical." As a consequence, the conundrum the singer faces is finding appropriate places to perform, "I don't quite match the venues the boisterous soul artists fit into." It's evident that Perth may need to invest in some much-needed locales, "there aren't any real soul venues. Those other kind of bands play the original music\rock venues like your Mojo's, stuff like that. I end up playing a lot at the Ellington Jazz Club and every now and then, you will get another venue that will pop up."

When asked about her observations on Perth audiences, both from a punter and performer perspective, she breaks into laughter. "I don't go to gigs, and maybe other people don't go either, it depends on the venue and the time of the year. Perth people are used to having eternal sunshine, if it is a little bit cold or a little bit rainy we get really sooky, and we don't want to go out. And, that might be a challenge!"

Shameem's social messaging through music.
One element of Shameem's show that endears her to fans, and encourages audience attendance, is the storytelling. Each song has a carefully crafted introduction, a backstory rich with personal anecdotes, challenges and triumphs. While positive messages are her "mission as an artist," she just "love, loves telling the audience why I wrote the songs. I find when I do that, it often means more to them. Not that I don't want them to come up with their own interpretation, but I want them to feel something."

Connecting with the audience is a crucial and enjoyable experience for this soul singer. Having fun is a key part of the live show, and the band regularly improvise while performing, "I am playing with a bunch of really fabulous musicians, and it is kind of nice to stretch out the music a bit, the guitarists have a solo … I ramble on for a bit!" Because I have more musicians, we can explore that. It keeps it fresh for us, and it keeps it fresh for the fans too." It's a technique that strikes a chord with people, and many fans who are moved by her work will "come to me after the gig. Sometimes they tell me a story, and that is really beautiful."

Breaking down the Soul and RnB thing (compared to the USA)
The good news is, audiences in the USA are also digging Shameem's music. Her first album "got decent amounts of radio play. And, it was just cool to see how many stations came on board, I am hoping they are really going to eat up the new record as well." With the campaign just starting in mid January, the singer is "really interested to see how they respond to this work, as I think Australians don't really get the whole soul thing."

When I asked why she thinks Soul has not cut through like other genres, she carefully explains, "sometimes I'll play my music to an Aussie and they will be like ohhhhhh, that is cool, it is sort of, ahhhhhhh jazzy, sort of a bit funky … and they are not familiar with it. I'll play it to an American and they will be like (puts on accent), oh yeah that is soul! They'll be like, "you got Soul girl!"'

It's an interesting state of play and Shameem believes it has transpired from what music audiences have been exposed to, "the industry then forms around it and reinforces it." Her attempt at putting her music on triple j unearthed, cleverly illustrates the point. "You have to tick a box to say what genre your music is, and there is no RnB, there is no Soul, there is no Urban, there is no Jazz, I had to put Pop and Roots!" She explains Sydney based singer Ngaiire also had to put her song down as Pop and Roots, "it is funny like that. At the same time, you don't really hear a lot of Soul music on triple j, it is not being reinforced."

When she last entered the WAM (West Australian Music) Song of the Year awards, there was a similar disparity, "there is a Hip Hop and Urban category. I remember one year I was in the finals for the Song of the Year and it was me up against four Hip Hop artists, my music was completely different to all the other artists in the category. That was interesting!"

Turn It On
One avenue Shameem's music is being reinforced, is through corporate partnering. West Australian audiences will recognise Shameem's dulcet tunes on the TV ad campaign for Kleenheat Gas, "it was exciting – it got me a lot of exposure. I did not write the song myself, it is the only song I did not record myself. The irony! They contacted me as they wanted a Perth soul singer to record the song."

Laughingly she adds, "[I was a] Pin up Girl for a little while!" She believes strategic collaborations can do great things for artists, although, she admits her calling card for a while was, "I am the girl on the Kleenheat ad – argh! (sings) Turn it on … Turn it on!" As a full-time musician and music teacher, she advises reinvesting most of what she earns back into her career is the stage she is at, "I am also being supported by my husband, and he is fabulous!"

With the lay of the music land shifting, especially with regard to payment of music, she optimistically adds, "I think there is movement both ways. The great thing about it, is that musicians are using it to communicate what really happens and I recently saw the most amazing article that Pomplamoose wrote." The piece is a really honest depiction of their national tour, "and all the incomings and outgoings. They expressed it in such a way that it was easy for even a layperson to understand. They lost money on the tour, and they said that is okay, it is an investment on future tours. We are just trying to get by like everyone else. That was really interesting to read and I hope that it is starting to raise people's conscious." - Weekend Notes

"Soul singer Shameem brings worldly, unique voice to entertain"

“… an explosion of soul. Her piano and voice take you on a journey to a world full of positivity, love and understanding. Her first single from the album titled Under One Sun is as inspiring as it is catchy.”


Born and bred in Perth to a Chinese-Malaysian father and an Iranian mother, Shameem's voice is as unique and worldly as her upbringing.

"My first memory of music is Michael Jackson," she says through a chuckle. "My mum really liked him, she has a love for pop music. Also I have memories of my grandmother chanting prayers around the house."

The soul singer seamlessly blends modern R&B and 1970s soul with a sprinkling of jazz piano that has seen her compared more than once to one of her childhood idols Alicia Keys.

Growing up in the most isolated city in the world she quickly realised that she was different from most people around her and treated differently as a result. At school she would often hang out with the "loner" Asian kids who she noticed were quite often excluded by some people.


"People look at me and they don't know where the heck I come from. I look like I could come from anywhere in the world. When I was growing up I noticed that people would be a little cautious around me because of how I looked. They couldn't pigeonhole me or put me in a box so they were a little confused by me I think."

Her latest album, The Second City, was written in only a few days while in England working alongside Grammy-winning songwriter James Bryan. Known for his work with Nelly Furtado and Olly Murs, Bryan found Shameem (believe it or not) on Myspace. Sceptical at first about the internet introduction, she embraced his invitation to collaborate and a strong bond between the two was born.

"The whole experience has taught me that if you're working with the right person it really brings the best out of you. I hadn't found someone until now that I could work with in that way. He was constantly probing me to come up with parts and stimulating my creativity. Songwriting had been a completely solitary experience for me until then."

The album is one that Shameem is extremely proud of. One that encapsulates her thoughts, dreams and beliefs into an explosion of soul. Her piano and voice take you on a journey to a world full of positivity, love and understanding.

"The title of the album comes from a very long mystical and flowery Iranian poem by Bahá'u'lláh," she says keeping her playful bubbly tone, despite the seriousness of her subject matter. "There's lots of symbolism and it's a little difficult to understand, but it talks about how the soul travels through seven stages known as valleys or cities. I wrote a song on the album about the second of these cities which is love, so I thought that because it was also my second album it made sense."

Her first single from the album titled Under One Sun is as inspiring as it is catchy. It doesn't carry your everyday pop message and is a song very close to her heart and mind.

"All humanity is really essentially all one family," explains Shameem very matter of factly. "Scientists believe we are all evolved from a small group of people in the Horn of Africa. We are all related. It seems bizarre that if we are all related that we think more highly of some people than we think of others. So the song is about just that and how we should all come together because we are all one."

Inspired by her upbringing and her life experiences, Shameem is socially conscious, emotional and spiritual in the way she sees and understands the world.

"I've had a unique experience being a multiracial person growing up in Australia. I also keep an eye on the news and what's happening around the world. Sometimes I can't watch the news too much because it effects me very emotionally, which is probably why I feel I have to write about it. Also I grew up learning about the Bahai teachings which are centred around unity, it's a concept which inspires me a lot."

The growing Perth music scene is also an inspiration to Shameem. A city with a long history of rock bands that have conquered the east coast, it is quickly growing into a place of musical diversity. It's a city transforming with new sounds and new expressions.

"The thing I love about Perth is that it's gotten more diverse over the last 10 years," says Shameem. "There are more people from Africa, India and the Middle East living here now, which is quickly adding to the musical landscape. There are some amazing world music bands here at the moment."

A trained jazz musician, she loves to improvise live and provide each audience with a unique experience and perspective to her music. It was an education that would mix with her love of pop music to create an eclectic artist willing to delve deeper than many of her contemporaries.

"I learned the technical side of jazz and also how to improvise, which I feel is very important. To me jazz is a framework which allows for a lot of freedom. I used to put a solo in every song but these days I only have a couple on the record but live is where we can be in the moment and express ourselves as a band and individuals."

Since the hype of her self-titled debut album in 2011, Shameem has supported major international artists such as George Benson, Ronan Keating and Belinda Carlisle. She has headlined national tours in Australia, US and Canada, and has expanded her fan base with each northern summer tour. So what will 2015 bring for the talented artist?

"I've been invited to Canadian Music Week this year which is amazing. I'm hoping to get back to Europe but we'll have to see if we can afford the trip home first." - Sydney Morning Herald

"Shameem - The Second City"

“… a powerful and unlimited voice…”


With a variety of background and influence behind her, Perth artist Shameem has continued on her mission to produce lyrically-strong music on her sophomore release, The Second City,whilst evolving her sound into a pop-friendly approach that is bubbly, uplifting and settling.

Fusing R&B grooves with some jazz elements and a powerful and unlimited voice, Shameem has composed a list of tracks that flow smoothly despite the occasional interlude interruption. Opening track, Beautiful Soul, is immediately catchy with light piano fills and a solid drum beat. It’s the combination of well-placed minor layers that lead to the bigger picture and Shameem has worked them together perfectly to build to a strong chorus highlighted by her soaring vocals and a well executed message.

Other memorable moments include the gospel harmonies within Under One Sun which was written in collaboration with Grammy-winning producer James Bryan (Nelly Furtado, Olly Murs, James Morrison) and Other Half Of My Heart, which features Astrid Ripepi, is also a high point sticking to a slower pace with a comforting and driving vocal duet.

3 stars - Xpress Magazine


Shameem’s new album, The Second City, is an uplifting and contemplative soul-pop record brimming with rich vocals, infectious R&B rhythms, jazz-infused melodies and spiritual undertones. It’s also filled with beautiful messages. For instance, her new single ‘Under One Sun’ is a heartfelt cry for unity between people of different races, ethnicities and religions.

“Being a person of mixed backgrounds, people do want to treat you as the ‘other’, but they’re not sure which ‘other’ to treat you as,” says Shameem, who was born in Perth to an Iranian mother and Chinese-Malaysian father. “They look at you and they don’t know where you come from. So in a way, I was a little immune from being stereotyped or boxed, but at the same time people would ask, ‘Where do you come from?’ as if I don’t come from Australia. I thought about this more when thinking about my school friends who came from different Asian countries and also towards Aboriginal people who I was friends with.

“It was nothing ever overt, and I think that’s what prejudice is in Australia – it’s not overt, it’s not that people go out of their way to be unkind to somebody, but it doesn’t occur to them to be kind to them in the same way that they would with someone who they’re more familiar with.”

A deeply spiritual person, Shameem’s Baha’i faith is at the core of who she is. “It’s basically the thing that gives me a sense of a moral compass in my life and a purpose, and that purpose it gives me is to try and improve not only myself every day and become a better person, but also to try and contribute to making the world a better place. Everyone can do that; if everyone did their own small, little thing, then it would really transform the world. So I think it’s given me a lot of sense of purpose in that way and I guess that comes through in all the music that I write as well.”

The title of Shameem’s second album, The Second City, comes from a Persian book, The Seven Valleys, by Bah'u'llh – the founder of the Baha’i faith – which talks about the seven stages that a seeker of God journeys through.

“It’s such a beautiful book and it really uses imagery – poetic imagery – to describe the journey of the soul,” Shameem explains. “I guess being an artistic person, I find the imagery really moving and really stirring and evocative. And it makes me think of my own spiritual journey, and the ups and downs that you go through in life when you’re trying to reach your goals. I really love that book for that reason.”

Baha’i music is, of course, markedly different to the pop music that a young Shameem and her mother also enjoyed. “I remember that the music I listened to was either Baha’i music, which is all about trying to perfect one’s inner spiritual condition and it was all about beautiful things like the unity of mankind, and then you listen to pop music, which was infectious, and I love the music of Michael Jackson myself, but it didn’t necessarily lyrically speak of anything very meaningful. I remember every now and then I would discover an artist who would be able to beautifully marry the two and I thought, ‘I want to become that kind of artist who can marry meaningful lyrics with really infectious, amazing music.’”

Inspired by soulful singers and great storytellers, Shameem has been greatly influenced by songwriters such as Sting, Alicia Keys and Jewel. “I’ve been working on my songwriting and how to write more well-structured songs, and how to really get a message across in the short space of time that you have in a song,” she says. “I feel that the songs I’ve written on this album are stronger songs in terms of my songwriting.” - The Brag

"Shameem - The Second City"

“Shameem is a classy crooner, effortlessly laying down smooth as silk soul and RnB tracks, while exhibiting an impressive vocal range and tonal flexibility. Or, expressed less technically, she sings like a funky angel.”


Made with crowd funding and WA Government support, singer songwriter Shameem Tahiri-Lee has released her second album. Her website likes to compare Shameem to US warbler Alicia Keys and the West Australian does have both a voice with similar qualities and a fondness for the metronomic beat Keys favours in some of her songs (such as ‘Un-Thinkable’).

Shameem is a classy crooner, effortlessly laying down smooth as silk soul and RnB tracks, while exhibiting an impressive vocal range and tonal flexibility. Or, expressed less technically, she sings like a funky angel. Electronic vocal manipulation is used sparingly and while she engages is some vocal gymnastics, just because she can, any urge to overdo this has been thankfully resisted. The Second City breaks new ground for Shameemwith a more polished production and cohesive approach to the album, with the inclusion of several brief interludes in which the singer expresses her appreciation for life and those she loves. However, this gives the album an overly sweet, syrupy vibe. The extra spit and polish has resulted in more complex songs and a sound closer to mainstream pop. Notable tracks include the jazzy ‘Hole in My Heart’, with its mix of smooth and broken vocal delivery and ‘Chill in the Fire’ with the exotic allure of some Persian lyrics from Shidan Toloui-Wallace. However, the highlights are those in which Shameem casts off the cabaret/lounge tone and dips her foot into other genres, such as the rock edge to ‘Expectation’ and the brief sortie into electro-pop in ‘I Give Thanks’. Shameem is at her most engaging when expressing angst, putting some torque into her voice in ‘Give Me a Reason’ or displaying anger in ‘Imposter’.

3/5 - BMA Magazine

"Shameem - The Second City"

This album blew me away. I'm not going to lie, this isn't my usual type of music, but Shameem is such a standout that I had to give it a try anyway! And I'm so glad I did. This soulful, enchanting collection, with a distinctive jazzy feel, Shameem hasn't messed around with this one. The lyrics were amazing; I was so relaxed by this album that it took me way too long to write a review at all! Upcoming artists are my favourite, Shameem offers such an honest, refreshing album. Definitely give this one a chance! - Love 'Em

"Shameem City Lights"

“… a fun and enjoyable blend of meaningful tracks with highs, lows and twists. Of the many themes within The Second City, unity and equality are a stand out, two hot topics in the current Australian environment.”


After making a splash in 2011 with her debut self-titled EP, West Australian artist, Shameem, is back with The Second City, another round of R&B tracks set to send a message. AARON BRYANS reports ahead of her performance this Saturday, January 17, at the Subiaco Arts Centre.

Combining ’90s R&B with elements of jazz and soul, local artist and composer Shameem has taken a positive approach to her musical journey, absorbing any experience along the way to evolve her music into a style that she is not only proud of but can be recognised and appreciated for.

However when it comes to song writing, Shameem values lyrical expression equal to its musical accompaniments.

“I think my music has always been about the message; I think, maybe, I’m just getting better at telling it,” Shameem explains. “One thing that I’ve been trying to do at my shows is I love to tell stories about the songs and explain to everyone what the songs are; and that’s great as long as people come to my shows and hear the stories because my lyrics used to be quite cryptic. Then I realised some people aren’t going to come my shows so I need to make it honest enough that they won’t need to come to my shows.

“I think I’ve become a much more deliberate songwriter. I used to write and just blurt a whole bunch of stuff out but now I’m a lot more measured and I take my time and I think about how I’m going to structure a song and I think that’s how the song writing has developed. When we went into the studio we also took more time trying things out and a big change that I made was a that I programmed the drums to give it more of an R&B feel.”

Shameem’s musical life began at the age of seven when she started taking piano lessons. Then at nine years-old she took up the cello and eventually the guitar in high school when she realised “pianos are heavy and you can’t take them places.” The process has opened up some incredible journeys since the release of her debut album in 2011, including support slots with great artists such as George Benson, Ronan Keating and Belinda Carlisle.

“I think it’s interesting to see how they each handle the touring life,” Shameem reveals. “There’s no right or wrong about it, different personalities handle it differently. George Benson is like 70-somehting and after the show he was chatting with people and ready to party. Ronan Keating was a bit more relaxed but still chatting with people and hanging out and Belinda Carlisle arrived in the taxi five minutes before she got on stage and then walked off stage and straight into the taxi to go straight back to the hotel.”

The release of The Second City begins what looks to be an incredible 2015, topping off the musical evolution of one of Western Australia’s rising R&B artists.

“I think there’s no such thing as perfect for artists; we always look for the next perfect. I think my sound has matured a lot and I think I’ve gotten to a point where a lot of people can listen to it and enjoy it. I think before maybe it was a bit obscure or too jazzy and now it hasn’t lost that element of jazz but it’s a little more pop-friendly and I’m glad I can do that without straying too far from my roots.”

“I compose every instrument, I write sheet music for my band we rehearse it and they may tweak a couple of things I’ve written because they know their instrument best and then we gig it a little bit before we record it.”

The EP itself is a fun and enjoyable blend of meaningful tracks with highs, lows and twists. Of the many themes within The Second City, unity and equality are a stand out, two hot topics in the current Australian environment.

“Obviously you see on the news we’ve got a lot of people in our country who feel a lot of animosity towards people of other races. This whole stop the boats mentality is an example of that. At the same time there are a lot of things we don’t hear about on the news and that is people who genuinely want to get along with others and learn with others. There a lot of Australians who feel enriched by the fact that we have such cultural diversity now and I think that’s growing.” - Xpress Magazine

"Shameem - The Second City"

Shameem’s 15-track album is fascinating Sunday arvo, lounge material.

Early numbers Beautiful Soul and It’s All Illusion emphasise the artist’s mannered rhythms and layered, sultry vocals. Hit single, Under One Sun’s catchy hooks and charming melody make for a highlight, while Other Half Of My Heart further softens the tempo. Give Me A Reason’s soothing love ballad vibe matches Chill In The Fire’s warm, eclectic harmonies. Expectation’s silky electric guitar riffs and I Give Thanks’ energetic beat shake up the album’s dulcet tones. It, though a few songs too many, comes out a textured and sexy compilation.

3/5 - The Music

"Shameem's new single, album and tour!"

“[Under One Sun] is a wonderfully light track that follows her acclaimed debut single Beautiful Soul… its message is both lovely and fitting… it’s refreshing to hear someone so young write with such powerful social conscious… a meaty, soul driven pop song.”


Native Perth songstress Shameem has released her debut album, alongside a string of dates around the country to showcase her new stuff. She likewise dropped her second single Under One Sun, which although unintentional, is a comfort after the events of the Sydney siege.

Although I admit, on my first listen I wasn’t completely convinced by Under The Sun, it is a wonderfully light track that follows her acclaimed debut single Beautiful Soul. Although sounding faintly like a Christmas carol (or perhaps all songs are moulding into Christmas carols after working in a shopping centre all holidays), its message is both lovely and fitting. Considering the recent circumstances surrounding the tragic and shocking events of the Lindt Shop siege, its message that ‘we come from one ancestor, just one forefather… we are but one’ can’t help but reflect the recent events. It gives perspective behind such a brilliant social media campaigns as #illridewithyou which has blown up in recent days.

This is probably not what Shameem intended when she wrote her upbeat, carefree track, but nonetheless it speaks volumes about the maturity of the artist in her selfless messages. While I understand why so many musicians choose to write incessantly about themselves and their love lives, it’s refreshing to hear someone so young write with such powerful social conscious. No matter what the context in broader society, it’s always welcome. Co-written by the Grammy award winning UK-based producer James Bryan who has worked with Nelly Furtado and James Morrison in the past, it is a meaty, soul driven pop song. These themes are embedded through her entre new album The Second City.

Shameem will be headed around Australia with her goodwill in tow this February. - Howl & Echoes

"Shameem - The Second City"

Shameem (Taheri-Lee) is an Australian singer/songwriter who, we're told, reveres 70s soul which she re-channels in her own contemporary way. 'The Second City' is the Perth native's second full album and even before its January release there's quite a buzz on it on the back of the lead single 'Beautiful Soul'. The Alicia Keys-flavoured tune won some high profile support and it stands out on the album. It features some tight beats and is built round an ultra catchy chorus.

'Under One Sun' is another album highlight.... pleasant pop soul with a thoughtful, socially conscious lyric. Indeed, throughout, Shameem lyrics comment on a lot more than the usual relationship thing. The album's consistent lyrical theme is about the importance of giving thanks. The set features a number of brief sketches or interludes exhorting to us to give thanks for everything we have and that sentiment is summed up in the final outro.

'Hole In My Heart' is another cut worth checking. This one's very Alicia Keys... a lovely, loose, jazzy ramble. The album boasts a number of ballads too – notably 'Other Half Of My Heart'. With just a hint of reggae about it, it's quite beguiling. Add to that some decent, if ponderous beaters ('Imposter' and 'Give Me A Reason') and you have a decent contemporary soul set that's spoiled by one cut that I found hard to connect with. That one's 'Expectation'. It's clearly an experimental tune but veers too much towards rock to please soul sensitivities.

Shameem's 'The Second City' is released on January 16th and you can find more out @

3/5 - SoulandJazzandFunk

"A Beautiful Soul..."

There's definitely something going on in Australia at the moment.... the soul is flowing thick and fast! Already this year we've had a great album from Cooking On 3 Burners and just lately young soulstress Senani set heads turning with her infectious single, 'Free'. Hot on their heels is a third Anitopdean soul goodie from a big new talent, SHAMEEM.

Shameem (Taheri-Lee) is a mixed race Aussie whose musical preference is the soul of the 70s which she re-interprets through 90s groove sensitivities creating a thoroughly contemporary sound. Hear it at its best on her latest single, the ultra-catchy 'Beautiful Soul'. The tune's built around some tight beats and features some cool piano and an ear-worm of a chorus. The vocal is spot on and the whole package stands comparison with one of Shameem's heroines, Alicia Keys.

'Beautiful Soul' is taken from the lady's soon to be released sophomore album and it makes soul sense to keep an eye on Shameem in particular and Australia in general. - SoulandJazzandFunk

"Shameem Bares Her "Beautiful Soul""

Australian artist Shameem was introduced to the SoulBounce audience as Bounce-Worthy back in 2011, with her signature jazz-inflected R&B style making us stop in our tracks. It's now three years on, and she's back with a new single and a new music video. "Beautiful Soul" is a feel-good number that tackles the impact of adults' behavior on the innocent, pure spirits of children. The powerful message is set to a classic R&B styling with a catchy hook and filled out with a live band feel, a refreshing change from the electronic sound that's prevalent in R&B nowadays.

The video, meanwhile, portrays pre-teen and teenage children interacting at a skate park, doing the things that kids do, until an adult intrudes and dampens the mood somewhat. But with a voice like Shameem's, "Beautiful Soul" is anything but a dampener. The video and single will uplift your spirit and have you grooving from the moment you press play. - SoulBounce

"On the Record: Shameem Taheri-Lee"

Most could easily agree that jazz music is all about charisma, and some of the best jazz is that which can reward its listeners with a soulful, swinging sound. Perth-based singer/songwriter Shameem Taheri-Lee showcases an unmistakable talent and passion for constructing songs infused with groove and R’n'B to create a distinctive approach to music and her self-titled CD.

The first tracks start off slow, taking a bit of time to get into the mellow vibe. But depsite Boy starting off with a funky intro, and being introduced to Taheri-Lee’s angelic yet powerful vocals, something still seems to be missing. Back to the Ground however pulls you in, taking what was missing and replacing it with personality, energy and a beat that you can’t get out of your head. This, as well as Taheri-Lee’s vocal flexibility, is carried through for the rest of the album and is propelled by a strong instrumental backing to reveal layer under layer of her passion for life, music and individuality. Deep, Still slows the mood right back down to a stylish, smooth and somewhat sexy ballad with the vocals complementing the keyboard beautifully. Disappointed will lyrically move you, Parents & Children will paint a picture of how parents aren’t perfect and the reality of when a child’s role is reversed with them, and In Time bleeds solid, raw emotion.

Shameem Taheri-Lee presents an album that will reach out and inspire her audience. With her naturally soulful voice and strong sense of spirituality, it will make you want to see a live performance to capture the full energy and charisma of this jazz artist.

Jayde Ferguson - Drum Media

"The Soothing Melody of Shameem Taheri-Lee"

A shimmering wave of beautiful jazz music entices the lucky ears of civilians down under in Australia. This lovely wave has traveled into my ears delightfully sending my whole aura into a state of sheer euphoria. The music comes from Shameem Taheri-Lee, an artist who protrudes an essence of chill vibes from her light and smooth voice. A mixed array of emotions arise from her song “Sleeper on the Night Train.” It pulls my senses to full attention with its enchanting piano and guitar playing. The tune embodies a message of choosing one’s own destiny instead of just waiting for it to choose you. Her voice slowly flows through the chorus like a gentle river rocking a boat on a calm night. This song is so soothing to the ears that I could almost imagine singing it to my future children when I put them to bed one day. The tranquility of her voice could rock a sweet child to sleep and help them dream of courageous ventures because of the ambitious words of her charming melody. - Heartbeat


The Brisbane Jazz Club was hectic this Saturday evening; it was like unfurling a surprise gift. A classy supper club, the beautiful cityscape posed a wonderful setting to the stage of a simple jazz rhythm rhythm section with bass, guitar, keyboard supported by a grand piano and a jazz kit propping the backup vocalist and vanguard of Perth singer-songwriter Shameem. Covers of ’90s tracks from Jon Secada’s ‘Just Another Day’ to Erykah Badu’s sassy ‘Certainly’, and a stunning unplugged piano version of 4 Non Blonde’s ‘What’s Up’, were worked in alongside originals from Shameem’s self-titled album. A charming stream of patter explained the history of each song. From the strawberry coloured birthmark on her cheek for ‘Strawberry’, to a woman’s perspective in a male dominated world with ‘Yin’ and the funky groove of ‘Parents & Children’, Shameem’s vocal suppleness and song-writing talents were on display. Her melismatic improvisation and scatting shone as her tones varied between angelic and forceful. Shameem’s dynamic charisma was apparent to all while her band pulsated. The guitar wandered in and out of melodies, the keys enhancing textures, the drums abounding with rimshots while the bass remained at the centre of this controlled cataclysm. The performance had all the reminiscence of Jacques Prevert, the R&B of Angie Stone, an Ella Fitzgerald treatment with the tightness of a Gil Evans score and the pace of The Brand New Heavies; unplugged and lashed with exuberance. There’s nothing like the vibrancy of live music. Package it in the Brisbane Jazz Club with top musicianship and it can’t be beat. - Scene Magazine

"Bounce-Worthy - Shameem"

Here at SoulBounce, we’ve been noticing a lot of quality soul music coming our way from Australia and New Zealand. From Sam Sparro to Electric Empire to The Liberators and Electric Wire Hustle, there has to be something funky brewing in the waters over there to create such a bumper crop of down-under talent. Now we add to our ever-growing list of Kiwi and Aussie soul with Australian singer-songwriter Shameem. Her three-song EP, Universe for Afternoon Tea, showed a lot of her promise with jazz inflected R&B songs like “Undertones” and “I Look Up.” The jazz influences and her smooth, clear voice have made the Perth-native a favorite guest singer for many of Australia’s jazz clubs, but her heart truly lies in the world of soul music. She has used her influences to her advantage though, merging them with her love of ’90s R&B grooves to create something truly special, and it shows on her self-titled debut album. Tracks like “Boy,” an easy, laid-back jazzy groove of a love song, and the moody “Sleeper on the Night Train” showcase Shameem’s marriage of jazz and soul to great effect. Shameem’s debut will be released to the masses on November 19th. If you’re lucky enough to be a music-lover in Asia and Australia, Shameem plans to follow up her album’s release with tours on both continents (and maybe she can bring her talents stateside as well). As a consolation for the rest of us, we can listen to “Boy” and “Sleeper on the Night Train” below and hop after the bounce to see video of Shameem and her band recording the album (which features her track “Back to the Ground”). - SoulBounce

"Perth Street Culture and Arts Festival"

“… soul acts such as Shameem Taheri-Lee whose sultry vocal style and the sensual musicality of her backing band enthralled audiences and captivated onlookers…”


Northbridge, infamous for the ne’er do wells and folk of dubious moral character that stalk its foreboding streets at night was transformed in to a veritable fête de la musique last Sunday for the Perth Street Culture and Arts Festival. Located on William Street, stretching from the Moon Café by Newcastle Street to the Perth Mosque, the festival was relatively small in size, however whatever it lacked in quantity it easily compensated for in quality.

Stalls offering Asian cuisine, eastern remedies, discount clothes, environmental cause recruitment, art exhibitions, and small curios littered the street. The calls of vendors selling field mushrooms for six dollars a kilo or cheap, gimcrack jewellery filled the air; Chinese dragons performed on the street, twisting and winding themselves in a life-like manner while small children playfully tugged their hindquarters and a stilt walking geisha strolled past presiding over an anomalous caravan of men who had garbed themselves in tropical leaves and bamboo whilst sounding bells. This however, was nothing compared to the musical performances lined up for the day.

Split between two stages and a small street corner, some seventeen bands and dancing troupes were to entertain the crowds. Sneaky Weasel Gang, Natalie Gillespie, San Cisco, Shameem Taheri-Lee, The Groovesmiths, Tara Speckman, and the Chung Wah Dancers are just some of the many performers that were showcased.

From soul acts such as Shameem Taheri-Lee whose sultry vocal style and the sensual musicality of her backing band enthralled audiences and captivated onlookers, to San Cisco an incredibly talented group of young, high school graduates who churned out catchy indie pop songs like seasoned pros. They played songs from their recently released EP Golden Revolver and judging by the crowd reaction, San Cisco won over more than a couple of fans.

As the afternoon progressed, the exhibitions included a small fashion runway and a Falun Dafa (a form of Chinese Buddhism) demonstration. Meanwhile, people congregated towards the main stage as Natalie Gillespie came on, her crazy, untamed hair was matched only by her vivacious and nutty stage presence. She jumped, shook, swung, laughed and swayed all the while singing her kooky little heart out on stage and despite admitted preliminary unease within the band over their newly-joined drummer, the band was able to play a spectacular set, topped by the piece de resistance, an impromptu egg shaker solo.

On the small stage, The Groovesmiths, an incredibly funky quintet, laid down heavy conga-based rhythms and a small but breath-taking free-form jazz outfit played out on the street.

To end the day, Perth favourites the Sneaky Weasal Gang came out to deliver the funky blues-rock songs that they have built their name around. The trio came out looking a little worse for wear and apologising to the crowd “sorry if we appear a little fragile, we are”. Apparently the abuse of the free booze policy at a Denmark wedding had led to a rough night and subsequent morning waking up in a puddle of water. Nonetheless, while the band were unanimated on stage, the songs were of a high calibre. Face-melting guitar solos and a groove that could sink ships ended the festival on a high note. After a few thank yous from the mayor, people began shuffling back down William Street.

The Street Culture and Arts Festival was a great family outing as well as a tremendous opportunity to experience some of Perth’s more spectacular local bands and a chance for amateur gastronomists to step outside their comfort zone and experience Asian cookery. The only negative aspect of the day was the barrage of flyers. Every few metres passers-by were forced to counter the bombardment of flyer distributors with cursory smiles and polite a ‘no, thank you.’ while the more clever and agile pedestrians were able to detour these street hawkers, eventually even the most ingenious escape artists were eventually confronted. That said, it was a small price to pay for an overall sensational day out. - Faster Louder

"Shameem Taheri-Lee @ The Ellington Jazz Club, Perth"

“Taheri-Lee’s songs had a deep, soulful resonance that captivated the audience, propelled by a strong rhythmic backing, augmented by virtuoso keyboard solos. The whole band worked in unison to create a rich tapestry of colour…”


Sexy, sophisticated, suave, the Ellington Jazz Club has it all. Whether you’re an amateur jazzophile who thinks Louis Armstrong is that guy who landed on the moon, or a jaded veteran who thinks the only good jazz comes in 37/16 timing and involves instruments invented for the sole purpose of one performance and destroyed moments later to preserve the song’s originality, the Ellington Jazz Club is a Mecca for anybody with a toe in the Perth jazz scene.

It was for this reason that local singer Shameem Taheri-Lee and her band chose it as the location for an evening of fun, friends and funk to raise funds for the recording of her debut album. Lured with the promise of mystery guests, enticed by a raffle offering fabulous prizes, people crowded into the Ellington. Young and old were out in force as families huddled together in the confines of the lower level in anticipation for the band to start; children ordered soft drinks while mum and dad had something a little stronger to help deal with the kids.

The sextet walked to the stage somewhat meekly and began their first song, a cover of Coldplay’s We Live in a Beautiful World. Despite a somewhat shaky start, they recovered quickly to complete their doleful rendition of the Coldplay classic. At the song’s conclusion, Taheri-Lee explained, “Normally we’d start off with a bang, but we thought naah, we’ll start with something a bit laid-back.” This set a relaxed and buoyant tone for the night.

Taheri-Lee’s songs had a deep, soulful resonance that captivated the audience, propelled by a strong rhythmic backing, augmented by virtuoso keyboard solos. The whole band worked in unison to create a rich tapestry of colour; they knew what to play and how to play it, and worked in perfect cohesion.

An allusion to the impending raffle was made, with prizes that included CDs from popular Perth bands The Brow Horn Orchestra and Accumulated Gestures, a designer cake, a free photo session package and a free mocktail party by Innocent Entertainment.

Taheri-Lee called up Donovan de Souza, singer for the Accumulated Gestures, to sing a hastily prepared duet of the Marvin Gaye classic Ain’t No Mountain High Enough. De Souza was the first of the night’s guest musicians, shortly followed by West Australian Youth Jazz Orchestra saxophonist Sean Little to play some of the songs from Taheri-Lee’s debut EP.

The first set concluded with the CD raffle and the band descended from the stage to meet with their families and friends while audience members scrambled over each other to get another glass of wine.

The beginning of the second set proved the stronger of the two; during the break the band had asked the crowd to recommend their favourite jazz standard to be played on the spot – It turned out to be Sweet Georgia Brown by Louis Armstrong. Once again, guest musicians including bass player Nick Abbey, were called up to help Taheri-Lee play some of the songs that were considered for the album. Taheri-Lee dismissed the band and took the opportunity to play some solo songs, explaining, “This is a special night for us, we’re doing a lot of stuff we don’t normally do.” She sang tender and vulnerable renditions of her songs, including one even her band hadn’t heard. The band returned to the stage to finish the night with a couple of songs, including a cover of Feelin’ Alright by Traffic.

At the end, punters hurried home, no doubt ruing the thought of going to work in the morning. The turnout had been admirable, though not large enough to merit the opening of the second tier of the Ellington. Considering that Shameem Taheri-Lee and her band had no supporting acts, and it was a Sunday night, many Perth bands with a higher profile could not have expected to do so well. - Faster Louder


Universe for Afternoon Tea (EP) - 2009

Shameem (LP) - 2011

The Second City (LP) - 2015 

Time Does Not Reverse (EP) - 2017 



Shameem has just released her EP “Time Does Not Reverse”, combining her signature brand of soul with a fresh, rejuvenated sound. A multi-skilled musician, Shameem wrote and co-produced the 4 tracks, playing keyboards and contributing to the drum programming, as well as her stunning vocals.

A self-managed, independent artist, Shameem keeps a busy performance schedule, having supported major international artists such as Michael Bolton, George Benson, Belinda Carlisle and Ronan Keating, and undertaken tours in both her native Australia and in the USA and Canada. Shameem’s most recent album The Second City (2015) includes the singles “Beautiful Soul”, which was awarded 4th place in the Australian Songwriting Contest, and “Under One Sun”, written in collaboration with Grammy-winning producer James Bryan (Nelly Furtado, Olly Murs, James Morrison) and nominated in the international Independent Music Awards.

Born in Australia to a Chinese-Malaysian father and an Iranian mother, this bubbly vocalist and songwriter enchants her audiences with her gripping stage presence, personal and socially conscious lyrics, and powerfully expressive voice. The diversity of her heritage has not only contributed to Shameem’s exotic looks but has influenced her eclectic approach to music. Her unique fusion of 90s R&B grooves with the melodic sensibility of 70s soul and a subtle twist of jazz has seen her frequently compared to such artists as Alicia Keys, Mary J. Blige and Michael Jackson.

Tracks from both of Shameem’s albums have proven popular with community radio stations around Australia as well as USA college radio, garnering airplay on over 80 Australian stations and 130 USA stations, and charting in the Top 30 and Top 5 at several USA stations. Meanwhile, her track “Turn It On” enjoys popularity in her home state of Western Australia, having been synced to a major TV advertising campaign. Shameem is passionate about uplifting and inspiring people to work for the betterment of the world through her music.

See press quotes here.

Band Members