Shanta Paloma
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Shanta Paloma

Northampton, MA | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF | AFM

Northampton, MA | SELF | AFM
Established on Jan, 2013
Solo Alternative Singer/Songwriter


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Shanta Paloma @ The Burren

Somerville, Massachusetts, United States

Somerville, Massachusetts, United States

Shanta Paloma @ Shutesbury Athletic Club

Massachusetts, United States

Massachusetts, United States

Shanta Paloma @ Bishop's Lounge

Northampton, Massachusetts, United States

Northampton, Massachusetts, United States



“Hailing from Massachusetts’ farm rich Pioneer Valley (Northampton; Springfield; Amherst) located in the Western part of the state, singer-songwriter-musician Shanta Paloma rocks with the intensity of a magnitude 6.0 earthquake. Brandishing a powerful, yet feminine rock & roll voice that rivals that of Pat Benatar, Paloma puts everything on the line when it comes to her music. A student of the world, Paloma’s ambassador father brought her from country to country as a child, where she learned not only how to adapt and assimilate, but to witness and absorb everything the globe had to offer. The result is a savvy artist that plays, writes and sings with fierce abandon. Best tracks include the punk infused album opener “Unspoken,” the high steppin’ “Wake Up, Bittersweet Love,” the hard rockin’ anthem “Keeper With A Player’s Mind,” the rocker noir “Bad Monkey,” the sassy “Sweet Cheeks,” and the introspective “Like A Little Girl.”

Shanta Paloma may not be a well known name on the Boston music circuit, but given the chance to strut her stuff, there’s no question that she’ll deliver the goods and a whole lot more. Good stuff!”

~ Douglas Sloan, Metronome Magazine, March, 2015 - Metronome Magazine

Shanta Paloma’s debut full length CD offers a lot of accessible modern radio rock graced by her gutsy, raspy vocal delivery. Paloma’s songs are well crafted pop rockers whose influences range from Pat Benatar to Ani DiFranco to just about any interesting female songwriter with an intriguing vocal. Self-titled, her album never runs out of steam but continuously delivers high energy material. Paloma spices her songs well with intricate acoustic guitar passages, arcing lead guitar accompaniment, and alluring grooves that are as influenced by gypsy jazz as they are classic rock.

“Unspoken” opens the album with a rocking attitude. Paloma croons assertively over waves of driving acoustic and electric guitars and palpable bass and drums. The rhythmic pattern underneath her become more complex as she becomes more subtle and tender in her vocal expressions. True talent abounds as Paloma makes these shifts in her song. She has complete control over the dramatic tension she sings about, moving from raspy and tough to vulnerable and sweet.

ShantaPaloma1Paloma incorporates a touch of 1920s gypsy jazz in “Wake Up.” Her acoustic guitar melody hearkens back to an earlier time in music. Its progression is rooted in an Eastern European melody structure while she sings in a lilting vocal melody. Paloma puts as much drama and emotion in this song as a Broadway musical number. She is certainly not an ordinary rocker chick if she can construct something this gripping and tasteful.

“Thriving” rides in on a breezy, cool, and clean electric guitar melodic phrase. Over that smooth rock delivery, Paloma matches the silky finesse with her graceful, unfurling vocal melody line. Her voice is almost purring with anticipation as she lays out her case for success. Her vocal power here often forms a strong duality with her lead guitarist. Both her voice and that melodic guitar phrase cry out the feelings of this number beautifully.

ShantaPaloma2“Keeper With A Player’s Mind” comes at you like it’s been coiled up too long and couldn’t wait to spring out at the listener. Paloma rocks it with aggression and confidence, like a bad mama who clears a path before her with a tense, menacing attitude. Boy, can this young lady work a vocal line. Paloma carries herself well through and among tense guitar phrasing and two-fisted, bare knuckle drumming and low end attacks. This tune smolders with everything rock and roll should be, attitude, over the top expression, and a message that pounds its fist on your table before telling you off.

Paloma is humming with sensuality in “Under Your Kiss,” a number suggesting a woman who feels restless, now matter what she tries to do about it, until she is rejoined by her irresistible lover. This singer can certainly serve up a plateful of dramatic tension and feeling with her raspy timbre and aggressive vocal phrasing. She can also construct a fantastic musical structure around her voice. She’s got peppy percussion riding alongside palpable bass and drums in alluring rhythmic twists.

“Bad Monkey” finds Paloma prancing her way into a jungle rhythm groove. She sounds levitated over the rhythms as she coos and sustains her vocal enthusiasm for her “jungle love.” Breathy vocals, enticing rhythms, and slithering guitar lines form the primitive pull of this song. Paloma’s come hither approach works more because of what she doesn’t say as what she does as she works her way through this suggestive dance of words and sounds.

“Tombstones” sounds mildly influenced by Spanish guitar ballads. Paloma gets a lot of action packed drama going on in her aggressive acoustic guitar strums. She sings over the speedy acoustic, electric guitars and rhythm section in a vocal approach that glides with perpetual motion, like there’s wind behind her sails only she can feel and use to drive her onward. Her vocal patter includes many peaks and valleys to keep the number interesting and invigorating.

ShantaPaloma3“Parallel Lives” swaggers in with a feisty guitar line. From there, Paloma emotes in a whispery, cooing vocal approach that unfurls at an intriguing pace. Again, she seems to just glide over everything with a vocal line that pours forth like honey. She works in a male duet partner who also croons softly and gently, and Paloma works well off his masculine timbre.

Paloma switches gears in “Sweet Cheeks,” employing a sweet, girlish timbre and a 1920s swing feel in her acoustic guitar strum. This one is full of sugar and spice and everything nice. It’s one of those ditties that will bring a smile to your face as it brightens your day with its inner and outer joy. Likewise, “Like A Little Girl” is gentle with a very likable rhythm, albeit somewhat less jaunty than the previous track. Still, Paloma emotes beautifully over her acoustic guitar melody. She makes the most of her natural timbre when she coos, sustains, and or shifts dynamics. There is definitely a talent here for writing catchy, intriguing songs and a voice that can do all sorts of things with those lyrics and musical structures.

ShantaPaloma4Closing track “The Truth” is a ballad number that seems to climb higher and higher in emotional expression as Paloma goes on. Though ornamented with acoustic guitar, accordion, strings, and synths, it never gets syrupy because Paloma’s song craft keeps all of those instruments in their own special places. Paloma makes you feel this one, delivering it with a sincerity that matches the emotional honest of her words. She also closes out her album on a tender note, suggesting she has unfinished business she can use on her next album.

Paloma is certainly not an ordinary local singer-songwriter. She plays some of the best acoustic guitar around and she puts together songs with an interesting variety of instruments and influences. Incorporating gypsy jazz and also 1920s swing into her rock album are fantastic touches, ideas that don’t spring out of an ordinary mind. Paloma has a talent, ideas, and a look that could take her far. She only needs to market herself a wee bit better, and she’ll be a golden girl on the New England music scene.

-Billy Copeland - Billy Copeland Music News

"...The crowd was dense by the time Shanta Paloma took the stage. One of the most astounding artists of the night, she took advantage of her acoustic-electric guitar and used a foot pedal to record portions of her strumming and play it back throughout the songs, giving her the sound of a multi-person band while still being a solo performer. While not as eclectic as Weege or traditional as Ponybird, Paloma’s husky voice and stand-out rhythms can be likened to a modern Janice Joplin or Stevie Nicks. Her sound is a rocking jazz on acoustic, and many audience members were seen closing their eyes to take in the infectious beats and deeper meanings to her tunes. At one point she recorded her thumping on the guitar as a driving drum beat to last throughout a whole song, switching also to a harmonica microphone to create a vintage vinyl feel. Paloma’s voice seduced everyone, and her song “White turns to Grey” (which she admittedly had only written a few days earlier) could quite possibly be the best breakup song of the year, speaking with both heartbreak and strength of what happens when little white lies are repeated." - Mount Holyoke News

Shanta Paloma was first drawn to music at the age of 7 when she discovered an old piano in the basement of a music shop in Paris.

Her parents agreed to purchase the piano as long as she would hunker down and learn how to play. Paloma did just that and ended taking piano lessons throughout her childhood, but it wasn’t until she was a teenager and taught herself guitar that she found her true musical calling.

“When I was taking piano lessons I was playing Bach and Chopin and music was something that you read off the page,” said Paloma in a recent phone interview. “I couldn’t figure out how I would be a musician because you had to learn this mountain of repertoire.”

She figured it out when she discovered her father’s guitar and started teaching herself songs by ear. The guitar gave her a whole new appreciation of music and proved a source of inspiration in a way that the piano never did. By the time Paloma was 15, she was writing and playing her own songs.

Since that time Paloma, who now resides in Holyoke, has written many songs. She released her self-titled debut album earlier this year and will perform material from it when she takes the stage at Mocha Maya’s, 47 Bridge St., in Shelburne Falls on Friday, Dec. 13, at 7:30 p.m.

She will be accompanied by Jesse “JAMessiah” Mushenko on bass and Tina “T-Belle” Horn on drums.

Opening will be Show of Cards, the duo of siblings Karen and Mike Cardozo, who will be joined by guitarist Dave Chalfant for this show.

But why after writing and performing for over a decade did it take so long for Paloma to release an album?

“Well, money was a part of it but the other part was more psychological,” she said. “There was a part of me that knew I wasn’t quite there.”

When the time was finally right Paloma had about 40 songs to choose from and ended up choosing edgier material over songs that had more folk and jazz leanings. She said that audiences in the area have shown the strongest response to these songs.

The disc opens with the song, “Outspoken,” a Melissa Etheridge-style rocker that finds Paloma belting out lines like “Some things are better left unspoken/Don’t break a heart if a heart ain’t broken,” but this disc can’t be pegged as solely as a rock album as much of the material is played unplugged. A song such as “Like a Little Girl” has strong folk-pop elements whereas “Sweet Cheeks” has a playful, almost retro sound. You’ll also hear traces of funk, soul, jazz, even a bossa nova groove on “Under Your Kiss” and much more. Throughout the album, Paloma’s strong voice and direct lyrics come through.

The daughter of a diplomat, Paloma grew up in France, India and Turkey, and this nomadic lifestyle impacted her openness to new and different sounds.

“I think living around the world made me appreciate diversity very deeply,” said Paloma. “I am generally interested in new and different things. I think being exposed to so many places nurtured that in me. I love punk, I love jazz, I love rap and so many other types of music.”

Paloma in particular cites the free-spirited singer Bjork as having a major influence on her own music.

When asked if there is a particular theme she finds herself going back to, Paloma said that songs of unrequited love dominate this album. While she doesn’t write “woe is me” love songs, Paloma instead merges a sense of vulnerability and strength in much of her work.

“I write songs that empower people to get over the hopelessness and move on, sort of like Taylor Swift,” she said with a laugh.

Since releasing the album, Paloma has been performing throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut, all while completing her master’s degree in social work. Paloma strives to achieve balance in her life and finds that attending school has enriched not only her mind, but her spirit and music as well. “I think my songs are better now,” she said.

You also might recognize her as the Shanta who hosts the radio advice show “Help Me, Shanta,” which airs every Sunday night from 6 to 7 p.m. on Valley Free Radio, 103.3 WXOJ-LP in Northampton. During the show, Paloma takes listener calls and dishes advice on a variety of subjects.

“I did an interview on Valley Free Radio and thought it was fun,” Paloma said, explaining the origins of her show. “I thought ‘you could do your own show,’ and I wanted to do something different, something that would balance me spiritually, because it’s so easy to get wrapped up in yourself when you are playing your songs and trying to market yourself. Every time I go in and spend time thinking about other people I feel good.”

While she won’t be giving advice during her Mocha Maya’s show, she will be treating concert-goers to a markedly different experience. In an effort to bring a bit of performance art to her show, Paloma will have a painter named Matty painting while she is performing. This is something she does at many of her shows and finds that people are surprised by her shows as they do not fit their preconceived ideas.

“I think that people try to pigeonhole me as a singer-songwriter and kind of folkie, or they see the way I look and they think I’m mainly a singer,” she said. “When people actually see me perform they are surprised — they didn’t expect me to play guitar as well as I do and just to be the way I am.”

You can also catch Shanta Paloma every Tuesday night at 9 p.m. at Elizur’s Pub, 876 Hampden St. in Holyoke. She will appear at Luthier’s Co-op, 108 Cottage St. in Easthampton, on Thursday, Dec. 19, at 7 p.m.

Admission to the Mocha Maya’s show is free, but tips for the performers are appreciated.

-Sheryl Hunter - The Recorder

Singer-songwriter Shanta Paloma straddles a lot of worlds in her music. There's a touch of Ani DiFranco-esque cutting-edge folk, a little bit of Boston musician poe's multi-shaded gothish punk with a pop edge, but really, when you get right down to it, Paloma doesn't really sound like anybody else.
There's a lot of soul in songs such as "Unspoken" and "Bad Monkey," a lot of fight and a lot of vulnerability. Even in a song such as "Parallel Lives," which is a pretty straightforward star-crossed-lovers song, her voice is smoky and low, her phrasing intricate. Paloma is a captivating singer, and definitely one worth watching. Shanta Paloma performs with Rocket Queen at 8:30 p.m. Sept. 20 at The Lucky Dog Music Hall, 89 Green St., Worcester. (Victor D. Infante) - The Telegram

A milestone personal and professional achievement by local singer-songwriter Shanta Paloma will occur Thursday, April 11th at 8pm at the Elevens when her debut CD release party happens. The CD consists of songs from the past decade that symbolize love and truth, all presented in her unique Indie rock style with full band. In the Spotlight (ITS) spoke to her recently.

ITS: How did you get your start in music?

Shanta: I have always been interested. When I was 15, I secretly took my Dad's guitar and played his Beatles anthology song book. "Eleanor Rigby" was the first song I learned. That is when I started writing. At Wesleyan University, I learned World Music. I took guitar lessons from Pioneer Valley native Sue Burkhart. Moving to NYC, I gigged in singer-songwriter sessions including CBGB's. Eventually, I moved back to the Valley and became a music teacher and gigged.

ITS: Who inspired you musically growing up?

Shanta: My father, who played sitar in an Indian restaurant, and my mother,who played violin. As for musical artists, the 80's hair metal, 90's alternative rock, jazz and flamenco/bossa nova artists.

ITS: The song from your CD "Under Your Kiss" is a video on YouTube. Where was it filmed?

Shanta: In Monson behind my bass player Jesse Mushenko's house. He filmed it while I sang it with my guitar in a tree. He swung around like a monkey to get it all.

ITS: Is there a song that connects you to fellow artist Matto, who paints as you sing at occasional solo gigs?

Shanta: There is one love song called "Rhapsodic Inspiration" that I wrote in college. That one fits us perfectly.

ITS: What are your future aspirations?

Shanta: Basically to continue writing and performing with the band. We are planning "The Badass to Baroque Tour to Las Vegas" for spring, 2014. I also want a studio to write, record and sell songs from. As a musician, I want to become a better classical player.

ITS: Good luck on your endeavors and CD release party.

Shanta: It is very exciting. Thanks, and I hope to see you there. - In The Spotlight

The songs on local singer and songwriter Shanta Paloma’s debut disc can be heard pretty often in the Valley these days—Paloma holds down an every-Tuesday gig at Elizur’s Pub in Holyoke. She can also be heard on Sundays at 6 p.m. on WXOJ-LP FM 103.3 (or online via, when she hosts advice show “Help Me, Shanta!”
Her self-titled disc melds several styles into an unlikely set of tunes—a harder rock aesthetic drives many tunes, with solid, straight-ahead drum parts and chunking electric guitar (much of it courtesy of longtime Valley guitarist Benjamin Jon). On those tunes, Paloma’s big voice proves quite capable of standing out in the middle of fully saturated sounds. Her tones are clear and confident, but with a gruff edge.
Other tunes offer a very different sound, inhabiting territory that owes some of its melodic turns to jazz and swing. In most of them, Paloma sings in much the same no-holds-barred manner, but “Sweet Cheeks” brings out a bouncy, girlish upper register that seems more 1925 than 2013.
Though Paloma’s vocals are more than up to the task on distorted rock tracks, the album’s best moments arrive when the tempos are slower and the instruments less up-front, allowing Paloma’s singing more breathing room and more readily revealing the contours of her melodies. Her penchant for very different musical directions makes her happily hard to predict.

-James Heflin - The Valley Advocate


Self-Titled Debut Album (2013): 

Track 1: Unspoken 

Track 2: Wake Up, Bittersweet Love

Track 3: Thriving 

Track 4: Keeper With A Player's Mind

Track 5: Under Your Kiss

Track 6: Bad Monkey 

Track 7: Tombstones 

Track 8: Parallel Lives

Track 9: Sweet Cheeks

Track 10: Like A Little Girl (Yadedai) 

Track 11: The Truth 

The new EP, "7," 2015: 

1. I Really Wanna Be With You

2. Too Much 

3. Love On The Outside/Looking In

4. Love/Hate

5. Good Man

6. White Turns To Grey 

7. The Ballad of Will & Neptune



Shanta Paloma is a refreshing & soulful singer-songwriter who, according to Boston’s Metronome Magazine, “rocks with the intensity of a magnitude 6.0 earthquake.” Joan Jett meets Jewel through Shanta's bold, yet wistful voice. Brandishing guitar prowess that rivals both Ani Difranco & Nancy Wilson of Heart,  she brings unusual talent to the stage. According to The Valley Advocate, "her penchant for going in very different musical directions makes her music happily hard to predict," and charismatic.  Shanta is a walking song with highs & lows that go around full circle with a melody you can hold onto. With passionate delivery, Shanta offers poetic songs of truth and love that evocatively emote as effectively around a bonfire or on the biggest stage in town.  She just finished her first DIY national tour, The Guerrilla Gigs Tour of The United States of America, a solo cross-country adventure that she documented with a GoPro and an iPod. She has been releasing a rockumentary mini-series on her youtube channel. 

Voted one of the best singer-songwriters in the Pioneer Valley, Shanta Paloma can boast critical acclaim of a dozen publications, and is well-known from her hundreds of performances in local festivals and clubs, and regional radio & TV appearances. Her music can be heard on soundtracks; local compilation albums; and by thousands of her fans who follow her on social media. She has played famed venues, including CBGB’s, Cafe Wha?! and The Bitter End in NYC; and The Hippodrome, The Iron Horse & Pearl Street Ballroom in The Pioneer Valley, Massachusetts.

Band Members