Rising star and country artist Shantaia is releasing her music video for the viral single “Damaged Goods” tomorrow, but you can watch the video early, exclusively premiering with Countrypolitan Magazine.
On the video, Shantaia shares, “This music video has to be the most fun video I’ve ever shot. My manager, director, and I all have a shared love of The Office, so we wanted to give this video that ‘documentary style’ real, humorous feel! I invite the camera crew into our small town bar (Bobby’s Idle Hour, Nashville) and introduce them to the specific characters that we’ve written into this song. We placed everyone in their roles perfectly and had a blast with it. After almost 2 million people connected with this song on TikTok, we HAD to bring the story to life!”
We also got the chance to have a conversation with Shantaia about all things “Damaged Goods,” Exes and Friends, touring, The Office, songwriting, what’s next for her career, and more.
You can watch the exclusive premiere of the official video for “Damaged Goods” below.
GC: I’m so excited you get to work with Universal Canada for your win with the Boots and Hearts Festival. How has that experience been for you?
S: Oh my gosh, it was so crazy. It’s always one of those things that you apply, you enter in for, you know, the competition or the showcase and you never expect to get in. And then when you get in, it’s crazy awesome. We thought we’d make the most of it. We’ll go, we’ll play. We don’t expect to win. It’s fine if we don’t. And then you make it on to the final and you’re like, “Wow.” But like, we might not win still. So then, we’re just here for the experience and the opportunity. When you actually win it – that was a whirlwind.
GC: Things like that just happen, huh? Such an indescribable feeling.
S: Yeah, so it’s really cool, really crazy. We got to play on the main stage and like walk down the catwalk. Just all the things that you like, you know, little artist Shantaia, little baby Shantaia was always saying, “I want to do that one day,” and then I got to do it. So it’s just a taste of, you know, hopefully, what I’m going to be doing for the rest of my life.
GC: I love that! So I do want to talk about “Damaged Goods.” I’m so excited for the video to be released. More than two million obviously across all things have connected with this track. Why do you think that this is the song that so many people have resonated with?
S: I think the relatability of this song is it’s so real. It’s there are all these characters in this song we really kind of characterized. In the verses, you’ve got Billy who wants to be big-time quarterback and gets into an accident and loses his scholarship. And then there’s Jenny, who was like the homecoming queen and went too far one night and ended up pregnant at 17. These are real-life experiences that happen every day and clearly have. People were commenting on TikTok and reaching out to me saying, ”I’m Jenny. I had my first kid at 17 and like it was the best thing that ever happened to me, I love this song so much.” I tried to really take this title and run with it. People use “damaged goods” as a negative connotation, right? And now it’s twisted into a positive. We’re all damaged, but it’s all good. Like there’s there’s no problem with it. We all have our baggage. So I think that’s why it really resonated and connected with people because it’s so relatable and it just, makes people feel like they have a little piece of their story in a song.
GC: Yeah, absolutely. I can totally relate to that. You know, that’s why so many people reached out to you and related to it because you know that’s what this is about. That’s why you make music. Why do you write songs?
S: This is why we write songs. This is why we put our like story into songs because it might resonate and relate with other people. And like, it’s so crazy. I knew this song was relatable, but like when you see a blowup on TikTok and you see people like 2 million more plus people relating with it, it’s just like so crazy.
GC: Going to show questions, what has it been like to open for Kane Brown, Chris Lane, Ryan Hurd, and more? You recently went on tour! Is there anything fun behind the scenes you can share with us?
S: When I opened for all of these amazing artists, it was a hometown show for me so that was amazing, but like what was so cool about the whole experience was Kane and Chris and their team. They all made a point of getting to know me, and I think I’ve really lucked out on people that I’ve toured with or done one off shows with who have been very humble and very kind to me in my camp. So I’ve been super grateful. I am very lucky. Chris was so sweet. He brought my band and I onto his tour bus right after our set. There was another artist right before him, Sean Austin, playing and he just invited us on the tour bus and chatted with us for like 25-30 minutes asking about me, asking about my career and where I was headed with things and it was just so sweet. So that was really cool. I went on a four-day tour with the Washboard Union, and that was my first real taste of touring and actually going on a tour with somebody. They were so sweet. They got me a bottle of champagne at the end of the tour with like a beautiful note thanking me for joining on that leg of the East Coast tour. And they were super sweet too. So yeah, touring is super fun. I can’t wait to really sink my teeth into that and hopefully this winter we’ll get to tour a little bit more!
GC: I know we already kind of talked a little bit about the songwriting process behind Damaged Goods, but could you tell us about how that song started?
S: Yeah, so actually funny enough, I had this title on my phone and like the flip on it, how it was going to be a positive song for a few weeks and I brought it into a couple of rooms that were a little bit more like pop country rooms and nobody really dug it. So I just kind of was like, I’m not going to give up on it – I haven’t brought it into the right room yet. And then I brought it in with Adam Wheeler and David Boris, and it was the first title I threw out. I just knew they were going to like it and they immediately were on board. And I just remember Adam – he’s such a funny writer. He’ll be in a turn chair, like a swirly chair. He turned away from us to the window, and in what seemed like a matter of seconds he had like the first two lines – “That’s Billy. He was going to be a big-time quarterback. Hit a patch of ice on his bike one night and that was the end of all that.” And we were like, “Okay, sweet, let’s really dive into the characters.” That set the mood and the tone for the rest of the song, and I think we were done in about an hour, maybe a little bit more than that, but we had so much fun writing it and just being super inclusive to just like all kinds of kinds. Everybody’s got their baggage. And I hung on to the song for a little while. I think I had it for about a year before actually recording it and deciding that it was going to be one of the songs on the album, so. It’s definitely much more country than the rest of the album, which I first was worried about, but then I ended up really loving that about it. It stands on its own on the album, which is so cool. So that’s how “Damaged Goods” came to be.
GC: My next question is about the music video. It’s so cool, and I’m so glad we get to exclusively premiere it! I absolutely love the concept. How did your team work together to come up with this?
S: Yeah, so weirdly enough, my manager and I were talking a bit about it. It’s like, you know, we knew we were shooting a music video for it. A lot of people were asking for it on TikTok. My biggest thing with this song was that I wanted there to be a bit of humor aspect to the video. Something a little tongue in cheek. Whenever I played at The Listening Room or some sort of writer’s round, people get a good chuckle out of it. So when it came to the video, I wanted to really like to emphasize that. He was like it’d be kind of cool to do this like “documentary style,” like Parks and Rec, and I love The Office and immediately chimed in with that reference. It just feels like we’re welcoming the camera crew into the bar to like meet our small town and all the characters that live here. And we shot it at Bobby’s Idle Hour in Nashville. I think that’s the best place to do because it does feel like such a small-town bar. I’m from a tiny town of 1000 people, so I really wanted it to feel like my small-town bar. They were so good to us at Bobby’s. And..we drank way too much beer. It was a really fun video shoot. Everybody ended up kind of drunk by the end of it (laughs).
GC: I mean, I think those are kind of the best, right?
S: We had a 9 AM start and we were feeding everybody beer and they’re like, well we might as well start now, even though it’s a Monday morning. We went and got Jack Brown’s burgers after because we were all FEELING it.
GC: So obviously some of this video is a nod to the Office Parks and Rec. If you could choose one of those characters that you identify most with, who would it be?
S: I mean, I just love Michael because of the offside comments and everything about him is just hilarious. I don’t know if I identify with him the most, just think he’s definitely my favorite character, just with how hilarious he is. So I’m gonna go with Michael.
GC: Love that. Yes, I’m with you. Michael is also my favorite, so I had to ask.
S: That’s who I mostly look forward to watching, you know?
GC: Absolutely, absolutely.
S: Jim’s hilarious too because I feel like maybe that’s what I’d identify the most with personality-wise, like the sarcasm and the chill, roll my eyes kind of person. So I think that’s who I would identify with. But I love Michael.
GC: I did want to talk about The Listening Room. We love The Listening Room and Song Suffragettes. What is your favorite thing about being a part of that?
S: I just think it’s such a great community of strong females who just get it and they understand that like there’s room for everybody and they’re creating a platform that emphasizes that there there isn’t just a small space for female artists. There’s a large space where everybody’s voices can be heard. I love that about them. I had my debut in July and I’m playing another one on October 2nd!
GC: I wanted to talk about “Broke to Brand New” which became your first Top 40 single, which is incredible. How did that feel for you?
S: When I was in the moment when all that was happening, it was really like, “Is this actually happening to me?” It was very crazy. And then it also came with like a lot of pressure to like now we need to follow this up. I mean how are we gonna do that, right? So especially as an independent artist like last year all year spent you know being independent and then most of this year independent. So it’s just now finding ways to keep that momentum going. It brought The Washboard Union tour. It brought being a part of Top of the Country with SiriusXM and the Canadian Country Music Association. So it definitely brought so many great things into my life. So I’m so grateful and it’s still one of my favorite songs to play out. Like I just, love that song. It’s kind of like my song, baby, you know?
GC: How has the support of your Canadian fans helped your career in Nashville?
S: Yeah, I think like building that foundation there was really important. But then I also think that there’s like there’s sort of this window for Canadian artists to like. Yeah, start building in Canada, but then also make the switch over to Nashville and it does not feel like you’re abandoning your Canadian fan base. And then still, you know going back a lot to like play the shows and be at the Canadian Country Music Awards. It’s just a matter of like finding that balance, I think, between like making sure I’m still going back home to play shows but then also keeping my feet in here because you know, altogether I I want to have a worldwide career. I don’t just want to be a Canadian artist. I want more than just Canada to hear what I have to say. So it’s it’s a fine balance. But Canada is my foundation. It is what’s made me the artist that I am. So I’m so grateful to my Canadian fans, Canadian radio, and everybody who’s helped me thread the needle so far from Canada.