"It's really simple for me. My mission is community building through music" says Lady Heat, and she’s just getting started! Hailing from Ypsilanti, Michigan, the rapper/singer began studying her craft at the age of 10. "I actually come from a musical family. My dad played the tenor saxophone and guitar, and my mother played the organ at her church back in the day, but we won’t say how far back that was” Lady Heat says jokingly. “But I love music. I tried not doing any music to solely focus on school but eventually had to find a way to release my thoughts and ideas or I would implode.”
And that’s how it all began. The former Lincoln High School marching band drum major and choir member decided to start writing music of her own while attending the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI. “My older brother and sister and I recorded a bit at home when I was in middle and high school. I remember rapping in the high school talent show with my brother and his group as an 8th grader, but we never did much with the music at that time. My parents really pushed us toward education.” It wasn’t until she found herself seemingly torn between two passions as an undergraduate student, that she began to focus more on cultivating her musical gifts. “If you know me, you know that I’m medically oriented, but in a moments notice I will slay a microphone like nobody’s business. If I had to bottom line my passion it’d definitely be helping people, and I’m committed to doing that on any platform that I have whether it’s music or health.” Lady Heat speaks about her decision to pursue music. “Yeah, I was torn at one point, not sure if I had to put one down to pursue the other, but not anymore. From my viewpoint music is a healer. It helped me through some of the toughest times of my life. So in that aspect they’re one in the same to me, medicine and music go hand in hand. I could get down to the biology of it all but I’ll just leave it there, wouldn’t want to confuse your brain cells or anything, haha.”
When asked what is one thing that people should know about Lady Heat, she replied: “One thing to know about Lady Heat… hmm, I’d say that people should know that my musical style is un-boxable. You can’t box me in. The moment you think I’m going left, I take a sharp turn right… nah diagonally.” And she is un-boxable indeed! Some would call her a Jill of all trades with all that she’s done in the past – acting, modeling, rapping, songwriting, music production, audio engineering, sewing, and training and directing choirs to name a few – but now she says it’s time to focus. “Now that I have a clear vision of what I want to do and how my passions align, I’m just running with it and enjoying the process. It has definitely taken some trial and error to get to this point, but I’m grateful for all of my experiences, and also to my pastor and first lady for their spiritual guidance and all that they’ve poured into me. Without them, God and my natural parents of course, I wouldn’t be who I am today.” The pastor and first lady she speaks of are Pastor Don W. Shelby and Evangelist Bonita A. Shelby of Burning Bush International Ministries in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
Currently, Heat is focusing on building her educational non-profit corporation The Poppin’ College Tour, Inc., which is a music-infused, informative college tour and future planning event for disadvantaged and at-risk youth. “That’s my heart right there. Really, kids these days, you know, the ones that don’t have the grades to go to a 4-year college outright, they’re not dumb or stupid, they’re just uninspired. It could be for a number of reasons- the school system they went through was sub-par, no individualized attention in classes, things going on at home, internal conflict, whatever – but my goal with the program is to expose them to the numerous possibilities that exist for their future, and hopefully inspire them to pursue that future with a passion! My team and I also equip them with practical life skills during the event to help them when they face challenges in life, and help them to make a concrete plan to reach their vision of success. Check out the website if you want to know more, it’s poppincollegetour.com.”
When asked ‘What’s next for Lady Heat?’ this is what she had to say: “Well, I’m working on some new material right now. I can’t tell you too much, but just know that more is coming. I’m hoping that I can shock the world like Lauryn Hill did with her debut album, but we’ll see. I didn’t know how much of a shock it was back then since I was young at the time, but now I see that she really reached some heights with the miseducation album. I think it was because the content was undeniable and it’s still relevant today… AND she was a teenager when it all dropped! Crazy! Much respect to her and all of my other inspirations; Missy, Queen Bey, Nipsey, Kendrick, Nas, Pac, Big and even Foxy. But yeah, stick with me because more is coming. I'll leave it at that."