Schenay Mosley
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Schenay Mosley

Dayton, OH | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | SELF

Dayton, OH | SELF
Established on Jan, 2015
Solo Alternative Neo Soul





Imagine standing on the Roosevelt station platform, waiting for the L, mindlessly watching passersby below go about their day in the South Loop. Express train after express train blows by, the screeching whistle taunting you, and you buckle down for another seven-minute wait for the next Orange Line to pull up. Maybe in the background some old man, who looks like he’s done some living, surreptitiously advertises his individual cigarettes for sale. “Loose squares,” he calls them.
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On this platform, you watch the sunset. The day is ending, the night is just beginning, and you pull your light jacket closer to your body, a habit the Windy City has so deeply ingrained in your psyche despite the late-August warmth. Now imagine, while this typical scene unfolds without you giving it a second thought, you hear a soulful but guttural voice crooning in your ear. The voice overlays a soul/funk melody that eventually leads into a saxophone solo, making the view of the sun setting over the Loop that much more appealing. There’s nothing more Chicago than listening to jazz and blues while waiting for the L.

The song is “Monk’s Joint,” written and performed by Highness, a Chicago-based music collective. This song quickly became one of my favorites off their EP “Young Taboo” as I stood waiting for the L on Monday night, making my way to the Music Garage in Union Park to interview the members of Highness. The all-female, intensely talented group is currently going through transition after transition, the biggest one being finding their footing after recently changing their name from SHE to Highness. While many of their intricately crafted tracks have heavy soul, funk, jazz and blues influences, there is no all-encompassing word to describe the five eclectic women who, in addition to playing their respective instruments, sing, rap, shout and riff on every one of their songs. I was welcomed by Ora, Loona, Red, Gem and Schenay into their rehearsal space at the Music Garage, and they helped me try to capture their essence on paper as well as listen to them jam and preview their soon-to-be-released new singles.
Q&A – CUSP Magazine & Highness
CUSP Magazine: First, can you tell us who you are as individuals?

Ora: My name is Ora. I’m originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I joined the band because me and Loona had a mutual friend, and she asked if I wanted to join the band and I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll check it out.’ They were all dope, so I stayed.

CM: Did you always know you wanted to get into music?

Ora: I kind of always was. I actually wrote my first song on piano when I was like eight. It was total crap, don’t be impressed by any means. But, I don’t know, it was never a question in my mind that this is what I want to do. It just made sense.

Loona: My name is Loona Day. I came to be a part of Highness originally when I wanted to bring a band together. I was in college, and I wanted to start my own thing. So I reached out to several different people. The idea came from when we had a conversation together, me and [Red]. We were talking with another mutual friend about coming up with a female band. So that’s where the whole female empowerment thing came from.


CM: When did you first get into music?

Loona: I started music when I was three years old. I first just started singing and humming, and then I started getting more into playing instruments. So I played violin when I was growing up. I played upright bass for a year. And I was cold. For a fifth grader, I was cold. My biggest influence growing up was Christina Aguilera.

Schenay: She’s come a long way!

Loona: My music selection has come a long way. I had that mainstream touch in there.

Red: I’m Red. I’m the drummer for Highness. I’m from St. Louis, Missouri. I started out playing drums in my family. Everyone in my family plays instruments. It’s one of those things where you can’t say you play drums in my family, because they’re gonna be on you about it. They’re gonna climb you if you’re weak. I’ve been playing the drums since I was about three. That’s what my mom says.

CM: And how did you find yourself in Highness?

Red: Highness came about, like [Loona] said, we were having a conversation with a mutual friend and he asked us what we were gonna do with the talent, and [we said] ‘Let’s start a collective. Let’s start a band.’ I wanted it to be all female simply because I’m from St. Louis, so there’s a lot of female musicians out there that are tough. They can hang with the guys. If I could see it happening at home, I could see it happening here. It was everywhere, all over. I really press the female issue.

Gem: I am Gem. I’m from St. Louis, Missouri. I [found] Highness because I’ve been friends with [Loona and Red] for a while. I started [music] in the church, I grew up a preacher’s daughter. I’m a vocalist, rapper and hypist.

Schenay: I’m Schenay. I’m from Dayton, Ohio. I started doing music in kindergarten. It was something I wanted to do. My mom bought me an electric keyboard and I was like, ‘This is pretty dope. I should get into this.’ I grew up in the church singing and doing everything that I could musically. Then I started producing at about 11 or 12, because my cousin always produced at our house in our basement since my dad has so much equipment. I would just sit and watch him. I could just express myself there besides just singing and writing and playing piano. I went to an art high school, and then came to Columbia.

CM: How did you get into Highness?

Schenay: I have a friend … and he approached me like, ‘My friend’s trying to start a band. All girls.’ And I said, ‘Oh, that’s cute! I should come through!’ I wanted to sing, but they already had four vocalists. I was like, ‘I’ll just sing later or some shit.’ But I play keys.

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CM: Going back to your cousin that you mentioned earlier, would you say you come from a musical family?

Schenay: Not super musical. My cousins rap, they produce. My aunt sings, and she’s a music director at church. I have splashes of musical influences.

CM: Can you talk about Highness as a band?

Schenay: We gotta start from the origins.

Red: We’re starting there, guys?

Schenay: [We] were called SHE. It was a last minute name. We were competing in Biggest Mouth at Columbia College. We were thinking of everything. We were just like, ‘We should just call ourselves SHE.’ We’re all women. SHE, no acronym. SHE — and it just worked.
Loona – “I guess that’s what’s cool about the Chicago live music scene. Everybody’s super talented. Every musician I know is just like — it blows my mind how creative these guys can be, and how it’s [not just] fitting in, but about being the coldest musician.”
CM: So how is Highness different than SHE?

Loona: Highness kind of encompassed what we were trying to go for. It was more sophisticated. It was a lot more flexible as far as how we wanted to market and brand ourselves. It was really tough, because people were so used to hearing SHE. It was so catchy and commercial that when we switched over to Highness, we kind of lost that following. It’s like starting all over again. It’s good at the same time, because we’re all in different places in our lives and our careers where it allows that flexibility.

CM: So this new flexibility is something that you welcome?

Loona: Yes. Even though it’s like, when we get up there, it’s very intimate. It’s not just like a cypher. It’s a bunch of people hopping on stage. We all bring something to the table. It’s pretty solid.

Schenay: Highness is more aware, spiritually and socially. Consciously. We wanted to turn up a bit more. We didn’t wanna box ourselves into smooth jazz, r&b, girl group. We know how to get down, we knIMG_1887 copy copyow how to turn up, we know how to rock out. Highness is representing the evolution from being a girl to a woman. And maybe a woman to a goddess.

CM: What’s the difference between fans of SHE and fans of Highness?

Schenay: When we were SHE we were playing at The Shrine, so it was a bit of an older crowd. It opened it up for an older, neo-soul crowd. People were kind of used to that sound. Highness is a bit more complex.

CM: What’s it like being a band in Chicago?

Loona: It’s irritating. It’s fun and it’s irritating, because it’s overly saturated with artists. Everybody does music. There’s so many different kinds of music, and there’s a certain sound that people get used to. When they hear something they’re not used to, like live music. Because everyone’s doing DJs, nobody really does live sets. The people who do live sets, in my opinion, it’s politics. It’s like, ‘Oh, it’s so new. They got a band.’ But it’s like, people don’t get it. They don’t really get live music.

Schenay: It’s really hip-hop. It’s like two different types of Chicago scenes. You got the live band scene with all types of music, and then you have the hip-hop scene, which is very broad, and it’s mostly DJs. You incorporate DJs and branding. It’s kind of divided. Then you have the floaters in the middle who just do their own thing.

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CM: So which side is Highness on?

Loona: We fall in the middle.

CM: So you’re the floaters. Is that what makes Highness unique?

Schenay: We are the floaters.

Loona: We’re the do-it-yourself. Not just from the digital age, but we actually learned instruments. We actually studied music. We actually had to read music. It’s not just hopping on free loops and making a beat real quick.

Red: I don’t really knock that, though. To me that’s like — as a musician, just to hop on and then you play something and you fall in, that’s how I first learned how to play my instrument. I always appreciate what people come up with when that happens. I appreciate that method of delivering music. Reading music to me has always been like, I appreciate it a lot, but it’s just like this box you have to be in. It’s hard to expand from that, especially if you learn your instrument from reading music first instead of just playing what you feel.

Loona: I guess that’s what’s cool about the Chicago live music scene. Everybody’s super talented. Every musician I know is just like — it blows my mind how creative these guys can be, and how it’s [not just] fitting in, but about being the coldest musician.

CM: What are some notable venues that Highness has played?

Schenay: The Metro. The O‘My’s, that was a really fun show.

Loona: The O’My’s are incredible. Lowdown Brass Band, we had to play with them. They’re phenomenal. We got to play with phenomenal musicians.

Gem: I always liked playing at Double Door.

Loona: The Milo & Otis show was really fun. That was a weird night, because we headlined with Milo & Otis and Noname Gypsy. That was the most random show ever. It was tight, because we had went up and everybody knew about us. That was one of the first times where it was like, ‘Oh, people really mess with us. They fuck with us. We’re fuckwitable.’

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CM: Can you talk a little bit about what it’s like being in an all-female band?

Ora: It’s awesome.

Schenay: The room doesn’t get stinky when we rehearse. Boys stink. Seriously, they do.

Red: We always get asked that question. People don’t ask males what it’s like to be in an all-male band.

CM: Fair enough.

Red: To answer that question, a lot of people don’t fuck with you at first.

Ora: They underestimate you a lot. Straight up, when people see an all girls group they think you’re gonna go on stage and do jack shit. Anybody who sees us play thinks we’re a punk rock band. They think we’re gonna play three chords, maybe they got some pretty voices. … They don’t think we’re gonna do shit. That’s why you gotta come three times as hard. Because you got to prove a point that sticks.

Loona: It’s a constant double standard. It is what it is. We show up, we show out.

Red: It affected me as a drummer especially, at first. It’s a man’s world right here. So people don’t get me, or they think they do right off the bat. Don’t judge me, you know what I’m saying? Just let me play an instrument. Sometimes, it’s even hard for them to give me my props afterward. It’s just that pride thing as a male. Like, I don’t really care though. I just wanna play.

CM: Who is an artist you think deserves recognition or exposure?

Red: Via Rose. She’s an artist and a cook. She’s pretty tight. Whenever people kicking it or something, she’s always throwing down. On top of that, her art is amazing.

Loona: Daryn Alexus. She’s grown a lot. Her music is next level. Murph Watkins. He’s a rapper/lyricist. He’s dope.

CM: What is the central message of Highness?

Red: Go higher in everything you do in life. Just elevate. Don’t let anybody ever hold you down.

Highness is constantly on the cusp, putting out new work on a regular basis. You can check out Schenay Mosly’s new single “Bon Bon” and Gem’s new single “Awake” on Soundcloud. Keep up with all things Highness by visiting, liking them on Facebook or following them on Instagram. - CUSP Magazine

"Highness releases smooth new song 'Have a Nice Day'"

Highness is a five-piece, all-female band from Chicago and they just delivered a smooth new song that’s perfect for the sunny days ahead. Their new single, “Have a Nice Day,” is a ‘90s-inspired tune with soothing vocals and free-spirited lyrics.
Over warm synths and a thumping beat, the ladies sing optimistic lyrics of overcoming daily obstacles in the game of life.
“Everyday single day that I wake up / I’m trying to think of sunny things just to stay up / I pray up, I slip up, get caught down, get tripped up, gotta get up / I gotta stand out, I gotta stand up and get out,” they sing on the chorus.
The quintet, consisting of Ora Nchi, RED, Midore, Loona Dae and Gem Tree, sound great together and their overall harmonies are soothing to the ears.
“Have a Nice Day” is from Highness’ upcoming album, Young Taboo, which is due to hit stores this summer. Get involved in their day below.

Read More: Highness Release Smooth New Song 'Have a Nice Day' | - The BoomBox

"Get to Know: Female Band Highness (@YaHighness)"

Giving us their first music video, Highness have captivated all of the soul and smooth R&B you need to embrace the sunshine.

Formerly known as SHE, Highness is a five-piece, all female band from Chicago. Over the last year, they have been performing around Chicago, but with only one official release to their name: “Hush”. Following that drop, they helped us with W2NDCH2LL last summer.

Now with a new name and a determined direction, the collective have given us their newest track, complete with a visual accompanied by Julian Gilliam.

Smoke, vibe, and upgrade your spectacles game because singer Loona Dae has you beat on this one. Look out for Highness' debut EP, Young Taboo, dropping this Wednesday.

While you're at it, because you certainly need more goodness like this, feel free to stream the newest song from Highness member Schenay. The track, “Entity”, is full of strong verses and vibes from artists Sleepy Brotha, Cris Dashon, and Djedii. June is awesome. - Mishkanyc

"Music: Schenay Mosley- ENTITY"

Chicago crooner, Schenay Mosley, debut single ENTITY is LIT! The HIGHNESS group member is expected to release her debut EP by the end of 2015. Be sure to follow her on Twitter, @SchenayMosley. - Hannibal is at the Gate

"Schenay- Bon Bon"

The soul provider Schenay drops the beautiful song Bon Bon, plastered with soul & a voice elegant enough to entice the crowd. Bon Bon shows the Chicago native’s musical gift that can’t be denied. Lookout for Schenay as more releases are expected. - Records Jam


With intricate percussion, a funky bass line, and a soothing voice, Schenay delivers one of the hottest tracks this summer/fall. The Highness member released "Bon Bon' as a birthday gift to herself and the world and didn't disappoint.
In the song, Schenay talks about the freedoms of living carefree and how's there's no room for negativity in life. The singer is set to release more material showcasing her producing and writing skills. Be on the lookout for this up and coming artist. Until next time.

The Voice - AfroPunk


Bon Bon- Schenay (August 29, 2015)



Schenay Mosley’s style can be described as electronic jazz and hip-hop fused with pop, funk, and R&B, topped with classical elements. Schenay is also apart of an all female collective Highness who is also based out of Chicago, IL. 

Band Members