HOUSTON, TX – The first time I spoke to Uri Grey, she used her real name Shameka Dwight and talked about her debut “Lovelations” and her inspirations behind her then single “Lifeline.” Fast forward to a name change, new music and a new record on the horizon; Uri shares about the name and her revelations of identity.
Who is Uri Grey?
From the moment that I first started performing, I knew that I wanted to have a name that represented me as an artist, musician, and songwriter. It took a while to get there, but I finally understood what I wanted in life and what I wanted to represent. After coming through a lot, this was a milestone for me. While doing research I knew I wanted something that represented light, fire, and goodness. I was looking for a name and came across the word “Uri” (pronounced oori). It’s Hebrew origin meaning light. Grey isn’t that deep, it is just one of my favorite colors. So I put it together. I sat with it for a little while then tested it out with a few people. It wasn’t as easy as it seemed because I had to get to a certain place within myself before I could take ownership of it.
Tell me about “If I Don’t Have Love”
I wrote this song during a moment when our country was and currently is experiencing a lot of social issues. I became more aware of my heart posture and decided to write about it. We continue to argue over who’s wrong or right without regard for those who are suffering. I just had a moment when I thought “at the end of it all, does it really matter?” If I don’t have love than it amounts to nothing. I wrote it out of that moment. I mean we’re still in it now. I just needed to write a song about being more conscious or aware of those around you, and living in love. At the end of the day, love remains.
What would you say that “If I Don’t Have Love” would be the B-Side to “Lifeline.”
Yeah! It’s the same message wrapped in a different way. A lot of stuff I’ve been writing lately has been interwoven into that theme.
Between our last conversation until now, I’ve been checking out your music and I feel like it has a centric theme. I want to know when I can get your album and put it on replay.
We’re still in the writing stages right now and will be heading to the studio in October/November. So look for something by the top of next year.
You’ve been in the game for at least five years. How would you encourage artists that feel like they have to rush?
I started doing this thing and didn’t understand what it took when I first started. I went through moments of discouragement along the way, I compared myself to other people, I tried to change my sound for what’s hot right now, still wasn’t being fulfilled, it’s became this cycle until I found my voice and my niche. Once I found that it just became more natural to pursue and not to overthink the process. Definitely have to keep praying. Sometimes rushing compromises the authenticity of it. Once you’re sure of what you want to say and how you want to say it, follow your own timeline. There’s definitely a window you have to make sure you don’t miss, but I think there’s a space for everybody. I think if you have something to offer the world, whenever you’re ready to put it out that’s the time for it. I believe a lot of times we rush and it’s wrong because we weren’t fully prepared for it. So, don’t feel like you’re behind; don’t feel like you have to rush something to catch up with what’s going on right now. You never know, your sound may be for the future or it may be the bridge between what’s happening now and what needs to happen in the industry. The most important thing is to be aware of who you are and what you have to offer and letting it happen naturally.
Is there anything that I should have asked that you want to share?
When you are in the rebranding phase, it’s really cool because you interact and connect with a lot of people who were not previously aware of you. So you’re able to take chances, and build the career that you want all while having random people go along for the ride because they identify. I’m excited about the changes, and although it can be confusing to those who were with me from the beginning, I just want y’all to know that God’s got me, and this journey is about to be a beautiful one.
I feel like you’ve become more comfortable in your own skin and who you are as an artist, and it’s really cool to see.
Growing up, you are a representation of who your parents wanted you to become. Then there’s a transition that happens to where you become who God created you to be. I think initially there’s a struggle between the two, but eventually you give into one or the other. I gave into the latter, and I’ve never felt better.
What would you say to people who are in that tension? How would you encourage people to find their true identity?
This is just my process. I think it’s important to first learn to appreciate the intent of your parents, or whoever raised you. Appreciate the culture for what it was and don’t become bitter. I think it’s important to expose yourself to different schools of thought and cultures. I left home, that’s when it all happened. And some may look at me like I’m crazy now, but I have so much peace. Sometimes you have to get away from the noise, and just listen to your heart and hear from God. And own it. Own your change, own your growth, own your capabilities, regardless of what you thought before, let the world know “this is who I am” and those who love you will be supportive. It’s definitely worth the risk.
Follow every thing URI GREY via her Official Website.