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Shauntay Grant: record breaker 

The spoken word artist, musician and poet laureate releases her first CD.

Sometimes when you hear a voice, that voice sinks into your soul. That's how it is with Shauntay Grant. This Halifax performer captivates an audience the moment she starts to perform.

Grant's no stranger to the public: She's Halifax's poet laureate, had shows on CBC Radio, performed her spoken word and music at venues across the country and the world. Despite that, she's always been a little leery of being recorded. As she's said dozens of times, "I don't record." Grant's even been known to politely ask audience members to delete anything with her on their phones or cameras at a show. So, save a handful of pieces, the only way to experience that captivation was to hit up one of her live performances. That's about to change.

"I like to be able to engage with people, to have a conversation, to share," Grant says of live shows. But she was always the only spoken word artist without an album. "I guess I just got tired of people saying, 'Where's your album?'" she says, laughing. "People who come to shows are generally supportive. If they hear something they like they want to hear it again.

"It's scary," she says of recording, "but I'm never going to get over that hurdle unless I give it a try."

On February 11, 8pm at The Music Room, Grant will release her first CD. The event, wordrhythm: an evening of words & music, will also feature special guests Marinda & Solari, Verena Rizg and Marko Simmonds.

The concept of wordrhythm is to fuse poetry and music. "My spoken words are my music," she says, and the album is "a call-and-response between myself, the poet and the musicians. The music speaks." For the track "Up Home," based on her children's book, Grant recorded with her cousin, a gospel pianist from North Preston. "We really got to play around with the feel and the type of music you'd hear in the community, and play off of the mood of the text," she says. wordrhythm features nine original tracks with a variety of talented artists and HRM youth.

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