Following a busy breakout year in 2019 that included tons of memorable live performances, oodles of local press, and the release of the Tampons EP, Milwaukee singer, rapper, and producer Shle Berry was poised for even bigger and better things in 2020. Of course, the world had other ideas.
As was the case with countless other musicians, the COVID-19 crisis halted Berry’s artistic progress, took away opportunities to perform, and got in the way of her momentum that was at an all-time high prior to last March. Not only did the pandemic indefinitely delay and album she had in the works with frequent collaborators Yogie B & Keez, but it also took away distractions. With isolation came introspection and depression.
“This past year kicked me down pretty hard,” Berry told Milwaukee Record. “I feel like the entire year of 2020 was living through a nasty winter.”
As the unprecedented period of isolation wore on, Berry says she “went MIA” for a while, disconnected from social media, stopped making music for a few months, and started to give in to self-doubt.
“I was in a desperate place to finish something for myself. It’s easy to get caught up in the noise around you, and it’s hard to tune out at times. You sit down to write and the first thing that comes to mind is, ‘what are people gonna say?’ and I had to work really hard to not let that drown out my intentions,” Berry says. “I started making music for me. It’s always been a safe space for me to express myself and work through my emotions. I had to get back to that, back to why I started doing this in the first place.”
In mid-March of this year—coincidentally, some of the last days before spring—Berry sought to put an end to the dark, dreary winter that tested her spirit. She did so by writing to an instrumental track she had purchased from Las Vegas by way of Milwaukee producer Mike Regal (a.k.a. Regal) in 2018. After spending parts of two days in her bedroom studio last month, creativity bloomed and Berry emerged with a new song called “When The Snow Melts” and a renewed spirit to match.
“The song felt like spring. It felt like the sun after a long winter. It felt the way most Midwest kids feel when those first few 60 degree days hit,” Berry says. “It sounded like the beginning of something new. It reminded me that the snow is heavy and cold, but it always melts eventually.”
Think spring, get ready for more from Shle Berry, and listen to “When The Snow Melts” below.