IT'S rare to have music that's consistently upbeat. But in her latest album Second City, Perth artist Shameem is trying her best.
The singer-songwriter, full name Shameem Taheri-Lee, has had her soulful tracks compared to the likes of Alicia Keys. Since her latest record was released in January, she's had scores of similarly positive feedback.
Shameem named the album after a favourite Persian poem of hers, The Seven Cities.
"It's like a big analogy of the journey of the soul to its ultimate goal," she says.
"It describes traversing seven stages or seven values, also known as seven cities. I have a song on the album that describes the second of these cities, because I find that one particularly interesting."
Deeper meaning is something she strives for in all of her music, particularly to spread positive messages and ideas, like in her song Under One Sun which promotes equality.
"That's kind of my mission as a songwriter and artist," Shameem says. "Even to the point where if a song is really not-positive, I think 'well does this belong on the album'. There's a couple of instances where there was a sad or a very angry song, and I've decided to include it, but it's because I want to include it in the journey of the kind of messages I'm trying to promote."
She would like to see more artists follow her lead, after glowing reviews of her music on social media show people are receptive to positive pop.
"The music that I listen to, the music we all listen to, hardly any of it is socially conscious," Shameem says.
"It's all about your first date or meeting someone at the bar or how good it feels to be drunk. Often what you absorb is what you reproduce, so it's much easier to reproduce that sort of thing but it's hard to do something different.
"I think people want meaning in their lives, and when they hear things that are meaningful, they're attracted to it. I'm not the only artist doing this, there are others and I love what they're doing."
Newcastle is one of the only places Shameem is playing two shows, one after the other, after venues lined up to get her for gigs. As an independent artist, she has planned and organised the tour on her own, and the Hunter was particularly receptive of her music.
"It just works out that Newcastle people are awesome," Shameem says.
"I was particularly keen on getting a show at The Lass, and they were keen to have me, which is great.
After her shows in town, she has a busy year sketched out planning for a tour of Asia in 2016, going through China, Singapore and Indonesia. Then, she's due back in the studio for her next album.
Shameem plays at The Lass O’Gowrie on February 22 and Bar On The Hill on February 23.