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HelloBeautiful.com’s “Base Level” column features the hottest new artists we’re buzzing about. Before they make it to the summit of superstardom, we spot them at base level–the beginning of their hopeful journey to the top.

The same thing that intrigued Missy Elliott, when she first saw the blue-haired Sharaya J is the same thing that draws us into the dancing pop artist. Her debut video “Banji” showcases not only her vibrant blue hair, but highlights her dance skills and funky presence! Sharaya’s intricate movements have earned her spots in artists like Alicia Keys and The Dream’s music videos.

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Missy Elliott signed Sharaya to her label The Goldmind Inc. and continues to invest in her craft, and mental! Find out why Missy is so captivated by Sharaya J, on Base Level:

Name: Sharaya J

Age: A lady never tells

Hometown: Jersey City, I’ve lived in Hawaii too.

Musical Inspirations: I like a plethora of stuff because my mom was always a huge music fan. Growing up, I listened to everything she listened to– Marvin Gaye, Sam Cook, Denise Williams. I grew up in the 90s so I was really inspired by groups like TLC, Aaliyah Salt & Pepper, Missy and Biggie, Wu-Tang and Onyx. I still love those groups too.

How’d you meet Missy? I was a dancer and Missy was always connected to the dance world. We ran into each other at a event where a couple of us dancers were getting busy on the dance floor. She asked me if I was an “artist” and I told her that I was dabbling around with it, she then offered to take me under her wing and groom and mentor me because she thought I had a superstar quality about me. Of course I accepted, I mean this was “Missy Elliott” here (LOL) and if I was gonna learn from anyone why not the best.

When did you know this is what you wanted to do? Music has always been prevalent in my life since I was a young girl. My mom is a music head so she kept me familiar with all the oldies. She listened to records that were before her time and she passed the knowledge of those records to me. My father was member of a 90’s Hip Hop group called Double XX Posse so I watched him have cyphers at the crib, go back and forth to the studio, and just be engulfed in music. I don’t think I really had a choice coming from such a musical family; but when I realized I had a love for dance it all made sense. Music was all I had ever known consciously and unconsciously. I always knew it would be apart of my life forever.

Favorite record on yours: Man, that’s a hard one… I love a lot of my records for different reasons. I love “Banji” because it my first joint out and it’s so connected with my “Banji Movement” but I can’t really choose a favorite.

What is the best piece of advice Missy Elliott gave you? During my time with Missy, she has given me so many jewels of wisdom. The ones that I’m always conscious of is humility and loyalty. She says always remain a student until you get to a place where you can teach, never take for granted anything that God gives you. She also lets me know how important it is to keep a “good name” and never allow money to guide my decisions because as long as you have a “good name” you will always get a check.

Check out her video “Banji”


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