Born in Anaheim, California on November 15, 1980, Shanell was raised in Massachusetts and is the sister of recording artist D. Woods. Her introduction to music was from her father, a solo artist signed to Soul Train creator Don Cornelius’s record label. A classically trained dancer in the disciplines of Jazz, ballet and modern dance, she began her career as a music video dancer for artist like Ciara. Dancing by day, Shanell penned songs by night to production from Atlanta producer and friend Bangladesh, garnering a name for herself as a songwriter.
As a principal dancer for Ne-Yo, who later signed her to his publishing company, Shanell headed out on tour where she continued to record and hone her writing skills, penning songs for Ne-Yo, Kelis, Danity Kane, Melanie Fiona, and Jennifer Hudson. She was introduced to Lil Wayne who offered her a slot on his Young Money Entertainment roster, creative control of her projects, and the opportunity to join him on stage during his “I Am Music Tour.” Shanell is currently on the 40 city “I Am Still Music Tour” with Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, Keri Hilson, Lloyd and Far East Movement which started in Hartford, CT July 13, 2011 and ends in Woodlands, TX September 11, 2011.