The oldest of 3 sisters, Shontelle has always been an over-achiever who excelled academically while competing in several sports. However her true calling as a prolific songwriter and talented singer would draw her away from both the field and classroom and onto center stage. Shontelle’s fate seems to have predestined her to be a star. Her aunt Kim Derrick, a popular and celebrated artist in Barbados, saw her drive early on and encouraged Shontelle to pursue her dreams â€“ despite her familyâ€™s concerns that becoming a musical performer would not be the best career choice. While in high school Shontelle attended “Cadets” camp - where she served as drill sergeant over a newcomer named Rhianna. “She was a good cadet, though there was one occasion when I had to make her drop and give me ten push-ups. We laugh about it nowâ€¦I think she’s forgiven me.” Little did either of the teens know that they would remain friends and both follow the same dream of becoming international stars in the music business.
When Shontelle made the decision to attend the University of the West Indies she chose to pursue a degree in entertainment law. She has reaped the benefits of this decision to this day and credits her time studying law with opening her mind to different subjects and ultimately feeding her creative process. As Shontelle says “The next couple of years moved really fast”.Barbados-based music manager Sonia Mullins took the young writer-performer under her wing at this time , and Shontelle began to carve a reputation in the Caribbean music world by crafting songs for a number of top artists, all while attending the University.
Fast forward to 2005, and the up and coming talent scores a hit heard far beyond the Caribbean as the writer of the girl-power anthem “Roll”. Producers Evan Rogers and Carl Sturken of SRP Records, who had discovered Rihanna in Barbados and brought her to the world stage, heard the song on a Bajan radio station and felt that it had international hit potential. They sought out the writer of the song to license it for a cover version, and had a pleasant shock; “We couldnâ€™t believe that she was such a great singer and so young and beautiful, and hadnâ€™t been discovered yet” says Rogers. They signed her immediately, and spent the next six.