The Lioness, born Shaiwna Adams on April 6, 1988 is the youngest of a large family from Minneapolis. Like many growing up in the now infamous North Side, she has worked very hard to get where she is today. Shaiwna was the first in her household to graduate from college. Following inspiration from the likes of Ms. Lauryn Hill & Queen Latifah, helped influence her artistically. Shaiwna found her musical talents when she began singing in the church choir, then expanding into poetry and spoken word, Shaiwna found herself wanting to spend more time performing for others. Local open mic’s provided an outlet for her to express her words. Her poetry then evolved into rap, introducing “The Lioness.”
Shaiwna’s first mixtape, The Most Anticipated, released in January of 2011, debuted just months after graduating from McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul. This lead to a recurring slot at the 400 Bar, every Thursday evening for the duration of the summer. The Lioness has been privileged to work alongside a host of legendary performers, such as: Toki Wright, Desdemona, Brother Ali, Atmosphere, Guante, and I Self Devine. As she became more known locally, she built relationships with top producers & winners of the, Red Bull Big Tune Beat Battle Championship, Nicademus and G Mo. Having established lasting relationships with said producers, lead to many collaborations on The Lioness’ next mixtape, Lost Tapes, released in October of 2011.
Lost Tapes was an immediate success and cemented her status as one of the top MC’s in Minneapolis. Passionate about the well being of her community, The Lioness believes it is an obligation support other beacons of positivity & truth. She has had the honor of working with community organizations such as: Occupy Homes, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, Outfront Minnesota, Safe School For All Coalition and the MN Voter ID Amendment.
Ambitious as ever, she returned to work simultaneously on her third mixtape, Queen. Followed by a collaboration project with Titan Administration Records on the release of The Cabinet compilation, both released in 2013. The Lioness still resides in North Minneapolis, and is currently working on her first full-length solo album, tentatively slotted for release in the Spring of 2016.
Additionally, she was chosen by the Twin Cities Mobile Jazz Project to be a youth instructor for it’s new after school program for the St. Paul Public School System. The new program, launching in February 2015 gives Lioness an opportunity to give back to the community that supports her creative efforts and also fits her personal mission of encouraging creativity and arts appreciation in children.