Hilo resident Shallon Toré, a well-respected pediatrician and breathtaking gospel singer-songwriter, is coming out with her first album, Far Above, on December 5. This record features her 2019 singles, “Reveal Yourself to Me” and “Simple Faith,” both produced by Grammy award-winning sound engineer Phillip Scott in addition to her more recent singles, “I Choose” and “Glow,” produced by renowned producer, Miklos Malek, released earlier this year. Her new record also features eight additional tracks created with the help of Malek, who has worked with artists such as Ariana Grande, Jennifer Lopez, and Faith Evans. With his esteemed background in the music industry, Malek brings his pop and R&B background to the island (virtually, of course) to create a one-of-a-kind sound to pair with Toré’s gospel roots.
To celebrate the release of Far Above, Toré will be hosting a virtual album release concert on Saturday, December 5 at 5 p.m. HST. Tickets for this event can be purchased here.
BIP sat down with the singer to chat more about the new album:
How long has Far Above been in the works?
I started recording the album last fall and there have definitely been some interesting happenings along the journey. But I’m super excited to have it all come together! We had to find ways to record virtually, between Zoom and phone calls—thank God for technology to ensure that we could produce a really fantastic album.
How have you managed to balance your time between your practice and creating Far Above?
Medicine has been my passion for so many years, but in the last five years, music has become more of a passion as well. Being in a private practice definitely has consumed a lot of time as I’ve been developing my gift over the years. One of my vocal coaches said, “Honey, I don’t know how you’re gonna do it, but you’re gonna have to sing,” which helped set me on this path. I still work in the office a few days in the week and I’ve also brought on other wonderful staff members, which has allowed me to pursue singing. I said, OK Lord, you’re gonna have to provide some help to me and he did. I’m so grateful for everyone on this journey.
What does it mean to you to have your first album come to fruition, especially during a time as tumultuous and unpredictable as right now?
Since October, there have been times of major pause. We were able to do two songs and all of a sudden, PAUSE. I’ve had two fantastic producers that have helped me create the last eight songs on my album. What’s funny is I’d never even gotten to meet one of my producers, Miklos Malek, in person during this process! Based in Los Angeles, Malek has worked with artists such as Ariana Grande and Jennifer Lopez, so the similarities in sound have carried over into my music. This time has been a divine reset, as we have all been encouraged to find a way to think differently and develop our talents. I think if you embrace the slow-down, there’s still great opportunity and things that can happen in your life. And that’s the route I chose—I just made it happen! I’m grateful to God for that.
What’s your favorite song on the new album?
That’s a hard question! They all definitely reflect in my heart. I would say, initially, I wanted to name my album Reveal Yourself to Me, because God wants to reveal himself to us. God has been revealing himself to us through nature, through children, saying “I’m here!”. Every song on the album is a reflection of just that. He wants to reveal himself to each and every person on this earth. “Reveal Yourself to Me” echoes throughout the whole album. Additionally, “Far Above,” the last song I recorded for the album, is based on one of my favorite scriptures. I wanted to use this song to convey to people that the best is yet to come. God has given you a dream, and that’s the kind of God that we serve. A beautiful relationship with him is knowing that the best is yet to come.
Are the songs on this album more upbeat like the other singles you’ve released? How would you describe them?
Pop, R&B, Soul, Gospel. It’s an album that you can dance to, it makes you stop and think maybe even make you cry; it’s an album that every age group can relate to. It’s definitely a fun, exciting album.
What are your goals in the future for your music career?
It was in the last five years that I made the decision to set my voice apart. It was in the last couple of years that I started to write songs and create the melodies to go along with the lyrics. I don’t know what God has in store, but this journey has been above and beyond anything I could have imagined. You can have faith, but you have to put in the work too. I want my music to be shared and continue to bring joy around the world. I’ve seen that my music is definitely touching hearts all over the world, because I want to share the love of Jesus all over the world. From the UK, South America, and even all the way to Madagascar—it’s just mind-blowing.
Can you describe what Far Above is bringing to the gospel genre?
It’s bringing so many flavors! It’s providing avenues to meet people in a variety of different ways. I think anyone can get something out of it and that is part of what I want to do with my music. The level of music production that I have is phenomenal, too. I think that’s something powerful.