Email Interview May 2015 

 Amy Hutcheson of Resident Rock Star interviews Otep
There has been a lot of buzz in the media lately about one Otep Shamaya, a fascinating and multi-talented woman. She’s an artist, performer and writer but most of all a loving human being. Her love for art and music is just as strong as her love for humanity, animals and our planet. On the outside she comes off as a private, intimidating and mysterious person, perhaps someone you wouldn’t want to mess with in a dark alley. And when you hear about her childhood and how she grew up, you would want to fuck with her even less- but these things are just the outside. On the inside, she is a living and breathing human being, one who cares just as much about her family, friends and crew as you do about yours, and those closest to her know a totally different side of her. We sat down with this wonder woman to find out just exactly what is going on in the world of Otep.
Resident Rock Star: Hello Otep! Thank you for speaking with me today. What have you been up to lately?
Otep Shamya: I appreciate the opportunity. I just released my first book of short stories called MOVIES IN MY HEAD and just finished an audio book of one of the stories, PINEBOX JAKE. I’ve written an editorial for Penthouse Forum on the many ways gays and lesbians have helped advance civilization. I’m very proud of that piece. And I’ll be on the cover! It comes out June 6th. I’ve signed with M2P8 Management and am managed by Sid from SLIPKNOT. My guitar player, Aristotle, and I have been working on a lot of new songs preparing for a new album, preparing for the new tour, and my lawyer and I have been going through offers from a variety of record companies.
RRS: Can you tell me more about MOVIES IN MY HEAD?
Otep: It’s three separate stories that are all connected by a mysterious thread. Each takes place in a different time and era, with different characters. It’s definitely thrilling- or so I’ve been told. I’m extremely proud of this one.
RRS: What compelled you to become an activist?
Otep: I believe we all have a responsibility to take care of this lonely little planet we live on and to take care of each other in some form or another. I detest injustice in any form. And I just want to do my part.
RRS: What does “Art Saves” mean to you?
Otep: Without art, I don’t know what would’ve happened to me. I was a lonely kid, an angry kid. I used to fight a lot. And I was really, really good at it. I got into a lot of trouble. I felt like no one in the world understood me or cared what was happening to me. Art was my way to navigate through those feelings and helped me understand the world I inhabited and the world I wanted to inhabit. It definitely saved me.
RRS: Can you tell us more about this for our readers who may not be familiar?
Otep: I think everyone has a bit of an artist in them. Whether they journal, sculpt, paint, doodle, garden, build houses, etc. Art provides us a way to connect with the nucleus of our soul.
RRS: What is your favorite art medium?
Otep: That is a difficult question. It depends on the day, on my mood. Sometimes, it’s a pen and pad. Sometimes, it’s charcoal and a sketchpad, sometimes it’s live performances, sometimes it’s painting, sometimes it’s lovemaking. Ahem.
RRS: What do you listen to when you hit the gym?
Otep: I listen to whatever is playing over the speakers. I don’t really pay attention to the music. I’m focused on my form and getting the reps done right. I want to stay lean but increase my power. My personal best at deadlift is 335lbs so I think I’m doing it right. I have the best fitness guru in the world. My guitar player, Aristotle, is a beast and a genius in the gym. Not to mention a renaissance artist in his own right.
RRS: What artistically can we look forward to from you in the future?
Otep: A new album, new videos, more tours. New merch items at the only official OTEP merch store. Also a short film based on one of my poems, CRAWLING UP, directed by Aleksandra Rastovic.
RRS: I hear you are going on tour very soon, can you tell me more about that?
Otep: It’s called THE ART OF FURY tour. We are headlining. We are hitting some markets we haven’t played in a long time and we expect it to be a lot of fun. We are bringing back a few songs that we haven’t played live in a long time. I think the fans are gonna go crazy! I know we are.
RRS: I see you are playing shows right away here in Colorado on June 1st and 2nd! What can fans expect as far as the show goes for this tour?
Otep: A complete and total mutiny of the senses.
RRS: What advice would you have for aspiring artists and musicians who might look towards you for inspiration?
Otep: If you’re serious about it, Art in any form - music, painting, poems, etc., should never be just a hobby. It’s not an opportunity to get high or drunk or goof around. Creating is sacred, and should be as important as the air you breathe. For bands, in rehearsals, play like you’re playing a live show. When writing, be open to any and all genres and input. Allow art to flow freely between you and your bandmates. For writers, read more than you write and read the greats. Harlan Ellison, Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut, Gore Vidal, Stephen King, Hunter S. Thompson.
RRS: Anything else you would like to share with us?
Otep: I’m GLAAD nominated for most OUTstanding Musical Artist, I won MTV’s best music with a message award, I spoke at the Democratic National Convention in 2008 on behalf of Rock The Vote the night President Obama was inaugurated. I’ll be working with All Def Digital with new spoken word performances, I won a BAFTA award for my voice over work in PS3 game THE LAST OF US and I did voice over work in the last HOBBIT movie as an Ogre, a Berserker, a Wraith, a Goblin, a Bat, and a Mountain Troll.
RRS: That is awesome! We thank you for your time, and wish you the best of luck in all your future endeavors!
Look for Otep’s writings and more at: