Shvona Lavette is quite the hustler. The beautiful actor/artist – originally from Far Rockaway, Queens – has appeared on shows such as “NYPD Blue,” “EVE,” “Melissa and Joey” and “Brothers,” while continuing to chip away at what looks to be a budding music career. Here, Shvona talks to XXL Eye Candy about juggling her acting and music careers (including her album 3 Percent & Rising) and looking good while doing it.
What would say was your first landmark role that established you in the business?
NYPD Blue – that was something that everyone saw and respected. Being on the show at that time, I gained respect. It’s in crazy syndication, so everyone’s seeing it. That was kind of the first one.
As far as acting goes, what are you predominantly working on right now?
Right now, acting-wise, I’m auditioning a lot. I just moved management. I’m gearing up for pilot season at the top of next year. I’m writing a little bit and that’s what I’m doing. I’m writing some shorts. I’m in an Infinity commercial that’s viewing constantly. I’m also trying to get into my own stuff and create. You can’t wait for Hollywood to knock on your door.
Talk to us about your music career.
Music came to me. I always won local talent shows. I’m from Far Rockaway, Queens and I was the Far Rockaway P.A.L. and I always won. It started there. My grandmother bought me a Casio [keyboard] when I was 10. I started recording when I was 18 or so. I also dabbed in different styles. I was more neo-soul, then I got into more acoustic stuff and more recently with my EP, it’s more dance-based.
Who are some of your artist influences?
A lot of Freddy Jackson, Luther Vandross, Patti Labelle. James Taylor, Elton John. I’m the biggest Jay-Z fan. I used to love No Doubt, Melissa Etheridge. I had a real broad taste in music and wasn’t afraid to explore past being the girl in the hood.
Are people in the acting community surprised to learn that you also record music?
People that know me and didn’t know that are kind of like, ‘What? I didn’t know that you make music!’ People that are just meeting me are like, ‘Great! Where can I hear some stuff?’ It’s always very well received. There’s never a sense of judgment.
Are you single?
No, I’m not single. I have a situation. [Laughs].
Well, what qualities do you like a man to have?
Strength, honesty, a guy who makes me laugh, music lover, nice teeth and great kicks. They got to be fresh, clean, laces can’t be tight.
“Last Call remix” music video