Hey hey 311 nation! I’m here to get you through another Monday with the latest fan spotlight! Put some papers in front of you on your desk and make it look to your boss like you’re entering stuff in the system, then read on about Ms. Shaden “like Aladdin” Zakour!
Shaden told me people often think her name is pronounced “Shade-in” when reading it on Facebook or various other ways, because people see the word shade in it. So to help people remember how to say her name, she says she’s Shaden like Aladdin! Got it? So now you know how to say her name in your head as you read on! 🙂
Shaden stumbled upon 311 because she listened to a variety of music and just came across the band one day back in high school. She credits her best friend Poochie (shout out to Ian Camhi!) for really developing her as the fan she is today. When she first met Ian she owned the blue album, and found out Ian was a 311 fan because his license plate at the time was 311MUSIC. It was there that her love for the band began to blossom and grow to be what it is now. While Shaden has no clue how many shows she’s attended, she mentioned that her and Ian once hit six shows in one summer. “We followed them around for as many shows as we could afford. NY/NJ are givens every year, then we did Philly, Boston and SPAC, where I forgot my awesome keen sandals in the grassy lot, and drove away! I’ll never forget that one hehehe!”
Shaden says it is hard to pinpoint her favorite show because in her words, “I love them all! You get this overjoyed excited feeling every time with the energy from the crowd and the surprise of what songs they’ll play that night.” However, if she had to choose just one, she said it would hands down be the beach show from the second cruise. “It was just EPIC in ALL dimensions! 311 live in the Sun on a BEACH on a private Island surrounded by the coolest fans ever! What more could anyone ask for? Oh yeah, and don’t forget about the carnival beer slaves chasing us with buckets of beer, you couldn’t get enough!”
One song that Shaden loves, and I find it is the one song that seems to have resonated strongly with many fans, is “Beyond the Gray Sky.” Shaden has lost some close friends and this song always makes her think of them. “It’s a very sad and touching song that hits the heart. I think everyone who was on that first cruise will always remember that show on the lido deck. It was purely magical, I just got chills writing about it!!” She also loves “Rub-a-Dub” and says it is her all time favorite because the melody is very happy and it always cheers her up when listening to it! Some lyrics that mean the most to her though come from “Can’t Fade Me”: “Massive yang and yin, on this earth we spin, and sometimes I gotta center, find out who I am. I chill out, I let in the wind, I gotta feel the force of the planet on my skin. I got news for ya, it ain’t nothing’ nice, we all got demons, we all got a vice. The struggle never ends, to keep it in check, but I never stop trying to make the trek what up!”
Shaden is a Queens, N.Y. native – born and raised! She says that many people think she has a New York accent, but she is unaware of it. “I definitely do not speak with the typical New Yawk accent like saying cawfee (coffee) and chawclate (chocolate).” Her dad worked for the United Nations so she was lucky enough to attend the United Nations International School growing up. It was there she met her first best friend Ansaa who was from Ghana. Ansaa ended up passing away when she was 13 from a brain tumor. Shaden says Ansaa is one of the people that the song BTGS reminds her of. Shaden is a self-proclaimed mutt – her parents are both foreigners. Her mother was born and raised in Leeds, England, but she is 100% Irish, and her father is 100% Syrian. It’s the Syrian side of her heritage where her name comes from. It means when a fawn has her independence to leave its mother. Shaden also has a sister and is a proud auntie! She would love to move to the west coast and feels something out there is calling her, but understandably she is hesitant to leave her family because she is so close to them.
Shaden went through a rough time when she was just getting ready to begin college and she ended up being diagnosed with Hodgkins Disease. She went through many painful tests to figure out the extent of how badly the cancer was impacting her. She also ended up going through six months of chemo therapy. She said she really missed her hair and body during that time. While many people think that you would lose weight having Cancer, Shaden said she actually gained weight. Shaden is a fighter though, and she is proud to say that she is approaching her 18 year mark of being in remission! “Many people ask me, how did you survive? I tell them that it’s all in the mind. I told myself that I was going to get treatment, get better and go to college, and I did. Mind over Matter is so TRUE!”
Shaden currently works for the United Nations, following in her fathers footsteps. She has been there for over ten years and has been in many different positions. Right now she has applied and interviewed for a position that would give her a raise and be a permanent role, as opposed to the temporary roles she has been filling in her time there. She said if she wasn’t working at the U.N., she’d like to be doing something artistic. “I really miss having the ability to create. I wish I could live on a farm and own a barn with tons of tools! I love welding, carpentry and ceramics. I also would love to work on movies/films or in theatre. It’s so much fun and total opposite of the life I feel I’m ‘stick in’… but hey, as long as I can keep on concert hopping, I’m not complaining!”
Here are some fun facts about Shaden! She has a mini cooper “ROXI” that she believes is the 311est car, at least in the state of N.Y.! It has a huge 311 decal on the driver’s side, and a Familia sticker on the other one. Plus her licence plate is 311LOVER! She lives in her own universe that has it’s own time zone called Whammer Time! Whammer is one of her old nicknames and she says she often loses track of time and ends up running late. So to this she says that Whammer Time took over! Shaden also has a unique connection with cats and believes it’s because she is part cat! She’d like to come back in her next life as one! Let’s see – she also starts talking with a British accent when she is tipsy, and can speak and write both French and Arabic! Can this girl get any more interesting?? 🙂
Shaden would like to thank 311 from the bottom of her heart, “For bringing together such an awesome vibe of people.” She mentioned that the band has stayed true to their word about making it all about unity. “Their music and lyrics bring so much joy and positivity to my life, so I would thank them from the bottom of my heart!” She also hopes to one day hear the song “Wandering Around” live and she is absolutely IN LOVE with the new album Stereolithic! “Been listening to it non-stop!”
That’s Shaden in a nutshell! She is an amazing soul and I truly hope you all get to meet her one day and give her a giant hug! I have and I’m one of the many blessed to have met her unique and caring soul! I hope you enjoyed getting to know Shaden like Aladdin better! Here is her personal message to all of you in 311 universe:
“Never give up on your hopes and dreams, only YOU can make this happen, your destiny lies in your mind and determination. GO FOR IT!! Oh and this is one of my favorites I’ll steal: Dance like no one is watching, love like you’ll never be hurt and sing like no one is listening! But most of all SMILE and enjoy your time on earth.”
Thank you Shaden again for being this weeks fan spotlight! Hope you all enjoyed the read. Until next week I leave you with one of my favorite lyrics from “Boom Shanka”: “Now I’m ready to turn the page on yesterdays and forgive them. Now I’m willing to disengage, to seize the day and move on!” Seize the day people!