The second preview from the upcoming "Already Ready Already" features the title figure from the documentary, "Presenting Princess Shaw."
The 2016 documentary Presenting Princess Shaw (available on Netflix) tells the story of Samantha Montgomery, a New Orleans medical technician who becomes an online celebrity in part for her YouTube vlog, which documented her thoughts as she tried to start a career as an R&B singer, and because of her appearance in a video by an Israeli artist who combined in DJ fashion musical videos that he found online to create a new song from people who had never met. The movie raised interesting questions about the ethics of documentary film-making, but Shaw's charisma and heart compensated for some of the movie's fishy elements. At the time, I wrote:
Shaw’s vitality and realness make her a compelling center for the movie, and I realize that many of my impulses are to protect her or to see her treated more equally and fairly by Haar. But is that me imposing my values on her life, just as Haar did? If she’s happy, shouldn't I be happy for her? When I talked to her, I wondered why she wasn’t at least uneasy with the inequality in the treatments she and Kutiman received in the movie.
Maybe it has to do with something more basic that success, stardom or celebrity. In a scene in the movie, she’s moved to tears, and I wonder if then and now, the most important thing to Shaw was that she saw herself and saw her story. She had a dream come true, and even if she woke up from it, doesn’t that count for something? The questions Presenting Princess Shaw provokes are good ones, but we’d never hang around long enough to think about them if she wasn’t someone you root for, not because of what she does as a singer but because of who she is as a person. There are clearly points when she’s putting on or compulsively oversharing, but even in those moments she’s real.
At the end of the movie, she seemed no closer to having a sustainable career, so it was a very pleasant surprise to receive an email with a link to a song by Galactic from its upcoming album, Already Ready Already, featuring Princess Shaw on lead vocals. "Going Straight Crazy" suits her perfectly as the retro pop/soul song gives her a platform to be herself. Guitarist Jeff Raines lays in a perfectly sloppy guitar part that's in sync with her personal, expressive performance inside a song that Irma Thomas would have sang in the 1960s.
Already Ready Already is due out February 8.