It's raining in LA. A rarity. India Shawn is in town under unfortunate circumstances but she's making most of her time spent in her momentarily dreary home-city to reflect on the year's past and a propitious future. Like the weather, India is in an evanescent period too - a less cloudy place but a moment of alteration and refreshment nonetheless.

The now Atlanta-based artist is a young industry vet, having secured a name for herself as a promising songwriter who's written for Chris Brown, Keri Hilson and Diddy-Dirty Money. But this past 365 has signified a transition for India, as the soulful songbird has emerged as her own artist in a year of firsts, welcoming an acclaimed EP with James Fauntleroy, a cameo on BET's hit series The Game, a spot on Solange's Saint Heron compilation album and a tour spot opening for Raury on his sold-out Crystal Express tour. Outside of just her words, India has become a creative presence, a transition that not only propelled her career, but helped her understand the power her songs have always held.

With a new understanding of her purpose, a new project in the works and a voice like butter, India Shawn is building something special.

With a bunch of cute emojis, you tweeted right before the new year that you have a ton of things on the way. So what can you tell me about what you've got planned for this year, music-wise?

I have a ton of content on the way. I have a bunch of really amazing videos dropping and I feel like that's really what I've been lacking. That's definitely coming soon. And then music-wise, I'm just in creation mode. I'm in study mode. I'm listening to all these amazing albums that came out this year like the Sound and Color album by Alabama Shakes and Bilal's new album, In Another Life. I'm just trying to get inspiration for what the new album is going to be. I'm really just in that mode. I'm making songs and I feel like it will come together in the end.

What has that process of becoming a fan again been like for you?

I felt like it was needed, because it's become so much of an assignment. And I don't like that going into it. Like, "you have to do this right now." It takes the fun out of it. I grew up buying CDs and sitting down for hours and reading the credits and trying to figure out who the writers were and who did the vocal production and who's that singing in the background? I just wanted to get back to that place of really listening and studying and loving it. Because people would ask me what I'm listening to and I would say "me," because I wasn't taking time outside of my own things to get inspiration. It's good. I like being able to take that time off. I respect people like Adele that can take a step back to kind of refresh their ideas and get new inspirations. I'm enjoying it.

Are you usually more of a workaholic that constantly likes to put out new stuff or are you a perfectionist that paces yourself to make sure things are perfect, almost to a fault? Where do you fall between that spectrum?

It's weird, because I feel like as a person, I'm a workaholic. I'm nonstop and I don't like sitting down and taking breaks. I'm always on the go. As an artist, I'm a perfectionist. There's a weird conflict that's happening right now that, I want to release stuff but there's something on the inside that's like, no, this isn't ready. Go back to the drawing board. So, it's a little bit of a mix. They both can hurt me, but ultimately, it's going to help me to put out the best project I can put out.

For anyone that knows your story, they know you're a certified song-writing vet, having worked in the industry for the last ten years as a songwriter. But last year was a year of firsts for you as an artist. You had your first major video, you had your first touring experience with Raury, a cameo on The Game. What were the biggest lessons you learned last year that you've brought into what you're working on this year?

I think the biggest thing that came at the latter part of the year, on the tour with Raury was, it was so beautiful and mind-blowing to stand in front of all of these kids and just sing to them and have that kind of moment with them where they were willing to listen to whatever it is I had to say. I just want to say some important things knowing that I have that kind of platform so as much as I was like, this is what I want to do is travel and sing, I also wanted to come home and write some new songs. I love the Outer Limits project. It was really fun and cool but a lot of it was James. I just wanted to come home and give some more India and figure out what I want to say with my heart.

You were quoted before as saying, "realness is what resonates" with you, so playing off of your last answer, what's real about your artistry and music that you're working on now that is strictly you?

I think the message is just that - authenticity. Going back to the Origin album, it was about being yourself. And that's still the message that I'm rediscovering in my journey every step of the way, because the deeper I go, there's more people. A creative director, a stylist and there's so many different hands and so many different ideas. It's a constant reminder to just do what you feel, no matter how you feel like that's going to be received. You have to do what's in your heart to do and that's going to constantly be my message, because that's the message that I need myself. I'm empowering others with that message while I'm empowering myself with it.

In an interview recently, you had a conversation with the journalist about whether or not R&B is dead. For me, I feel like it's in a revitalized genre-blending place at the moment, and for me, it's beautiful to see that, in a time where there's so many innovative R&B artists doing their thing, that artists and female artists specifically, are making their mark without everyone comparing them so hard to the artist beside them. So what does originality in R&B mean to you in a sonic sense at the moment?

It's funny, because I feel like R&B now is what R&B was when we started to call it neo-soul. I grew up on Jill Scott, India Arie and Erykah and that whole generation of people who have taken R&B elements and done their own thing. Now, Frank, Miguel, Jhene, you name it, I'll even put myself in that category, we're doing the same thing in a different way. There's a lot of really cool music out there and I feel like we're playing with different sounds and genre-blending. I know we need labels. We need to be able to identify things, but sometimes, it's hard to label things where there's so many elements to it.

Speaking of labels, I noticed that the one word people attach to you above all others is "buttery." What a great word. R&B needs butter.

I love that. I think I'm going to change my Twitter bio to "buttery."

You've collaborated with some great artists. Your Outer Limits EP was with James Fauntleroy. What collabs do you have on your wish list for this year?

Definitely Kendrick Lamar. He's one of my favourites. I would do the Anna Wise thing for him and do some oohs and aahs for him on his next album. I just want to be attached to him in any way that I can.

Out of everything you're doing right now and the type of place you're in right now and the type of projects you have coming out, what are you most excited about at the moment?

I'm most excited about doing something really phenomenal and going beyond the outer limits and putting out the best piece of work that I can possible put out. I'm excited about having this time to top myself in every way. Top every project vocally, lyrically, sonically and put out a classic masterpiece. That's what I'm focused on right now and I'm excited about it.