Updated: Jan 23
Hi Sharon, our readers would love to get to know you more. Can you tell us a little about where are you from and how did you get started in music?
I was born in Britain. My parents had immigrated their when they were young. Then they immigrated to Canada in the ’70s and while they were setting themselves up, they sent myself and siblings to Dominica West Indies, their homeland. We stayed with Grandparents for a few years before we reunited with them in Canada, then I immigrated back to Britain to pursue a career in music by the advice of a family member who saw me performing at a beauty pageant in Toronto. I had always been writing songs. I collaborated with several people, made many submissions, and went to A&R interviews and so on. I finally had a hit record with a song I wrote called Fascinating Rhythm, after a few years.
Prior to your success what did you see as a major drawback by being a new artist?
At the time I didn’t see drawbacks, but I certainly felt that I was being kicked back a few spaces after each A&R interview, until finally one of my projects was approved by Virgin Records and became a top 10 hit on the British charts and had worldwide success in the dance charts.
What is your vocal range?
I’m very comfortable in the range of Tenor, my lowest note is F# and my highest is G#
What have people who had heard your music say about your vocal style that sets you apart from another vocalist?
Once I was told that I give goosebumps, that’s my favorite. I was told my voice was angelic, but I’m far from being an angel as I’ve learned it. I’ve heard words like magnificent, amazing, and awesome, but of course there are many other artists who have been told that. My producer says what sets me apart is my dynamic range and I phrase like a horn player. I think my background of three different nationalities in my past add to the distinction of my voice. Overall, I think it’s my soul that makes me different.
As an independent artist, what are some of the challenges you face?
OMG, there has been many. The main one is getting heard. Most of the time you have to pay to get heard and even when you do, the promoter could easily take your money and give you nothing no matter how big or small they are as a company. I’ve spent big money, little money, it doesn’t matter if the promoter is not genuine. You also have promoters from different parts of the world using bots to add views/numbers on your work. If only they would work as hard as the independent artist in their own field both could get closer to their goals in the business side of things.
In my experience social media use to be great for getting your music heard but year after year the owners of these social sites put all kinds of restrictions to keep artists like myself from getting to the people. They have a name for it, but I call it Algor rhythm. I’ve learned that that is what algorithm is, a set up for the benefit of whoever sent the program. It’s certainly not been made for an independent artist to succeed, not as far as I’ve seen. I made more money from music sales in the beginning of my independent career than I do now, and I’m doing the same thing, I’m doing even more now, and my music is better. For example, I signed up to SoundCloud for direct accounting from views and I’ve never heard back from them, and I’ve got thousands of listeners there. And if I send out a personal picture on Facebook, I’ll get lots of hits, but send my music out? Algorism stops it in its tracks. That’s how it’s been for me. You put your music out, get great reviews but you can only be viewed by as many people as they decide. These are the challenges.
How would you describe your music to those who have never heard it before?
My genre is neo soul or nu soul, which to me, means a different edge off R&B, still it’s classic soul, that’s my main influence, which also includes a touch of jazz and blues. I collaborate a lot so you will find my voice on deep house and chillout beats as well.
Who are your musical influences?
Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Prince, Bob Marley, Anita Baker, Natalie Cole, Teena Marie and others. After years of listening to these artists I finally found my own voice.
How do you prepare yourself mentally for public opinion (either positive or negative) when you’re preparing for a new song release?
I don’t think like that, I just let it go and hope for the best. If the results are bad, I think, is it me? Could I have done something better musically? The answer is always no :-) I work with where I am at the time and do the very best I can with it.
What other talents do you have that your fans may not know about you?
I am writing a book called “Koob of the Songbird”. It’s based on a singer and the saga of her life as she journeys through pre-dynastic Kemet/Egypt. I’ve started an audio book of it, which you can listen to at my website sharonmusgrave.com.
How many singles/albums do you have out presently and what is your favorite album/song to date?
I have about 5 albums out independently and about the same number of singles. I can’t say that there is a favorite, I can only say that I keep getting better and better at my craft.
Tell me about you latest album/ song and what was your inspiration behind it? Is it out now and where can people buy it?
My latest project is an EP entitled “Jewelweed” The inspiration behind this is mother nature, ultimately. Jewelweed is a plant, a weed that grows abundantly in Canada, possibly all over the world. It has many healing qualities. We don’t learn certain things until we self-educate. Good old internet is full of information, that’s where I learned more about it. The project is a metaphor, it’s me, growing natural, wild, and free, ever living. It’s a compilation of four tracks, two soul tracks, one jazzy and one spoken word. I like to play with words, so I call it my HOT EP, Hotep approved, referring to Imhotep who was a Master of Medicine in history. It’s out now in most online stores for download.
What advice would you give to new artist entering the changing industry?
It is very fulfilling but it’s not easy, the only thing easy is the creating part of it. The business side of things is a challenge when you’re the artist. As I’ve mentioned there’s lots of scams, people taking your money etc. I think the best thing we can do now is help each other. Find artists in your musical genre and add them to your playlist, ask them to do the same and push that to the public, as well as your own portfolio.
You must make submissions to various magazines and radio too, there’s quite a few independent radio stations that may play your work if mainstream stations won’t. It would be good to have a team working with you if you can get anyone to help you, but most people want to get paid upfront. Unless you have sales, there’s no money to pay anyone. Banks aren’t giving out loans to singer songwriters and to have a full-time job to pay people uses up your energy etc. So, unless you have lots of money, you must do everything.
For some independents, it may be easier because their community is supportive, but if that’s not the case for you, you have to go out of your community to find an audience that accepts your work. It’s easier said than done because first you’re independent, you’re so caught up in your own day to day obstacles of registrations, mixing, mastering, artwork, video etc. Not only that, you’re an artist, you’re constantly getting ideas in your head that you want to put down. How to balance that and the business side of things can be the most challenging if you are very creative.
Secondly, you have a society that is fixed on themselves now. Everybody is a pop star. Here you are trying to get views on your music and some people are getting thousands of views just for posing. There are people out there that will get way more views than you for doing nothing and having no talent. This is how the business has changed. These are the realities I’ve had to deal with being independent. So, my advice is, be prepared for challenges :-)
EPK: Album: https://music.apple.com/ca/album/jewelweed-ep/1547852722
Record Label: https://www.zosar.com
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