Singer-songwriter Sharon West, affectionately known as “Shaz” by her friends, creates songs from personal experiences, connecting the Yorkshire, England-based music artist with live audiences, new listeners and loyal fans. Influenced by the sounds of the 1980s, West’s forthcoming debut album, nearing completion, is tentatively set for release this summer. The lead single from the collection, “Blindsided,” is available now. SW enthusiasts can look for a new track in June. But this is just the beginning of the story.
Interview with Sharon West
Musicinterviewmagazine.com’s Midnight Furie, webcast host of The Midnight Hour radio show at Crow Zone Radio, spoke with Sharon West about the singer’s music, the upcoming album, Revelation, meaningful causes and much more.
May I call you Sharon, or would you prefer something else?
Hi, Sharon is fine. Depending on who I’m with, I get Shaz, Shazza, Shaznay and Snaz, so you can choose anyone of these and I’ll answer to it.
Thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions about yourself and your music.
No, thank you. I’m thrilled to be able to talk to you and share a bit of background about me and the songs I write.
I love the strength and richness of your voice. You started on the music circuit when you were 20. Did you always want to be a singer?
Thank you, that’s so kind. I don’t think that as performers we hear ourselves the same way other people do, so it’s great to hear someone else’s thoughts on how you sound. I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember and always loved it. Sadly, personal circumstances meant that I shelved it for a little while in my late teens, but I picked it up again when I was around 20. Music always has been such a huge part of my life, so I knew that I would feature in it in some way. I was the typical teenager, singing with the hairbrush in front of the mirror, imagining fame and fortune as a pop star. Things turned out slightly different. But I’ve had some wonderful experiences and have met some amazing people through my associations with music.
Did you have any voice coaching or singing lessons to achieve the amazing vocal control you have? Would you recommend vocal training to anyone just starting out?
I didn’t have singing lessons, but always wished I had. There are things I would love to be able to write and sing that I just don’t have the capacity for. In saying that, I wouldn’t have wanted my sound to be too rehearsed or technical. So, I think I would have had to have gone to someone who understood that. A lot of the people I looked at when I was considering lessons were very geared up for opera or musical theatre and a long way from what I was aiming for, which is why I didn’t really pursue the idea any further. For anyone who wants to increase their vocal range or work on controlling their breathing, then I would say it would probably be very beneficial.
Do you play a musical instrument? If not, what, if anything, would you want to play?
I don’t profess to be a musician at all. I’m astounded by some people’s ability to pick up instruments and just play. I played sax a number of years ago but wasn’t a natural at all. I gave it up when the theory side of things kicked in as the enjoyment went out of it for me. As for wanting to play something, I am a total late starter and have begun guitar lessons, more to help me with song writing than anything else. But I would love to play guitar well enough to use it on stage. I am lucky to mix in some talented circles and that I’m surrounded by some amazing musician friends. I have been really fortunate, that if I needed anything as far as recording, I have been able to call any one of my friends to help out.
Your debut album is coming out later this year. Any hints as to the title?
The album is a work in progress. I’m constantly working on the music but loving the process. I am trying to be realistic, balancing work with the studio and life in general. I think it’s looking like a late summer release. As for titles, I’ve been toying with a few names recently and at the moment Revelation is looking like a strong contender. There’s a story behind that title and I can share that with you at a later date, if it makes the cut.
Is there a reason why you’ve decided to debut your solo singing career at this particular time?
Yes. I have to be honest. I had always wanted to write my own material, but really lacked the confidence to do it. The turning point for me was when I began working with a friend’s band and I talked to him about wanting to write. He encouraged me to try and I found I had a bit of a talent for it-his words. And the rest, they say, is history. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done for myself and I wish I had done it years ago. Saying that, maybe maturity and life experience have given me more things to write about.
What causes are closest to your heart?
I have been a supporter of cancer research charities for a number of years. I lost a nephew to this awful disease several years ago and have had other family members and friends who have undergone treatment more recently, so this is never far from my mind. I’ve written a song that I want to use to raise awareness of the disease and to promote some amazing local support agencies that provide invaluable services to cancer suffers in my home town and beyond. I’ll be working on this as an aside to my album.
We seem to have gotten a little serious, so let’s lighten things up a bit. What inspirational words of wisdom would you like to share with our readers?
I would like to encourage them to follow their dreams, however big or small they may be. Life is far too short to live with regret, so I believe in living life at full throttle and getting the most you can out of every day. No one said life would be easy, or that we would get everything we want or deserve. But wouldn’t it be great to say you had an absolute ball trying to achieve those things.
It’s been an absolute pleasure to interview you, thank you. We’ll be watching for your debut album.
Thank you so much, the pleasure is all mine. I hope this interview helps your readers to connect with me and directs them to my music if they haven’t already heard it. Thank you so much for this fabulous opportunity.
Sharon West is Artist of the Month during May on The Midnight Hour at CrowZone Radio. Sharon West will chat with Midnight Furie on Fri., May 25th and maybe have a little surprise.
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