About my music
I have always been drawn to emotional music, which stems from a difficult childhood growing up with an alcoholic father. Music was my comfort and my escape back then. Life is good for me now, but part of me will always be drawn to emotional music. I find comfort in it even still. Having said that, I'm not a very serious person. In fact, I can be quite the opposite. And now that I have kids of my own, I find myself drawn to music that encourages, uplifts, and comforts.
I started singing with my mom at about the age of 6. One of my favorite childhood memories is of us harmonizing together on our favorite songs. We'd sing together all the time in our apartment.
At age 12, I joined my middle school's show choir. I eventually became the choreographer for the group, as well as the concert-set and concert-program designer. During my last year of middle school, I successfully auditioned for the solo part for a soulful rendition of "Let There Be Peace on Earth." I got a standing ovation when I performed the song in front of an audience with the choir backing me. That experience fueled my desire to continue pursuing music.
At age 14, I was accepted into the Vocal Performance program at a renowned performing arts high school. But less than a year into my studies, I completely lost my voice when I came down with walking pneumonia. Not being able to sing, I was very unhappy at the school. Much to my vocal instructors' objections, I withdrew from the program.
During this time of transition, I would find solace in the piano rooms at the school during my lunch period. Lights off, I would sit in the darkness trying to sing, but nothing came out. Then one day, a tiny beam of light shined in the corner of the room where a piano waited patiently. I remember that moment well. I had never learned to play, but the piano and I formed strong friendship that day. I sat on the bench, put my fingers on the keys, and just started playing.
The following year, I transferred to a new high school where I served as accompanist for the school choir at district and state competition. I also received a "superior" award for my solo vocal performance at both district and state competition. My voice had returned to me at last!
I went on to study Vocal Performance at the University of South Florida, but in truth, I really didn't enjoy singing operatic arias, and that's pretty much all we did. Hungry for a creative outlet, I turned to songwriting and graphic design, eventually pursuing a career in both.
In 2002, with my husband's help, we independently recorded and released my debut album. I performed regularly at local venues, and learned to play the cello along the way. In 2006, my husband joined me on bass to record our second album, Perspectives. That album would go on to win us a Semifinalist finish in the 2007 Independent Music World Series (a DiscMakers competition), and an "Honorable Mention" in the 2007 Singer/Songwriter Awards, an international songwriting competition.
In 2007, I started a YouTube channel, which helped introduce my music to a larger audience. It also played a roll in the synchronistic formation of my band, Sheila and the TSP, with Alex Wolfe Parnes on drums, and Jim Mara on sax. Working with Alex and Jim has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my musical journey. In 2011, with a quarter-of-a million youtube views behind us, Sheila and the TSP released If These Stones Could Speak, an album we recorded live in our living room over a year-and-a-half period.
Since then, I've become a mom and my focus is primarily on my family. But I still crave a creative outlet, which is why I created Sheila.life as a means to express myself. I'm sure we'll have Sheila and the TSP reunions along the way and maybe even play a gig or two.