Interview: Sharon Marie Cline
Q: How were you introduced to jazz and blues?
A: I grew up listening to classic music. My mother would play records all day, every day on the phonograph while we did our chores. I'd listen to Ella, Sarah, Frank Sinatra, Nancy Wilson, The Duke, and Nat "King" Cole filling the house with amazing melodies and rhythms, and I'd imagine myself singing their songs on stage while I dusted the living room or whatever my chore was that day.
Q: What made you decide to become a singer?
A: I've always loved music and performing, but I think I really caught the bug" in 6th grade when I was cast as Little Bo Peep in the school's production of Babes in Toyland." I fell in love with the magic of live performance during that three-week run and two-month rehearsal period. And it began my devotion to performing for a live audience, and all the discipline and focus that it takes to be a good, impact artist. I loved working with an ensemble, developing my character, feeling energy of the audience and sharing my gift. I still do!
Q: Who are your artistic influences and in what ways have they impacted you creatively?
A: I have a degree in music and theater so my technique and endurance and some of my ability to interpret so well came from the vast training I underwent in school, through my BFA and MFA programs, through our productions, and through the private lessons I took growing up. But my love for jazz grew from going to clubs and studying great performances of masters. I started going to jam sessions and trying my hand at some of their classic songs on the band stand with great musicians. Over time, my style started to emerge from deep within me. Later, I became more and more enamored with Brazilian music - Astrud Gilberto, Jobim, and Linz in particular. Diana Krall is another major influence; I love her simple style and how she communicates the lyric with her inflection and rhythmic phrasing.
Q: Where did you grow up and were you raised around music? Were your parents supportive of you entering the music industry?
A: Though I was born in Los Angeles, I grew up in Jacksonville Florida. My dad was an educator; in fact, he was the superintendent of the school district I attended. He taught me a lot about work ethic and the importance of education. My mother was a wonderful homemaker who nurtured my artistic nature. She enrolled me in theatre groups, took me to piano and voice lessons, made my school show costumes, encouraged me for all my auditions and all the vocal groups I joined. She listened to me rehearse every song. She was my number one cheerleader. I miss her very much, though I do feel her with me when I sing. She was my first inspiration; she was such a loving devoted being.
Q: What is it about bossa nova that appeals to you?
A: I love the undulating rhythm of bossa nova; it reminds me of floating on a wave. I love how the voice can ride over the crest of the rhythm. Bossa nova always conjures romantic dreamy imagery for me. It's sensual, sexy, and fun.
Q: What are your plans for the future in terms of a musical career?
A: I am blessed to work very steadily throughout Southern California in both the public club and corporate and private sectors, and I plan to continue with that. This year, I have a few big projects taking off. We just launched my very own music app on both Apple and Android. The app was designed specifically for me. It has my calendar, a music store, and a whole host of fun features. I think I am one of the first singers, that I know of at least, with their own music app. So we are doing a big Launch Party in Westwood, CA called a Download My App party. It will be an interactive concert; the audience can download the app, make comments on songs during the concert, make requests, take pictures, and share the experience with others. I'm very excited about it. This year we will also be debuting my third album, This Is Where I Wanna Be." It's a dreamy mood piece, lots of bossa nova and easy swing and well as some very cool contemporary arrangements. There are also two original songs on the album that I have co-written - The title track and the very saucy Sugar On My Lips." I am very proud and excited about this album. We came up with some very cool treatments and arrangements of this romantic dreamy music. So, we are planning to launch this album in late spring with several CD release parties around the country. I also hope to travel overseas this year. And then, let's just see where the music takes me!