Talented vocalist Shereece Storrod is a member of Europe’s finest female a cappella quintet Black Voices. Plus she’s one of our newest Achieve Your Greatness schools workshop leaders, inspiring young people through jazz and blues. We found out more about Shereece’s musical influences and dreams…
Jennie: Did you grow up with music and how did you first get involved with singing?
Shereece: Yes, I grew up singing in church. My mom was always singing, playing music in the house and rehearsing for gigs. I’d always go with her to rehearsals and try to join in with the harmonies. I sang throughout primary and secondary school. I was asked to start a choir at secondary school and also sixth form college, where I sang in various vocal groups and ensembles.
Jennie: Who have been your biggest musical influences to date and why?
Shereece: Too many to mention! Mahalia Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Nina Simone for paving the way for black women, black artists and breaking down so many barriers. Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway, Randy Crawford, Amel Larrieux and Gregory Porter for their exquisite tone and awesomeness. Linda Tilery, Sara Colman and Mark Kibble of Take 6 for being inspirational mentors throughout my musical journey so far.
Jennie: We’re delighted to have you join our Achieve Your Greatness programme as a workshop leader working with some new schools in Birmingham, how has that been for you?
Shereece: It’s been ace! I worked at Nelson Primary last summer on a Windrush project and also previously. Despite the challenges that many of the pupils face in the school and their home life, they’re so resilient. They grab these new opportunities and embrace performing arts with both hands. The support from teachers and other staff members is fantastic and makes a significant difference to our workshop outcomes.
Jennie: Why is performing as part of Black Voices important to you and what do you have planned through 2019?
Shereece: Performing in Black Voices is important to me because it’s essential to promote singing in the black oral tradition in the UK and internationally. The voice is the first instrument and singing brings people together. It’s good for your well being, mental health and it makes me so happy. I get to travel the world, meet many interesting people and have fun doing what I love. This year Black Voices are continuing work with Bruno Prédebon Productions on Black Voices The Show, which launched in November 2018 in Paris. We have lots more shows in France this year and are also hoping to bring the show to South America and the UK. We have Lichfield Festival and Dartington International Summer School in July/August and lots of other projects are in the pipeline too.
Jennie: Finally, as a songwriter are there any artists that you’d love to compose for and why?
Shereece: My specialism is top line writing. I’d love to hit a studio session with Timbaland, Dr Dre, 9th Wonder or the legend that is Quincy Jones. Ballads are my thing and I’d love to write a love song for Ella Mai, Jazmine Sullivan, Sza and the Queen Bey Beyoncé. A girl can dream!
Help us support amazing professional musician leaders to bring the power of music to even more young people in schools by becoming an Abram Wilson Foundation Trailblazer.