Multi-talented artist, Sheléa Frazier is part of a new wave bringing R&B back to its true roots.
The up-and-coming R&B artist is quickly showing the public that R&B is still alive and thriving
Singing with a soft, sexy and sophisticated melody, Sheléa Frazier is slowly but surely rising on the scene as the next R&B star. A graduate of HBCU, Oakwood College, this would be where her journey would start with fellow alums, Take 6, who recognized her talents. Her journey would lead her down a star-studded road working with big industry giants such as Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, singer, Chant Mooré, Grammy Award-winning producer/songwriter, Tena Clark and producer/writer, Narada Michael Walden to name a few. Frazier has also lent her talents to the film, “Jumping the Broom” starring Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine, Paula Patton and Laz Alonso, and on soundtrack projects including “Hotel Rwanda,” “Akeelah and the Bee” and “Be Cool.”
The multi-talented artist also caught the ear of musical genius, Stevie Wonder, which led to her performing for the president and first lady at the White House in May 2012, honoring composers Burt Bacharach and Hal David. Her debut album, Love Fell On Me, was released last year and is getting massive airplay on both national and international radio stations. The Sentinel had the pleasure of interviewing Frazier recently to talk about her musical journey, influences and debut album.
L.A. Sentinel: When did you realize that you wanted to sing?
Sheléa Frazier: I was singing at a very young age in church. But I didn't think about making it a career until my senior year in college. I was in a girl's group and once I got a taste of being in the studio, writing and arranging, I couldn't get enough. That's when I knew I wanted this to be my career.
LAS: Who were your early inspirations in music?
SF: I grew up in a very conservative Christian family, so I listened predominantly to Gospel music like The Winans, Commissioned, and Vanessa Bell Armstrong. But Stevie Wonder and Whitney Houston, though secular, were big inspirations as well.
LAS: I understand you are a part and/or sing with your church’s praise team at Breath of Life SDA(Seventh-day Adventist) Church as well. Did you have or feel any pressure to go into gospel instead of mainstream?
SF: I love singing all genres of music. I'm confident in my relationship with God while singing secular music because it's my belief that God is love.
LAS: How would you describe your music/sound?
SF: You can hear a lot of genres within my music due to my early training and background. I bring a little soulful gospel or smooth jazz inflections to some of my vocal phrases. You can feel the classical influence in some of the piano and string arrangements. But my album as a whole is considered R&B/Pop.
LAS: What was it like to sing at the White House? Tell us about that experience.
SF: I had the amazing opportunity to sing a tribute to Burt Bacharach and the late Hal David at the White House. It was incredible to walk the halls and feel like I was in a history book! I was also able to meet and get a photo opp with First Lady Michelle and President Obama. Their energy was electric and they were overwhelmingly warm and kind. I sang “Anyone Who Had a Heart” and that performance has led to many other memorable moments for me. I sang that same song for Hal David's memorial service as well as The Songwriter's Hall of Fame Awards where he was honored.
LAS: Tell us about your debut album, Love Fell On Me. What did you want to say or convey with your debut album?
SF: I wanted to make an album that had every shade of love. The good parts. The bad parts. So whether you're madly in love, or struggling through a break up or loss, you'll find a song that you can relate to.
LAS: What is your favorite song(s) on the album? And why?
SF: It's hard to pick a favorite song, because they're all my babies. But I feel like the title track, Love Fell On Me is the song that brought me to the party. It was featured on the motion picture, Jumping the Broom and was the catalyst for me actually making an album. Plus, I never get tired of singing that song.
LAS: What artists have you collaborated with on your album? What artists do you want to collaborate with in the future?
SF: I've been blessed to have Stevie Wonder, Narada Michael Walden, and Brian McKnight featured on my debut album. In the future, I would love to collaborate with Usher or Esperanza Spalding.
LAS: Are there any special announcements, events or information you would like to share with the public and fans?
SF: My new single, I'll Never Let You Go was just added to Sirius XM radio and Music Choice! I'm also excited to be traveling overseas in the next few months. I'm performing at the International Jazz Festival in Capetown, South Africa. And I'll be performing for six weeks in Japan.
LAS: What would you like to share with someone who is trying to break into the music industry? What pearls of wisdom would you like to offer them?
SF: The music business can be very hard on your self-esteem because you face a lot of rejection. I heard someone say how you have to depersonalize rejection and that has been really helpful. That deep knowing that it's only a matter of time and opportunity before you see your dreams realized must come from within.
LAS: Where can people get ahold of Love Fell On Me?
SF: Love Fell On Me is available on iTunes or Amazon. You can also get a hard copy from www.breathofliferecords.com.
For more information, you and like and follow Sheléa on Facebook and Twitter.