Today I had the pleasure of sitting down with Dominican singer-songwriter, Sharin, who made her live debut in Los Angeles this past Tuesday.
How did this journey begin for you? Did you always know you wanted to pursue music as a career?
Music was always the plan. I didn’t take it very seriously until I was about 12, but I always sang from a young age. I started playing piano when I was 6, began writing my own songs when I was 9, and was singing in the church all the time.
When Selena died it really made me want to pursue music because it hit me so hard – she was a huge influence in my life. I started to sing a lot more in church and to sing more of my idols’ songs as practice. At school I was always doing the National Anthems and then I went to a college in Kansas on a vocal scholarship, but it wasn’t a good fit, so after a year I moved to Miami to really focus on my career in music.
In Miami I was doing it all: modeling, the Miss Universe/Miss Florida pageant, contacting label people, I became good friends with an A&R at Sony… But three months later, I was diagnosed with cancer and had to stop everything.
You’re very open with your battle with stage 4 Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma cancer. How has this experience shaped you and your music?
I don’t think a person so young who has never had any health problems would ever think they would have cancer, which for me was essentially a death sentence. I was in a really bad state because I was stubborn and didn’t want to go to the doctor. They said if I had waited another week I wouldn’t be here today. Music is what kept me going because I kept feeling like it wasn’t my time yet.
My battle with cancer has given me purpose more than anything. I think I now have a good sense of life in terms of how fragile it is, and have gained a deep understanding for people who suffer and feel alone, and feel pain. As far as music goes, when I get on that stage it’s just full passion – I just want to communicate, I want people to be moved constantly. That’s my goal.
You’ve spent time all over the country – Tampa, Boston (Berklee College of Music), Miami, and now LA – how have these experiences inspired you?
It’s amazing, I’ve always lived on the East Coast. I have a good sense of what Miami, Boston, and NYC are like. Being on the West Coast now I don’t have as many connections, so it’s super inspiring. To know the major cities in the country is an honor and a privilege. The mountains, the sunlight – California definitely inspires me.
How has the past year in LA changed your career and your outlook on your future in the music industry?
Before, I was a door away from my audience and my market, now I’m directly at the source. I’ve met so many encouraging people. It’s very young out here, and I love that. It’s very creatively driven – which is different than the East Coast. In LA you’ll run across people trying to do acting, trying to write, dance, trying to do music, it’s very creative more than anything.
What is the impact you hope to have on the music industry?
I hope to be the first female Latin voice that does really good quality pop music but plays guitar, plays piano, composes her own songs… I want to be the first Latin woman to do that in a soulful way.
What advice would you give to other people following their dreams, specifically in music?
Education is key. They need to be educated – on the business, on their craft. At the end of the day, this is a business and it’s a very serious one, and no one will take you seriously if you don’t take yourself seriously. No one has your back, only you, and knowledge is everything.
What is next for Sharin?
Eventually, I’d like to be touring internationally, to collaborate with great artists that I admire, and to start my own label. I love discovering new talent and helping them grow. I’d especially like to do that in the Dominican Republic. There’s a lot of talent out there and not enough help. I’d like to help the talent be educated and not be stuck in the old business model that can be very exploitative over there.
My immediate goal is to create a stronger internet presence and stronger fan base so I can really penetrate my market and the people that appreciate my style of music. I want to continue to make my social media presence stable and constant so people have a sense of expectancy from me.
To learn more about Sharin and to hear her newly released EP “Quiero”, head to www.sharinmusic.com.
Drea Dorman is a singer-songwriter and music enthusiast living in Los Angeles, CA. Learn more about Drea and her music at www.dreaofficialmusic.com.