Singer, songwriter, performer, recording artist — there are many pieces that make up Sharice Styles. They all come together on her debut album, appropriately titled Pieces To The Puzzle (RedSha Entertainment).
Pieces To The Puzzle features Sharice’s first single, “Pull The Plug,” produced by the multi-talented 7 Aurelius. With its infectious beats and her smoldering voice, “Pull The Plug” has introduced audiences worldwide to this hot new talent. But it’s only one facet — one piece — of the many sides of Sharice Styles.
Sharice recently took some time to discuss her music, her family and her faith: three very important pieces of a multitalented and fascinating woman.
Q: Let's talk about your new album, Pieces To The Puzzle. Why did you select this title, and what does it represent as far as your musical styles and the "pieces" that make up Sharice Styles?
A: I chose Pieces To The Puzzle because I’m made up of so many pieces. I’m part Jamaican, Italian and African American, so it’s a good metaphor for my nationality and myself, as well as my musical styles and even my clothing styles. Pieces To The Puzzle is a breakdown of all the pieces of me. Musically, I love to tap into different genres, and with this album I was able to do that. As a songwriter, I’m a storyteller, and this album as a whole tells the complete story of my life and brings forth who I am. Over the years, I have become an awesome businesswoman, an entertainer, and I have learned to take my vision and creativity and turn them into a product. With music, you have to present something to people to give them an understanding of who you are. Pieces To The Puzzle has given me the opportunity to tap into my history and give me a new lane in music.
Q: Your father, Carl Davis, has won Grammy Awards for his work with the Dixie Hummingbirds. How has he influenced you as a musician, a father and a man?
A: I’m a daddy’s girl first and a fan second. I was raised in a household with the mindset that anything is possible. My father sang for kings; he’s a musical icon. At the same time, he is so grounded that if you met him in a grocery store, you would have no clue that he has won Grammy Awards. He always taught me to remain humble and be a good person first. I was raised in the church, and to this day my father still goes to that church we grew up in. He is on a level where people can talk to him and connect with him. He showed me what I wanted to be as an adult. I think what keeps him grounded is that he’s always known the Word. There is nothing my father can’t express without reference to a Bible verse. He sang for kings, but he knows the King of Kings. My father always said, “You can’t out do God!”
Q: Which new and older artists inspire you? Are there some key albums from your past that you still reach for today? Who is in your iPod, phone, computer or stereo?
A: If I’m walking on the streets of New York, I’m listening on my iPod or Blackberry. Music inspires me in so many ways. I’m still very much tapped into Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On album. It speaks such truth, especially now. That album always spoke to my soul. When I was a child I had posters of Michael Jackson all over my walls. I have all of his albums, and Off The Wall is my favorite. It takes you on a musical journey, and that’s what I want to do with my music. My dream was always to do a song with Michael, and I was in such shock when he passed away. I had been a fan of his my whole life. Today’s music — I love Trey Songz. He’s awesome. He’s done a great job of evolving in front of us as his own person and artist, and I’m excited to see what he will continue to do. I would love for Lady Gaga to produce something for me. She’s such a talent and I love her vision.
Q: As you worked your way up the music industry ladder, you had the good fortune of being mentored by some of the biggest names, including Jam Master Jay and DMX. What were the most valuable lessons you learned from them?
A: DMX and I are both from Yonkers. We lived close to each other and knew each other. During the time we worked on music together, one night we were in the studio and he said, “Promise me that you’ll never sell your soul. Always remain yourself.” He was there when people in the industry were trying to shape and mold me. People want you to let go of your pieces, but he told me, “Never lose sight of your vision.” Once again, it’s about those pieces.
Working with Jay was amazing. I grew up listening to Run DMC, so to work with him was such an opportunity. He taught me that this is business: When you’re in the studio, you’re there to work. It was clock-in time and Jay did not play. I learned that this is bigger than what’s in your head. Someone had to show me that this is a business, and Jay did that. You can see it in every artist he had a hand in. Look at 50 Cent: he’s such a businessman. Jay was a great teacher.
Q: Family and faith are the most important things in your life. Part of your strong relationship with God includes feeding the hungry at your church food pantry. While this isn't directly connected to your music, it's a tremendous part of who you are, and you take time out of your hectic schedule to fulfill this duty. Can you share with our readers why this project is so important to you and why we should all take time to help others?
A: I think Russell Simmons said it best: “The road to success is in helping someone else.” You never know when you’ll fall and need help. People who look at this as, “How can I get more money?” have it all wrong. Look around at who needs help and you will find your place in this world. Working at the food pantry reminds me that I am blessed to be able to do what I do. If I can help someone find the road that lifts them up … it is so rewarding to be a part of helping someone who has lost their way. There is so much that we can learn from those people. When you put your hands to work, everything lines up for you. I try to be at the pantry as much as I can. It ties in to the Word that says treat your brother like yourself. I honor that.
Find out more about Sharice at sharicestyles.com/music.htm