Shara Worden’s voice vibrated into our consciousness at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s opera house earlier this year when her band, My Brightest Diamond, opened for The National.
While her haunting, crystal clear voice is not yet widely known, the 33-year-old Worden continues to stretch her musical resume by working and touring with popular musicians like indie-folk rocker Sufjan Stevens and The Decemberists. She also collaborates with hip-hop artist Jedi Mind Tricks and the classical Brooklyn group Clogs (whose frontman Padma Newsome is in The National).
On April 2, the tiny, stylish songstress will headline a show at Joe’s Pub in Manhattan before she takes that unforgettable voice on a European tour to promote her sixth record — the second My Brightest Diamond album, “A Thousand Shark’s Teeth.”
Her band’s name came from Worden’s idea that a diamond symbolized “a metamorphosis of something from one state to another.” The same notion could be applied to her opera-trained voice, which ranges from piercing and distinctive like Bjork’s, openly emotional like Antony Hegarty’s, or throaty and raw like PJ Harvey’s. The music she composes is a mix of string instruments, drums and sometimes, screams.
Born in Arkansas, Worden moved around nine different states, graduated from the University of North Texas, and spent a year making music in Moscow prior to finally settling down in Brooklyn eight years ago.
“It would take a lot to get me to leave,” said Worden, who lives in Sunset Park. “I love the diversity and creativity all around me. It is something that really stimulates me and makes me want to make more art.”
In Brooklyn, Worden developed a newfound sense of community that she said has enriched her musical career. Not only does she have friends to collaborate with, she also sees and performs at shows all around her home.
“Now at least 15 people that I work with are in my neighborhood or in the surrounding neighborhoods,” she said. “It’s much more of a community atmosphere. You see people in the streets, and you are like, ‘Hey, what’s happening? What are you up to?’ ”
Worden’s love of the music scene isn’t surprising as she grew up surrounded by musicians, listening to Top 40 on her radio, and indulging in the Michael Jackson and Joan Jett records her father, a national accordion champion, would bring home from the library. Musically inspired since the age of 3, when she composed her first song using the sounds from a toy cash register, Worden was performing in community musical productions by the age of 8 as well as studying the piano.
Now, Worden’s inspiration stems from other musicians as well as art and film. “A Thousand Shark’s Teeth,” to be released in June, explores the work of German painter Anselm Kiefer and the concept of trying to reach the stars. This was also the insight behind the ladder art installation at the BAM performance in Fort Greene. Six ladders of varying sizes, made by Brooklyn artist Alex Talavera, joined Worden on the stage.
“For me, the ladder is incorporated in the journey,” said Worden. “The symbols of moving from one space to the next.”
Until her tour kicks off, Worden continues to move in Brooklyn spaces — such as Barbes and Colson’s Patisserie in Park Slope — and she gets there on her sparkly-blue, vintage bicycle.
My Brightest Diamond will perform at 9:30 pm on April 2 at Joe’s Pub (425 Lafayette St. between Astor Place and East Fourth Street in Manhattan). Tickets are $15. For information, call (212) 539-8777 or visit www.joespub.com.
©2008 Community News Group
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