Born: March 26 Primary Instrument: Vocalist
There is a noticeable shift in the room when Shea begins to sing. Whether it is her rich voice, her compelling presence or her obvious devotion to the music, it is crystal clear that you are in for something special. Shea's love of jazz was born many years ago, while listening to her father's albums - Chris Conner, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles and many others. She also became deeply enamored of the Motown sound - particularly the harmony groups. While in school, Shea studied music, and sang in an a capella septet, as well as appearing in musicals, such as Guys and Dolls and Godspell. Her love of music continued through college where she sang in an alternative rock band. After they split, she began singing jazz in nightclubs around Los Angeles. She joined the Little Big Band, singing swing hits and harmonizing with two other singers, fleshing out a ten piece band. Shea was also involved in studio vocal work - singing on commercial specs, trance and trip hop projects, as well as children's albums. These varying influences of rock, jazz, swing, and more coalesced into a versatile quality in Shea's voice, presentation and also her songwriting skills. Shea relocated to the Bay Area to record an EP of original songs with Grammy Award winning producer, Michael Rosen. These songs went on to be featured on MTV's Road Rules - creating a soft spot in Shea's heart for the beloved royalty check! With a move up to Sonoma County, Shea has found a fantastic musical community. After appearing in the Healdsburg Jazz Festival, she came to know its Artistic Director, Jessica Felix. Jessica's deep reach into the varying echelons of jazz musicians, both locally and nationally, have led Shea into some wonderful musical relationships. With Jessica's introduction to pianist Noam Lemish, Shea was inspired to her 2006 release, 'Piece of the Light, a full-length album of mostly original songs, with a few cover versions thrown into the mix. Titled, Piece of the Light' this album featured the legendary Robben Ford on guitar, as well as excellent jazz musicians such as Noam Lemish, David Ewell, Bill Ortiz and Alex Aspinall. Piece of the Light was arranged by Shea and co-produced with Oz Fritz, known for his work on Tom Waits' Grammy Award winning Mule Variations. The Healdsburg Jazz Festival again exerted its influence with Jessica Felix's orchestration of another kind. How's about a jazz recording with some internationally renowned musicians who would be in town for their performance at the Festival? Now, with the release of Shea's new album, appropriately titled, A Blind Date, her embrace of the traditional jazz genre is true. Featuring the mighty work of George Cables on piano, Cecil McBee on bass, Billy Hart on drums, Craig Handy on sax and flute, and David Weiss on trumpet, A Blind Date is a raw, diverse romp through standards and then some. Shea contributed an original piece called, Dark Matters which lends a haunting, middle-eastern feel to the album. Produced by David Weiss and engineered by Oz Fritz, A Blind Date is packed to the gills with electrifying performance from all the musicians. A true jazz lover's gem, this work goes beyond that of the typical jazz singer. Working with such fine musicians has whetted Shea's appetite for even deeper musical exploration. To jazz or not to jazz, there is no question! - Louis Armstrong
Awards:2007 West Coast Songwriters Award - Honorable Mention - Jazz Category
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Willing to teach:
Shea helps students to find their optimal sound via placement and experimental sound production. By applying the optimal sound to any song, riff, or solo - a singer can then begin to realize her own particular identity. Shea has studied with Jane Peterson of the Boston Metropolitan Opera, G.G. Prosper in Los Angeles, and Raz Kennedy (Bobby McFerrin's Voicestra) in San Francisco. She currently works with students in the Sonoma County area in California.