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Conversations with the Inspiring Sharon Youngblood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sharon Youngblood.

Sharon, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was born in San Diego, CA and lived there until I finished middle school at “SCPA” Performing Arts. I’ve always loved the arts in all its forms, I just never thought I would pursue a career as an artist, like ever, lol. Singing was definitely never a thought for me as far as pursuing it full-time as a career. I didn’t even know I could sing like that. It wasn’t until I met a woman named Cecelia Memede who at the time was my choir teacher, and she changed my life!! She not only looked past my EXTREME shyness and noticed my gift, but she took the time to cultivate it. And I 100% wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for her. I’m completely shocked that I could sing, my family was probably even more shocked that I was, lol. It wasn’t until she gave me a solo at a school concert where my mother was like “Oh, wait, you were for real when you said she could sing! Lol.” And the rest is kind of history, my family was already in the music business, on the management and artist development side so they just went full steam ahead and started pushing my career and moved the whole family to Los Angeles.

Has it been a smooth road?
It definitely hasn’t been a smooth road!! Lol. I’ve had to face a lot of obstacles in this industry. A lot of it was around body image for me. I use to be 315 pounds and that was tough for someone like me in the industry where everyone around me was a size 2. And in the late 90’s when I started out, being “Plus Size” was NEVER IN. You were immediately over looked for certain things because of your size. Now, I think people are opening their mindset a bit more about body types and images and are starting to be more realistic and honest about what real woman looks like and it’s not a one size fits all. A few years ago, I did a weight loss surgery called the “Gastric Sleeve” which changed my life for the better, It was what I felt I needed to get that boost to move toward a healthier life and it’s been an amazing journey. I’ve also dealt with a lot of “Hope Deferred” moments, where you think, ok great! This is the moment where everything changes and it just doesn’t, those pills are tough to swallow. I was on a show called “Performing As” which aired on Fox Network where I performed as Aretha Franklin and I won the show and a lot of money! I had a lot of people wanting to manage and offer me deals through different labels, I mean the hype was building up, only for none of it to happen. Those moments definitely are debilitating sometimes and you feel like you want to just give up. But My faith wouldn’t allow me to do it, and its what keeps me going to this day. I’m still not where I want to be as an artist by far, but I’m grateful for the career I’ve had and will keep moving on towards my dreams until they are realized. My advice would be to constantly pay attention to the people you have around you. It’s imperative to have a tribe who can walk with you on this journey called life, it can be a make or break. Also, be grounded in something!! For me, it’s my faith in God that holds me together in this industry, but you have to have a solid foundation because it’s easy to lose yourself in the idea of what we think things should be and not accept the beauty of the journey that we are on. Be ok if it doesn’t look exactly like you thought it should because you are still on the path, you just have to stay the course.

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I am a Singer/Songwriter/Arranger. I’ve toured and sung with a really awesome amount of artists, whether it was for their records or live. Some of the artists I’ve worked with have been Dolly Parton, Mary J Blige, Lauryn Hill, Jessie J, Jennifer Lopez, Kelly Clarkson, Idina Menzel, Sam Smith and a lot more. It’s funny because I’ve never thought about what I’m known for, I guess I’m known for a lot of things depending on what circle you are in. I’ve been songwriting since I was 13 and the majority of the songs I’ve come out with have been written by me. I’ve been hired to arrange and produce vocals for albums and live performances as well which I love. I’m also a Worship Leader which a lot of people know me for. I think I’m also known for being able to translate music no matter what genre it is, and what I mean by that is, God has given me the gift to emote well, and really embody music so that it’s doing what it’s meant to do which is making people feel something on a deeper spiritual level regardless of the environment. I’m currently putting together a Class/Workshop, that’s something like “Singer’s Therapy” where I’ll be able to dig deep into the core of the artist so they are able to find their voice, their sound and learn how to translate their heart to their music so they can be really effective.

For good reason, society often focuses more on the problems rather than the opportunities that exist, because the problems need to be solved. However, we’d probably also benefit from looking for and recognizing the opportunities that women are better positioned to capitalize on. Have you discovered such opportunities?
ALL POSITIONS! Lol!, I think woman is brilliant and I believe we have an innate analytical mind that allows us to see things differently and on a more focused scale. I think naturally we have the ability to juggle a lot and so we can just do more things. I don’t think There’s a position out there that woman can’t do. I think this industry (just like most) are heavily male-dominated which I think needs to change and I think is changing slowly but surely from filmmaker, Producers, Musicians, Songwriters and more. Woman are just amazing and needed in every industry out there.

Pricing:

  • For “Singer’s Therapy” Lessons – $80 an Hour

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Dolly Parton, Mary J Blige, Ashley Washington, Linda Perry, Natasha Beddingfeild

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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