Sheila Soares is a Toronto-based singer and songwriter whose sound explores the connections between jazz, blues, soul and even folk. She makes an indelible impression with All There Is, her first collection of original material, recorded in a single day’s session with her top-notch band led by producer/guitarist Eric St-Laurent.
It’s a testament to the years of hard work in music that has led her to this point, a journey that took a dramatic turn for Soares in 2011 when she suffered a severe illness and had to step away from her career as a teacher temporarily.
She credits music for helping her get through the pain, and from there, Soares took her first tentative steps into the Toronto jazz community, which would ultimately inspire her to adopt a serious regimen of music study and practice. Songs began flowing from there, and soon she was performing with some of the most notable names within the scene.
She officially launches All There Is on February 28 with a free show at #13 At 7 Fraser Avenue in Toronto. For more info go to sheilasoaresmusic.com.
How would you describe All There Is?
This is my first album recording. I've recorded a couple of singles in the past, one of which is a winter season jazz-swing tune. This album is different in that I feel it's a much more cohesive personal expression of some universal experiences. As well, I've stretched out from the traditional jazz sound for a number of songs.
What songs on the record are you most proud of and why?
I'm proud of the title track because of the musicality of it. I feel the melody and chord changes are beautiful and interesting, and I think it's a very real song lyrically. I am also proud of “Hold On To Her” in a different way because it's simple, yet it has a great groove. In both cases, I love the work from the band because each song really is unique.
How would you describe your artistic evolution so far?
I think I'm still developing my own voice and style. Much of my musical experience was as part of a choral group, but since stepping out as a solo performer, I've learned so much about writing and performing thanks to support and being part of a wonderful community.
What's been the most significant change in your life over the past year?
I've gone through numerous personal changes in the past few years. Recording the album brings change in a way as now my artistic focus is on delivering the music out into the world and sharing it with others.
If you could fix anything about the music industry, what would it be?
Artists need to be compensated appropriately for their work. So many musicians work endlessly hard and are exceptional in their creativity. Art is so important in this world. It's how we express, experience, share and connect. It can keep us going through a challenging life. Yet it's so often devalued, and artists need to do more than barely survive.