There’s more to Shea Rose than her edgy lyrics and larger-than-life ’fro. She raps and sings with unrivaled passion and counts Nikka
Costa, Nina Simone, Bessie Smith and Terri Lyne Carrington as musical influences. Outside of the studio, Shea also uses her music for social activism by going out into the community and talking to high school kids about following their dreams and setting goals.
Her first musical memory is singing Anita Baker’s “You Bring Me Joy.”
“I was really young. My mom used to listen to the album a lot. I remember discovering that I could almost match the pitch. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I thought it was cool,” she says.
She knows what she’s doing now.
Focused and driven, Shea is working hard to solidify her position in the city’s music scene. Last month, she won the Abe Olman Scholarship for Excellence in Songwriting. Former recipients include Alice Smith and John Legend. A few years ago, Queen Latifah appointed her as one of five female MCs to lead the next generation of female rappers. She recorded a remix of Queen’s popular song “U.N.I.T.Y.” with the other winners and modeled for CoverGirl’s Queen Collection.
Lately, she’s been focusing her energy on an initiative called My Angel Wears a Fro. In the past, Shea worked with OneBrownGirl.com to help send a group of girls to Camp Caribe in Florida. She put on a concert and donated the proceeds so the girls could experience summer camp.
The name of Shea’s initiative comes from a blog post about her efforts to help the girls get to camp. This summer, she will be performing to benefit the Children’s Museum and Rosie’s Place. She will also participate in corporate diversity training in New York City as part of the Music2Life organization’s training initiative.
Soon, she’ll be heading back into the studio to record her EP Dance this Mess Around.
Shea’s empowering music and her pledge to use her talents for social change make her the ultimate rock star.
Things you might not know:
• Shea was in the all-girl band Mercy in New York City.
• She performed with Cindy Blackman and opened for Amel Larrieux — formerly of Groove Theory.
• When she’s not performing or recording, Shea can be found in Franklin Park. “They offer free tennis lessons to adults and kids at Franklin Park. I started two years ago. It’s one of my favorite things to do.”
Favorite local musicians:
• Tavonna Miller
• Grace Kelly
• Dutch ReBelle
• Shea will be opening for Nona Hendryx at Johnny D’s in Somerville, MA, on July 12, and singing with Nona at BB Kings in New York City on July 14.
• She will be headlining at Brighton Music Hall on September 8.
• Check for tour dates at www.shearose.com