The Short Story
Sherdonna is an American Singer-Songwriter who integrates thought provoking lyrics with a rich, soulful, folk-gospel sound. Originally a classically trained clarinetist, Sherdonna has a broad range of musical influences. Her writing is honest and without pretending, possessing deep spiritual roots with soothing vocals and beautiful melodies and textures. Her music has been featured multiple times on Women of Substance radio and their #1 Podcast. Sherdonna lives in St. Louis with her husband and 3 sons.
The Longer Story
I am passionate about connecting with people through the gift of music and through the stories from which songs are written. One of the most powerful connections we have as people is sharing our stories. As I write music and share it with others it makes me feel human in a way that nothing else does.
As long as I can remember music has been part of my life. When I was a little girl I would make up songs and stories and record them on the family’s cassette player. I remember rushing to the piano after church to play while people talked afterward. I took piano lessons but wasn’t very good at practicing.
In 5th grade my mom signed me up for band, and I chose to play the clarinet. In high school I joined marching band. In 9th grade a friend of mine convinced me to take private lessons. I worked that year to take my first audition for the Georgia All State Band. I got 2nd chair and was excited and shocked.
I think I may have been in 11th grade when my parents could not afford private lessons anymore. After telling my teacher we were going to have to stop, she said she wanted to teach me anyway even though we could not pay her. I don’t remember if we ever paid her again, but she taught me all through high school, helped me win a seat in the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra, and prepared me to audition for college. I received a full music scholarship to a college near my home, Clayton State University, studied with Ted Gurch of the Atlanta Symphony, played in many recitals at Spivey Hall, and received a music performance degree, debt-free.
During college a friend of mine visited me one weekend and told me she felt like she was to give me her guitar. I was stunned. I desired to play but did not have the money to buy one. Using the musical foundation established through classical music, I started to learn on my own. I would read chord books, but mostly I would watch people as they played and learn from what I saw and heard. It was with that guitar that I began writing songs and finding my voice as a singer-songwriter. To this day, I am still trying to find my voice.
I reached a time in life after college when the music died. I’m not exactly sure why. There were multiple life experiences that could have led to that, but for 10 years I felt forgotten and put on a shelf. I wondered and questioned if I would ever do music again. I did write songs during that time, but they stayed in a notebook and I never sang them publicly. I did not realize at the time that those songs would become my first album, “Ordinary Realities”, which was released in 2012.
Since then I have continued writing and performing and feel strongly I am to move forward as a creative person in the midst of an ordinary life.
Some of my greatest joys are spending time with my husband, Todd, laughing with our 3 sons, smelling coffee brewing before I get out of bed, playing a concert in someone’s home, spending time with friends who really know me, playing an open mic and meeting new people, and finishing a musical project and being satisfied with it.