Since Blues first emerged as a music genre in the late 1800s, the torches once lit by its iconic pioneers have been passed down from generation to generation. BlackRock will be graced with the presence of one of the great current torchbearers in Shakura S’Aida, as she echoes the voices of legends before her on Friday, December 7.
S’Aida is an internationally recognized blues vocalist who rose to prominence in 2008 when she was awarded with second place honors at the International Blues Contest.
“This year is the 10th year since that journey, and that event changed my life,” she said when reminiscing on her what she considers to be the most memorable moment of her career. “It allowed me to go to France the first time, the second time, the third time, the eighth time, the 10th time; it allowed me to go to Australia. Going to the International Blues Contest completely changed my life.”
The success you see now was by no means overnight. Before having the opportunity to tour the world and take the stage with iconic artists like Jimmy Smith and Lee Oskar, S’Aida endured her fair share of trials and tribulations. In this industry, rarely does one overcome these obstacles without an anchor of a team to hold them down.
“My dad used to say ‘so when are you going to quit that job and do what you’re supposed to do,’ and I’d be like ‘and what’s that?’ and he’d say ‘music,’” she said of the positive impact her parents have had on her career. “They never discouraged me from being an artist, they just waited patiently for me to accept that as my fate. They’re always in the front row of the audience. They watch every aspect of it and have advised me along the way in ways that have allowed me to grow bigger and stronger as an artist.”
While a key aspect for success, having a strong team is only one piece of a winning formula in the music industry. The importance of confidence in oneself and one’s ability to be successful in an era riddled with oversaturation is not to be overlooked.
“It all comes down to doing what you believe and trusting your heart and not listening to other people,” she said. “I wasn’t encouraged to go down to the International Blues Contest; it wasn’t something that people thought was going to change anything. I knew it had the ability to make things a lot better than they were because nobody knew who I was before I went down there.”
Shakura, along with newly added Chuck Campbell from the Campbell Brothers, will be playing at the BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown at 8 p.m. on Friday, December 7. Adult tickets range from $25-$45. For more information or to buy tickets visit http://blackrockcenter.org or call the box office at 240-912-1058.