Sat07262014

Wedding To Remember

LAHS grad shoots for stardom with new CD

Madonna, J. Lo and Fergie, look out - there's another one-name wonder headed your way in today's pop music world: Sheida.

The 1999 Los Altos High School graduate, otherwise known as Sheida Ansari, has just released her first CD, "Nine Lives." It's an eclectic tour-de-force for the 25-year-old, would-be pop diva who tried out for "American Idol" last year. The CD features urban beats, Sheida's strong, multitracked vocals all over the place, some rock guitar and even a touch of Middle-Eastern influence.

"I wanted to do everything," said Sheida, who writes most of her material. "Each song is different from the other."

For "Nine Lives," the Los Altos native worked with producer Robert Berry, a South Bay legend who has produced and performed for more than 25 years out of his Campbell-based Soundtek Studios. Berry worked out guitar and keyboard arrangements to craft intriguing, if somewhat derivative, sounds.

The first track, "Thinkin' 'Bout You Baby," with its stuttering vocal mix, recalls Britney Spears in her prime. The title track is the catchiest thing on the CD, a blazing rocker that sounds like Kelly Clarkson's follow-up to "Since U Been Gone."

Sheida's rich voice is all the more amazing considering her recent recovery from throat surgery with the prospect of never singing again. The former soprano, who toured with Los Altos High's Main Street Singers, strained her voice after trying to sing in a style outside her own natural ability.

With the Main Street Singers, Sheida toured Germany, France, Singapore and Malaysia. Although the classical singing of the Main Street Singers is a far cry from what she's doing now, Sheida said she still enjoys singing opera. Such vocals are apparent at the beginning of one track on her new CD.

Now that "Nine Lives" is finished, Sheida's next steps are finding a manager and getting a band together for live performances. She hopes to begin performing by the end of the summer.

Her cheerful personality and free spirit, accented with red, white and blue streaks in her black hair, seem to belie her awareness of the realities of the pop music industry. For every performer who finds any degree of success, there are thousands who are never heard from.

"This business is so dirty and so hard - it's all about keeping your head up," she said.

Still, this is a business she is compelled to do - Sheida seems to live for music.

"I can't sit in an office - I'm too ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)," she said, laughing.

For more on Sheida, visit www.sheidamusic.com.

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