Conversation with Shara Worden
As impressive as her list of recent collaborators, Shara Worden’s voice and arresting live performances have left audiences thunderstruck from the Sydney Opera House to Lincoln Center to the House of Blues. She’s performed under the experimental-pop moniker My Brightest Diamond for the last seven years, and counts Bryce Dessner (The National), Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), David Byrne, Laurie Anderson and each of The Decemberists among friends and fans. They are just a few of the many who’ve fallen in love with Worden’s mystical voice and mythic storytelling.
Growing up outside of Detroit in a family of musical evangelists, Worden studied multiple instruments (her father is an acclaimed accordionist and mother an organist). She became equally passionate about classical and Motown, later pursuing a degree in Opera at the University of North Texas where she wrote and recorded original material for the first time. After moving to New York by way of Moscow, Worden recorded three albums before joining the ranks of Sufjan Stevens‘ Illinoisemakers.She then expanded her musical education further by studying composition under Padma Newsome (Clogs, The National), and turned out several scores for off-Broadway productions.
Worden’s artistry seems to transcend music itself. On stage she evokes as much Martha Graham as Edith Piaf, and can be found collaborating with visual artists (Matthew Ritchie) and filmmakers (Matthew Barney, Murat Eyuboglu) alike. Where worlds are colliding, there is a Shara; a zeitgeist for a growing movement of experimental musicians eager to bend the borders of artistry and genre.
Having recently moved to urban Detroit, planted a garden and given birth to a son, Worden’s latest offering, All Things Will Unwind, draws inspiration from the motor city itself. More folk inspired than much of her recent work the new album addresses the juxtaposition of life and death, class and race, pantries and politics—as heard through the mesmerizing lullaby of a new mother.