Sheila Shahpari
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Sheila Shahpari

St. Louis, Missouri, United States | SELF

St. Louis, Missouri, United States | SELF
Band Pop Folk


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos




"Sheila Shahpari is one of the fresher faces on the local music circuit, but you wouldn't know that if you judged by her growing fan base and her gig calendar. Her soulful lyrics and singing is stealing the hearts of many local music lovers, and her music career is starting to become almost a full-time job in it's self. Sheila took some time out of her busy schedule to dish with ToastedRav about her aspirations, inspirations and her musical background."

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"Hometown Proud - Top Ten Local Releases of 2009"

"Like a mellower Fiona Apple — or a less retro-minded Nellie McKay — Sheila Shahpari treats her first record as a C.V. of her many talents. A singer-songwriter fond of coffeehouse folk, jazzy elegance and avant-rock stylistic diversions, Shahpari never settles into one mode throughout these eleven songs. An artful string section guides "Until I Find" with occasional traces of atonality and drawn-out, resonant drones, while those same strings add pizzicato flourishes to the next song, the summery "Italian Sky." It's hard to know where Shahpari will go from here, but if What Is Real is any indication, she has no shortage of options." - Riverfront Times

"Homespun - What Is Real Review"

"Although What Is Real never settles on one style, a few elements guide most of these songs: forceful acoustic guitars, exploratory piano-playing, intuitive tempo changes and, most of all, Shahpari's strong voice. At its best, it evokes Janis Joplin, Joanna Newsom and Nellie McKay — and even though her upper-octave wanderings don't always hit the mark, her vocal control is exemplary. She can summon the low-end piano exorcisms of early Fiona Apple on a song like "Stale," which mixes jazzy swing, start-stop cabaret melodrama and urgent rock rhythms with a stream-of-consciousness tour of a grand piano's 88 keys. It's neither an artfully sewn together song-suite nor something carelessly strewn together; it's simply a tour de force that shows the singer's strengths in a four-minute tempest. The drama continues throughout the disc, culminating with the closing track "I Was Wrong," a string-and-piano ballad that shows both emotional depth and musical fearlessness. This division within her musical persona — the funky acoustic guitar strummer and the piano-pounding poet — occasionally resolves itself on a song like "Nursery Rhyme," but this tension makes Shahpari one to watch in the coming year." - Riverfront Times


"Don't expect a somber solo-acoustic affair...a rocking good time."

"If you aren't familiar with Shahpari's music, it's sort of Ani DiFranco meets Janis Joplin, if that makes any sense at all. I do know that she's self-taught on guitar, so her style is her own. And from listening to some of her new tunes on MySpace, she seems to have more than enough sass." -

"Review of live performance by Eric Ketzer"

“Sheila is not only good, she is unbelievable - and hard as hell to describe. In [a] room full of songwriters there is a definite division between singers and players…Sheila has amazing guitar chops and was completely unconventional. She reminded me of Vanessa Carlton, if Vanessa played guitar. This made more sense when I realized her primary instrument in college was the piano. Rob thought she was like Kate Bush, Bjork, and Michael Hedges… she has some great lines too: "In a world full of Shakespeares and Chaucers you're stuck with Nursery Rhymes." - Stripped Sessions


What Is Real (2009)



Recognized in her hometown as Alive Magazine’s best emerging artist of 2008, St. Louis singer-songwriter Sheila Shahpari is poised to introduce her music to the world. Welcome to What Is Real, 11 songs destined to captivate and innovate. Those looking for something new, those tied to classic roots, those who appreciate musical prowess in all its forms…this one’s for you.

Be careful lest you dismiss Sheila as just another girl with a guitar. For starters, she’s a classically trained musician, having played piano with numerous orchestras and chamber ensembles. In direct opposition to this, she’s entirely self-taught on guitar, a characteristic which would explain her unique, almost pianistic style of playing. Her vocal dexterity and perfect pitch enables her to sing quite intricate melodies. And genre-wise, Sheila effortlessly combines a number of musical styles into a sound of its own.

It’s no surprise that some of Sheila’s favorite artists come from older eras: Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, Joni Mitchell, Roberta Flack. In fact, were one hard-pressed to describe her music to the uninitiated, it would be as the marriage of traditional vocalists with innovative, contemporary sounds. Imagine a mix of Peggy Lee and Ani DiFranco vocals atop eclectic instrumentation, with classical bits sprinkled on top.

From a very early age, Sheila felt an involuntary drive to play music. Though she’s long written songs, it wasn’t until just recently that she recognized and embraced a desire to share her music with an audience. Since then, her local profile has risen sharply.

What I aim to provide is inspiring lyrics with intricate, yet accessible, melodies,” says Sheila. Writing, she strives to find the balance of following—and breaking—the rules, turning off her classically trained inclination and following the song’s natural progression. She’s always been a poet, she explains, “but I have no idea how some of the phrases actually come to fruition. I’m not a religious person, but if I were, I would definitely be inclined to think there is some spiritual process guiding me at times.”

Whether or not Sheila’s songs are a gift from on high is ultimately up to the listener. It’s best to approach her music without prejudice, letting the uniqueness of Sheila’s vocal and musical styles wash over you, pushing the boundaries while it comforts you, welcomes you. This is one new voice to keep your ears on.