Getting online funding/help for an event, medical assistance, education, non-profits and so on has become quite popular in the last few years. Crowdfunding sites like Indiegogo.com and GoFundMe.com make it easy to ‘launch campaigns to bring products to life and make the impossible happen every day’.
The creators behind the documentary film “The Root Cause” has launched campaigns on both sites to gather financial support in making the film.
The film deals with the relationship between Black women (including women of mixed races) and their hair, and hopes to portray the deep emotional ties (struggles, acceptance etc.) that exist, as well as to educate and bring enlightenment on the subject. This is a project that I think many women can relate to on most levels. ‘The Root Cause’ will interview women around the globe (Bahamas, select US cities & Canada) and we will also be creating a forum online for submissions.
We are seeking funding for equipment (camera equipment, rental/purchase), to pay staff (video, editing etc), travel, insurance, post production and promotion (including funds for entries into film festival and so on).
In the past year, Khiara Sherman has dropped two hot singles that are holding their own on music charts. This former Miss Bahamas (2009-2010) and college graduate was more than happy to talk about her life and new success in the music industry since Miss Bahamas Universe.
Khiara, who says music ‘has always been her first love’, gives us a quick update on some life events. She explains, “After my reign as Miss Bahamas 2009 -2010, I relocated to Houston, Texas, USA to further my education. There I completed my Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, with a concentration in Human Resource Management and I’m currently living in Houston and pursuing my music career.”
Nu Woman was excited for the opportunity to catch up with Khiara and find out more about her new singles and her advancing music career.
Nu Woman: There has been a buzz around two singles you recently produced: ‘Fly Away With Me’ and ‘Are You The One’. Can you give us a bit more information on how they came about and the inspiration behind them?
Khiara: Within the last 2 years, I have embarked on my solo musical career where I have released two original singles, ‘Fly Away With Me’ and ‘Are You The One’, along with its associated music video, and a collaboration called, ‘Everybody Jump’. I am proud of both singles and presently I am in the process of recording more songs for my upcoming EP. There were a lot of logistics involved in completing both songs. I recorded both songs at Sugarhill Recording Studios in Houston, Texas and the songs were completed at Hit Island Records. ‘Are You The One’ took a little longer to produce because it was my first time working on a pop/dance track and there was a different formula needed in its creation.
Khiara further reveals that ‘Are You The One’ was inspired by some personal experiences and reflects a moment of personal growth.
“Are You The One“ is based on a past relationship where I found myself stuck and I had to question whether the relationship was right for me. At that time, I was ready to give the relationship my all, but it seemed as if it was going nowhere.” She continues, “This song conveys a moment of personal growth which I went through to break the bondage that was holding me back. At the heart of the song I hope people are inspired to find the person who is right for them and not just settle. Also, it is a dance track and I hope when people (men and women of all ages) hear the song they can relate to the message and are also inspired to get up and dance.”
On the other hand Khiara says that ‘Fly Away With Me’took a week to complete and draws a comparison.
“Fly Away With Me, took a week to complete. The song ties together Junkanoo, Soca, Rake N’ Scrape, and Calypso which are all genres that I grew up listening to and performing. Due to my familiarity, it was much easier to write the lyrics and co-produce this song. My inspiration for ‘Fly Away With Me’ was similar but different to the inspiration I used for ‘Are You The One’ It is similar in that it’s about a relationship, but the difference is it is not about a relationship with a person, it’s my relationship with my home and my culture.
I’ve been living in the United States for nearly 5 years and I miss a lot of things about home I miss my family, friends, certain places I would hangout, and definitely the food. ‘Fly Away With Me’ is my reflection on all of those things I love. I try to portray the feelings I have for an amalgamation of all the things that I love about The Bahamas and I have tried to convey a message of appreciation and pride. The culmination of the song is a magical journey through the Bahama Islands which I hope both Bahamians and non-Bahamians can appreciate.”
Khiara says she is happy for both the opportunity to work in the studio as well as perform her original music in various venues around Houston and talks about how her music is doing in the international market, noting that “Are You The One” reached No. 18 on the Chartbase Top 100 music charts in Denmark.
‘Fly Away With Me’ was released in the Bahamas and so far the response has been positive. “I have also been working with a producer in Europe. We released a remix of ‘Are You The One’and it topped the Italian DJ charts at No. 34. This year we released another single ‘Everybody Jump’ which was also produced in Europeand it is currently on the Italian Dj charts where it debuted at No. 87.. I am currently working on my EP and continuing to work on other collaborations.”
She also talked about her involvement in charities, such as mentoring young, aspiring beauty contestants in Houston, Texas as well as volunteering with organizations such as: The Black Heritage Society and Devard Darling’s, ‘As One Foundation’. In addition to working on her solo career, Khiara has graduated from college and has been performing throughout Texas with a Houston based band as a lead vocalist.
Getting to where she is at has not always been easy and Khiara talks about some of the efforts involved:
“Since graduating from college, I have focused my energy on developing my musical career. Music has always been a love for me, but there is a lot more to the glitz and glamour that is depicted in the media. It is a very competitive industry and I am continuing to develop my vocal skills as well as I am learning more about the business side.”
Khiara also talked about her long studio sessions, long hours of rehearsal and all the time she takes to write all her songs. Despite the hours, going after her dreams and making them come true is exciting for her, admitting that she is “fortunate to have a dedicated support team” that believes in her.
“Even though I have been singing from the time I was a child I still work on ensuring that my body and vocals are nurtured. I continue to take vocal coaching and workout at the gym. I surround myself with a team that is truly supportive of my goals and even though it may sound like there is a lot of effort which goes into developing myself as an artist, it is truly a labor of love. I’m excited every morning when I wake up because I know I am one step closer to my goal.”
Khiara let us in to a few details on the production of her music videos. She explained, “The shooting of my first music video for ‘Are You The One’ was directed and produced by Mr. Charles Allan “Charlie” Smith of Earthbeat Productions and former host of the Bahamian show Electric Air; while the executive producer of the video was Achebe “Bajan” Hope. The styling for the shoot was arranged by Rory Lee. The video was shot in various locations in Miami, Florida, including Madonna’s former residence.
Nu Woman: Who are some of your role models? Khiara: “There is a long line of artists that I admire, from Bruno Mars to Lenny Kravitz to Whitney Houston, Sia, Patti Labelle, Nina Simone and Alia Coley, just to name a few, but the most influential music-related person in my life would have to be Mr. Ronnie Butler. He was the first person to allow me to perform on stage as a solo act and that act of kindness encouraged me further into the arts.”
She also credits Oprah Winfrey and Mother Teresa for inspiring her as a businesswoman; noting Oprah’s entrepreneurial spirit and Mother Teresa’s charitable contributions. Overall, there have been many who Khiara has either met or read about who has influenced her in some way.
Nu Woman: Who are the people that make up your support system? Khiara: My support system consists of my mom, Cheryl Smith, my family and some of my close friends. They continue to encourage me and I know they want the best for me. My manager Achebe Hope is another member of my support system. When I find that I doubt myself he is usually the one that helps to lift my spirits by always taking an optimistic approach.
Nu Woman: What are your long and short term goals?
Khiara: My short term goal is to give my all at the upcoming Bahamas Junkanoo Festival competition and be a positive contributor in the festival. I am working on releasing my first EP by the end of 2015, and hope to start touring, performing my original material. Whereas, my long term goals include traveling the world, sharing my music and to be in a position where I can contribute to The Bahamas’ cultural development to help elevate the country’s profile intentionally.
Nu Woman: What is one thing that people would be surprised to learn about you?
Khiara: Having met me for the first time, people are usually surprised to learn that I am an artist because they perceive me to be shy.
Aside from her music career and other business ventures, Khiara let Nu Woman in on what a typical day is for her and how her life has changed in the last 5 years.
“My days are not typical because I am fortunate enough not to have to work a ‘9-5’ job so I do not have a set routine. On the weekends a lot of my time is spent performing at gigs. I try to go to the gym at least 4 days out of the week and I continue to work on new material (either preparing for the band or my own material). I like to read and I try to catch up on a good book when I can. I usually record in the studio during the evenings, then I have some long nights.”
She continues, admitting, “Life has been good and I am thankful for the opportunities I have been afforded since moving to Houston. Over the last 5 years I have grown personally and emotionally. I have accomplished my goal of finishing my Bachelor’s degree and I am able to develop my music career. I think I have developed as an artist and I have more time to be creative and put more time into developing my music. My network has grown and I have gained a lot more opportunities to collaborate with other artists to produce original music.”
However, Khiara says that she does not want to give the false impression that there has not been trials and tribulations in living in the US [because there has]. She confesses, “There have been many struggles and times when I have questioned if I should continue pursuing music as a career, but I think overall I have grown as an artist and I think my experience has been positive.”
With having such a busy schedule, Khiara explained that she really doesn’t have much ‘down time’.
“I am always working on new material, coming up with melodies, writing lyrics, working on something creative. Even if I am watching a movie, sometimes lyrics come to me and I have to jot them down. I enjoy watching a good movie (horrors and comedies are my favorites) or reading a good book. When it is not too cold I will get out and either go for a jog or walk around one of the many parks in Houston.”
With being in the music industry and being a successful businesswoman, Khiara shared what she considers to be the most important lessons she has learned so far.
“One of the most important lessons I have learnt and that I would like for others to take away would be to trust and believe in one’s self. Although it may sound like a cliché, it is only since I have truly started to believe in my ability as an artist that opportunities have presented themselves to me.”