By Craig Anthony Nicholas
We all like to revisit our childhood at times. Sherri Sandifer is a pediatrician who not only cares for children but remembers wanting to play piano "ever since I could sit on the piano bench unassisted." Sherri is so thrilled to be going for more as she is now working on her R&B/soul album to release this spring.
Her December jazz debut at J. Durham Steakhouse was delivered with bold charm to her audience. "Playing with saxophonist, Perry Richard, in my debut was a real treat. It’s always been a dream of mine to perform some jazz/R&B/original compositions in an intimate venue like we did. When the opportunity arose, we went for it," Sherri said.
Since her debut, Sherri played with such heartfelt joy at the sacred fellowship of St. Matthew Lutheran in Houston’s Museum District that it makes our spirits soar. Those that appreciate connecting with beauty, education, talent and character will identify with what her family, friends, and supporters have been raving about among social networks.
Sherri was raised in a musical family where music was always in the house. Her mother sang in the church choir and since her dad played jazz piano only by ear, her mother wanted to make sure that she would be able to play any piece of music, with anyone, anytime. Sherri can play by ear, but was classically trained in piano and flute and says it has been a tremendous asset. Sherri Sandifer started singing in college, and has been writing songs for as long as she can remember.
Some of those Sherri sang with in an a capella group at Yale called Shades have gone on to perform on Broadway. Another later won the Tony for best musical. Sherri is now working on her album with Dru Castro, who has recorded with Usher, Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas, Keyshia Cole, and KeriHilson. Sherri says, "It’s great to be in the company of such accomplished musicians," as she describes the instrumentalists on her upcoming album who have worked among artists as Mary J. Blige and india.arie. Musical influences include Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway, Chaka Khan, and india.arie. "I strive to perform songs that have lyrical substance, that resonate with people’s experiences, and that are memorable" she said.
Her most challenging days were when her mother, her biggest supporter and best friend, died a few years ago. "Having made it through that, I feel like I can do anything now. My mother was my greatest influence in life. There has never been a stronger, sweeter, or more loving person. She always encouraged my musical endeavors but made it clear that I needed to get my education first. I think she’d be proud of how things have turned out."
Balancing music and medicine has not come easy, but she says working on the album has actually made her a happier pediatrician. So it’s a win-win.
Music had always been such an important part of her life but was not nurtured for a long time. Then the music just started to flow when she found herself at the end of a relationship. That’s when she decided to do this album.
Sherri says, "Each time I’m in the studio I grow a little, learn something new about my voice. Songs I have written in the past few months are more evolved. Nine out of the eleven songs on the album were actually written in the past two months, so it’s all really fresh."
Sherri Sandifer holds open the option to do another album later with some jazz standards she loves, but her upcoming album will feature all original works that are all quite autobiographical and that she hopes will become timeless R&B/soul classics.