Text by Shanell Verandez, Copyright 2022
Photography by Tony Ward, Copyright 2022
Assistant to Photographer: Anthony Colagreco
Creative Director: KVaughn
A Musical Journey
Hola, My name is Shanell and I am a “Jane of All Trades and Master of None”. I have dabbled in almost every Artistic, Academic, Athletic and Spiritual endeavors one can possibly expose themselves to. I feel blessed to have an open mind and heart to be able to comprehend what I am absorbing from different kinds of people, places and things.
Most of all, Music has been one my favorite artistic endeavors, it runs through my family’s bloodline literally….I started when I was 6yrs old in Elementary school with a Music Aptitude test that I passed with flying colors which enabled me to receive an instrument of choice. My music teacher guided me to a room filled with instruments. It looked like a treasure chest! I wanted the Cello, they didn’t have one, so my teacher suggested the violin, but my arm length was too long. So ,she finally introduced me to the Viola and the start of my ongoing relationship with that instrument began.
Then in Junior high school came another desire to play another instrument, the Oboe. Once again, another unavailable instrument, but the teacher brought out an elegant beauty, the French horn. I was baffled because I had never seen this instrument before, so the teacher instructed that I had a week to blow one note in that instrument or move on. This instrument was meant to be mine, because by the end of that week, I got the note( a high C) and another musical relationship began.
I have another relationship with an instrument we all take for granted, the vocal cords. My singing journey began in a Baptist church set in a row house in the Historic “Black Bottom” section of Philadelphia. Most of my family was either in the choir, playing the drums or organ as well being a member on the church board. I had the chance to sing solos that were taught to me by my Aunt. Later on in life at High school I was singing in the bathroom stalls with my friend and we didn’t realize that there was another person present until she knocked on my bathroom stall and asked me to come out. She was a vocal teacher and an active Opera singer that had an interest in me becoming her student. I started studying with her and it turned out to be a very powerful relationship out of my musical “ménage a trois”. She guided my vocal career throughout the years( high school and college, beyond).
So one would wonder… What is holding me back? I would point the finger at those who didn’t believe in me and tried everything in they could to block me, but no, I need to get past that pain and realize it is me holding myself back. Why? It is because I have really terrible stage fright and I have to believe in myself more and become more centered. The very thought of becoming more focused and centered within myself has inspired me to take another step and start writing songs, here is one I would like to share with all of you, the song is Titled …
” Soul Centered “
Sittin’ on a Whim
Just Wastin’ Time
Feel like I’ve Lost
Traveling thru Time
A Rush of Feelings
To Get Up and Get Mine
Is where I want to be
Is where I want to free
Different but Familiar
Sometimes it makes me
Wonder why you are
A Touch of Brilliance
Growin’ From Within
I’ve Trekked on Somethin’
Different why it’s a Sin
Is Where I Want to Be
Is Where I Want to Free
One Day I will be able to perform this Song during my Music Journey… Peace
Editor’s Note: This is Shanell Verandez first sitting with Tony Ward for the Vixen’s series. To see all of the work to date from the new series, click here: https://tonyward.com/new-work-the-vixens-series/