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Sheryl Stacey
by Jessica Heikoop

Stacey has received tremendous success with her self-titled debut album released in 2000, including a Juno nomination in the 'Best Gospel Album' category. Her songs are always very real and easy to connect with, which can often be a hard thing to do.

Stacey writes about, "Life experiences, and just different things in life. A lot of things start off lyrically inspired, 'I want to write a song about this, or this is on my heart right now, so I want to write about this,'" she continues, "Sometimes it's hard, but I feel like God's really done a work in me. One of my new songs, "Beautiful," is about a struggle with self-esteem. God really spoke to me and helped me through that struggle. So singing that song is kind of hard because I bare all, I'm vulnerable, and I'm sharing my heart and my personal struggles with the audience. But I know that a lot of people can relate and God can really use that. I think when you're vulnerable and when you show your weakness, God can be strong."

Stacey is continually writing and says she has lots of songs ready for the new album, which she'll be working on in the next month before she hits the road again. Stacey reveals, "Probably when I'll start working on it hardcore is November/December, and I'm really hoping to have it out by January."

Though she is always writing, she does admit her writing tends to come in blocks. "Sometimes I go on a real writers kick and write a lot, and other times sit and sit and nothing comes," she continues, "It all comes down to discipline. Sometimes I get lazy and think 'I don't need to write anything,' but then I'm like 'Ok, I need to do it,' and I start pushing forward. Like with the album, two songs, "It's Time" and "For You," were written a couple days before. I just thought we needed two more upbeat songs. So I go to my room for two hours and come out with two songs." It might be worrisome to try and top the success from the first album, but Stacey says, "I want to write better and I want to write another album. But I don't think there's too much pressure."

Stacey has also been thinking of making a music video for her song, "In Your Arms." But she says she has high aspirations for her work. "I want to make it good because Christian music is stereotyped as cheese and garbage and stuff, and I don't want to just do something for the sake of doing it and [have] it just be cheese. I want to make sure the song's right and that we can raise some money or get a label to sponsor it or something, so that it's actually a good video."

Along with the writing and recording, another huge part of Stacey's music is, of course, her live show. She says, "They're both so much fun. Recording the last album I got to work with some awesome guys that produced it. It was just a blast; we had so many funny times. That's kind of where the magic happens. After you record an album, that's when the live show really comes together. I brought all the songs I have now, up to the guys who produced the album to work them through and build how they go on the CD. Then you work the live show around that. I've been playing a few new songs on this tour, but they're not really set in stone yet until we get the album and add all the magic."

Although she looks at herself as a solo artist, fellow Ontario band Dumb as Sheep backed her up for about two years. Seeing her play on the Warehouse, they simply asked if she needed backup, and so it began. She says that whole experience was "an answer to prayer." But she says there are definite positive aspects to both solo performances and band performances. "When I play just with my acoustic guitar I get more of an intimate feel. I feel like I can connect more with the audience. It's kind of not performance. It's just like, baring my heart. But then with a band you get that whole stage aspect where it's more energetic. It's fun to have other musicians up on the stage playing."

For the past few months Stacey has been on the Re: Generation tour with Winnipeg's Starfield, which has taken her all over Canada, and will continue to take her further until the tour comes to a close in October. She will also be making a stop at Jesus Manifest in July where she'll be playing a set, and will be able to just hang out and watch other bands, including Starfield and her brother's band, Knights of the Realm. The Re: Generation tour was her first full tour, but she has always played many live shows. "That's the good thing about being an Ontario artist. You can play Friday, Saturday, Sunday, every week for a year and still only hit a few cities. There are so many churches and so many cities, and so many places to play." Stacey says the best part of playing these live shows is, "Just being able to connect with an audience, and talk to the audience, and talk about my songs. That's something I really like doing, is sharing what my songs are about."

On top of all these things, Stacey is also producer of her television show The Warehouse. She explains how it all began and came together. "It started as a branch off of T.Q., a kid's show that I hosted on Saturday mornings. It ended up being the teen hour at the end of T.Q.," she laughs, "'Ok, go get your older brothers and sisters,' and then we'd just hit the Warehouse. We ended up splitting the shows in half. It used to be called T.Q. Warehouse, and it was now just 'The Warehouse.  A new production and producers team took on The Warehouse. Then just last year I 'stepped down' from T.Q. and just took on The Warehouse, she continues, "Now we're really starting to re-work it. I think we're going to cut it down to being just a half an hour show. They'll start airing in January this year with a whole new format and we're going to branch out and make it a ministry. There's so much we haven't been able to do with The Warehouse before, and I think this year God's been opening up some doors to do something awesome with the show."

On the show she gets the chance to question the weekly panel, and with that comes the preparation and research. But she has also got many chances to see the other side of that, as she was recently the one to be interviewed, by Much Music's George Stroumboulopoulos. "Once we heard Much Music wanted to do an interview with me about Christian music, it was really exciting. Christian music's been this little bubble that no one knows about and I think that segment and interview on Much really opens people's eyes, like 'hey, there's something going on with Christian music.'" Stacey says she was very impressed with Stroumboulopolous. "George was really awesome and knew his stuff. He knew every Christian band and was quoting bible verses. He wasn't at all condemning or putting Christian music down, he wanted to know more about it.

Stacey continues to give Christian music a good name and continues to share, and succeed in all she does through TV, albums, and concerts. She has a clear and amazing passion in all she is involved in, but she admits, "I love TV, but I think that if it came down to it, my music would be number one. Music is my passion."

For further information on how to order Sheryl's debut album, go to her web site at www.sherylstacey.com
And check out the Warehouse, Saturday mornings 11 a.m. on CTS. You can go to the web site at www.crossroads.ca/warehouse.html for further information and for further programming details.
 

 
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