In the world of art, much of the focus is placed upon the artists and rightfully so. However, there are certain individuals behind the scenes who are moving and shaking, feeding and affecting the scene in myriad ways. SHEILA E. ANDERSON, whose moniker, “Queen of Hang,” is one of these individuals. She has always taken on the challenges of creating opportunities for herself, developing formats that exist outside of the box. A native of Buffalo, NY, Ms. Anderson's unique individual career path began in 1973 at the age of 16 when she was elected New York State Youth President of the NAACP, a position she held for four years under the regime of Roy Wilkins. She then continued, in 1977, to be elected to the NAACP's National Board of Directors, staying on until 1981. These fecund years in her young life set the precedent for the leadership and cultural and artistic awareness that she would later unveil in her present career status as a ground breaker in her field.
By 1983, Sheila decided to try her hand in the publishing field, book production, starting with Random House, moving next to Grove Press, John Wiley and Sons, and W.H. Freeman & Sons, Inc. then later entering into the print manufacturing side as a sales rep. Leadership has always been her blood, which explains why she held yet another presidential position at the Bookbinders' Guild of New York from 1995-97. Eventually, she became a New York column staff writer for the Caribbean-based Oceana magazine then a columnist for the 32-year old Jazz Magazine, “Hot House”.
Not one to rest on her laurels, Sheila Anderson felt led to move into an entirely different arena. In 1995, she was hired as an on-air host on WBGO, Newark, 88.3fm (www.wbgo.org), where she now hosts Weekend Jazz After Hours, Salon Sessions and the Sunday Night Music Mix. For nine years she hosted Sunday Morning Harmony. Ms. Anderson has learned from the musicians whom she plays, "I feel as though radio programming should function much like a live performance. My best shows happen when I am feeling completely free to move with a certain flow and program according to my emotions," Ms. Anderson explains. These are not the words of some novice who just likes Jazz music.
Looking to immerse herself further into Jazz culture, Ms. Anderson created The Art of Jazz, a weekly 30-minute TV program for Time Warner Cable in New York City from 1995-2003. The show earned her a Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN) Award for Community Media. A virtual one-woman production team, Sheila scheduled guests, wrote the scripts and even edited various shows. The Art of Jazzwhich reached some half million viewers, had featured Jazz luminaries like Ron Carter, Eric Reed, Russell Malone, Regina Carter, Mark Murphy, Javon Jackson, T. S. Monk, Monty Alexander and Benny Golson the late Leon Thomas and Attila Zoller.
Ms. Anderson understands the importance of developing communication skills. To that end, she taught "Public Speaking" at Union County College in Cranford, New Jersey to children between the ages of 11-14 for their program Kids in College. She states, "As a teenager, I had a crash course in speaking when I was in the NAACP, through that experience I was able to build self confidence. In teaching the children I believe that I am giving them valuable information that will help them when they enter the adult world." Ms. Anderson feels a sense of responsibility in sharing her knowledge and experience to as many young people as she can.
She continues to share her deep knowledge and passion for music, all music, not only jazz. Her first book titled "The Quotable Musician: From Bach to Tupac" was published in March 2003 for Allworth Press. Skyhorse Publishing acquired Allworth Press and subsequently repackaged and renamed it, “The Little Red Book of Musicians’ Wisdom.” Her second book "How to Grow as A musician: What All Musicians Must Know to Succeed" also published by Allworth Press was released in July 2005. The second edition was published in November 2019.
In addition to her on air and emcee work, as a freelance professional producer, her producing credits include, since its’ inception, the Somerville Jazz festival, now the Central Jersey Jazz Festival. Ms. Anderson continues to curate Jazz in the Garden Series at Newark Museum; and has worked extensively with Jazzmobile, Inc. as programing consultant for “Saturday Jazz Workshop” and co-producer of the 2013 & 2014 Harlem Jazz Shrines in addition to Jazzmobile’s Summerfest, 2013. For nine years she wrote the New Jersey events column for Hot House Magazine and has been a contributing, writer for WGBH Radio website.
Sheila E. Anderson a graduate of Baruch College and resides in Harlem, NYC.
The Quotable Musician: From Bach to Tupac (Allworth Press)
How to Grow As A Musician, What All Musicians Must Know to Succeed (Allworth Press,) second edition, November 2019
The Little Red Book of Musicians’ Wisdom (Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.)
On Air Host, WBGO, 88.3FM, Weekend Jazz After Hours, Salon Sessions and the Sunday Night Music Mix
Curator/Producer: Newark Museum-Jazz in the Garden and Central Jersey Jazz Festival
*Columbia University Community Scholar, 2017
*Dan Morgenstern Institute of Jazz Studies, 2020
After spending seventeen years on the production and sales side of publishing, Ms. Anderson left to pursue a career in broadcasting. Always interested in jazz, in 1995 she joined the staff of WBGO, Newark, New Jersey where she hosts Weekend Jazz After Hours, Salon Sessions and the Sunday Night Music Mix. She has authored three books: The Quotable Musician: From Bach to Tupac(2003), How to Grow as A Musician: What All Musicians Must Know to Succeed (2005) (both published by Allworth Press) The second edition is scheduled for a November, 2019 release and The Little Red Book of Musicians’ Wisdom(Skyhorse Publishing, 2012). A festival producer her work includes curator of the Newark Museum’s Jazz in the Garden Series. Ms. Anderson is an alumna of Baruch College, CUNY (B.A., English) and resides in Harlem, USA.
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