||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2013)|
|Born||April 22, 1974|
|Genres||indie rock, experimental|
|Occupation(s)||Singer, songwriter, producer, musician|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, piano, ukulele, kalimba|
|Associated acts||My Brightest Diamond
Jedi Mind Tricks
Shara Worden is the lead singer and songwriter for My Brightest Diamond. As a composer she is most recognized for her choral compositions and the baroque chamber opera "You Us We All". New music composers Sarah Kirkland Snider, David Lang, Steve Mackey and Bryce Dessner have composed pieces for Worden's voice. She has recorded as a guest vocalist with David Byrne, Laurie Anderson, Sufjan Stevens, Jedi Mind Tricks, The Blind Boys of Alabama and Stateless as well as extensive collaborations with visual artists Matthew Ritchie and Matthew Barney. She was formerly the frontwoman of AwRY.
- 1 Life
- 2 Career
- 3 Discography
- 4 References
- 5 External links
Worden was born in El Dorado, Arkansas. Her father was an accordion player and choir director and her mother was an organist for their Pentecostal church. Worden's uncle Donald Ryan, a classical and jazz pianist and arranger, taught her piano lessons as a child. Worden's family moved to many different states when she was a child, including significant time in Sapulpa, Oklahoma and Ypsilanti, Michigan. 
Worden graduated from the University of North Texas with a BA in vocal performance. After university, she lived in Moscow, Russia, for a year where she studied Russian and wrote songs, producing a self-released, limited edition EP, Session I. She moved to New York City where she continued to study opera with Josephine Mongiardo. In 2009 Worden moved to Detroit, Michigan.
In 2001, Worden self-released two albums in collaboration with guitarist Shane Yarbrough under the moniker Awry, The Orange Album and Quiet B Sides. A short tour followed the release of the albums, after which the band dissolved. In 2002 and 2003 Worden wrote music for Adam Rapp's play Trueblinka (directed by Simon Hammerstein) and subsequently for Hammerstein's production of Jean-Paul Sartre's Men Without Shadows (Morts sans sépulture). She began studying composition with Padma Newsome during this time. Then in 2004 she began touring in Sufjan Stevens' band for the tours supporting his album "Michigan". In 2006, she released the album "Bring Me The Workhorse" on Asthmatic Kitty Records under the moniker My Brightest Diamond and was nominated for Female Artist of the Year in the PLUG Independent Music Awards. The My Brightest Diamond albums "A Thousand Shark's Teeth" (2008), "All Things Will Unwind" (2011), and "This Is My Hand" (2014) were also released on Asthmatic Kitty Records. Worden became a Kresge performing arts fellow in 2012.
She made a guest appearance on the Jedi Mind Tricks album Servants in Heaven, Kings in Hell in 2006 and on the Vinnie Paz album Season of the Assassin in 2010. In 2008 Worden sang as a background vocalist for Laurie Anderson during five performances at The Rose Theater for the show Homeland. She performed guest vocals on "The Wanting Comes in Waves/Repaid" and "The Queen's Rebuke/The Crossing" from the 2009 album by The Decemberists, The Hazards of Love, singing vocals for the part of "The Queen". She also performed with The Decemberists on their "A Short Fazed Hovel Tour" along with Becky Stark from Lavender Diamond. She performed vocals on Sufjan Stevens' album The Age of Adz, notably taking the lead during a section of "Impossible Soul". Worden performed in and wrote the song "Nine" for Bryce and Aaron Dessner's multi-media performance The Long Count with texts and images by Matthew Ritchie. The Long Count was performed at the Krannert Center (2009), BAM (2009), the Holland Festival (2012) and the Barbican Centre (2012). In January 2012 Worden performed the premiere of the song cycle Death Speaks by David Lang with pianist Nico Muhly, violinist Owen Pallett and guitarist Bryce Dessner. In 2015, Worden provided vocals for Sarah Kirkland Snider's Unremembered, and debuted her opera (co-written with Andrew Ondrejcak), You Us We All, in the United States.
- Letters from Charles: for yMusic. Performed at the 92nd Street Y in Tribeca. Performed March 2010.
- A Paper, A Pen, A Note to a Friend: for yMusic. Released on Beautiful Mechanical (New Amsterdam Records 2011).
- A Whistle, A Tune, A Macaroon: for yMusic. Released on Beautiful Mechanical (New Amsterdam Records 2011).
- Skin and Bones: for yMusic
- From the Invisible to the Visible: for organist James McVinnie and violist Nadia Sirota commissioned by MusicNOW festival in March 2012. Released on the album Baroque (Bedroom Community 2013)
- The Pyramid Songs : 3 songs for The Brooklyn Youth Chorus, first performed by the choir at Crossing Borders Festival at BAM in New York, May 2012.
- Kings of Macedonia: music for brass quartet, drums and choir for Andrew Ondrejcak's play Kings of Macedonia. She also performed in the play as the character The Whore in May 2012 at The Kitchen.
- Phase 1 & III: music for marching band. Performed by The Detroit Party Marching Band (2013) for the opening ceremonies of Art X. Funded by The Kresge Foundation.
- The Pleiades: 5 songs for the Young New Yorkers' Chorus. Commissioned 2013.
- YOU, US, WE, ALL: Worden composed the music for a baroque opera designed and directed by Andrew Ondrejcak; performed in Antwerp, Belgium, May 2013.
|Year||Album artist name||Album title|
|2004||Shara Worden||Shara Worden Live at Schubas 11/18/2004|
Collaborations and guest appearances
Credited as Shara Worden
Significant album contributions
|Year||Artist||Album title||Vocals: lead/co-lead/backing|
|2003||Bogs Visionary Orchestra||Recession Special||Backing|
|2005/2006||Sufjan Stevens||Songs for Christmas, Vol. 3: Ding! Dong!||Backing|
|2006||Sufjan Stevens||The Avalanche||Backing|
|2008||Ready Fire Aim||This Changes Nothing||Backing|
|2009||Bifrost Arts||Come, O Spirit!||Lead|
|2009||DM Stith||Heavy Ghost||Backing|
|2009||Clare and The Reasons||Arrow||Backing|
|2010||Sufjan Stevens||Age Of Adz||Backing; co-lead ("Impossible Soul")|
|2010||Clogs||The Creatures In The Garden Of Lady Walton||Lead (select songs)|
|2010||Sarah Kirkland Snider||Penelope||Lead|
|2011||(Collaboration)||Letters to Distant Cities||Lead; spoken word|
|2013||David Lang||Death Speaks||Lead|
|2015||Sarah Kirkland Snider||Unremembered||Co-Lead|
|Year||Artist||Album title||Song title||Vocals: Lead/co-lead/backing|
|2005||Todd Agnew||Grace Like Rain||"Kindness"||Backing|
|2005||Garden of Souls||Wake Up EP||"Runes (Diamond Mix)"||Co-Lead|
|2006||Jedi Mind Tricks||Servants In Heaven, Kings In Hell||"When All Light Dies"||Co-Lead|
|2006||Jedi Mind Tricks||Servants In Heaven, Kings In Hell||"Razorblade Salvation"||Co-Lead|
|2008||Pedestrian||sidegeist||"shape of a pocket"||Backing|
|2009||(Bifrost Arts Compilation Album)||Come O Spirit!||"Kyrie"||Co-Lead|
|2009||The Decemberists||The Hazards of Love||"The Wanting Comes in Waves/Repaid"||Co-Lead|
|2009||The Decemberists||The Hazards of Love||"The Queen's Rebuke"||Lead|
|2009||900X||Music For Lubbock, 1980||"Lands"||Lead|
|2010||Vinnie Paz||Season Of The Assassin||"Keep Moving' On"||Co-Lead|
|2010||David Byrne & Fatboy Slim||Here Lies Love||"Seven Years"||Co-Lead|
|2011||Owen Pallett||Export(demo)||"The Great Elsewhere"||Lead|
|2011||Prefuse 73||Only She Chapters||"The Only Hand to Hold"||Lead|
|2011||Uphill Racer||How It Feels To Find There's More||"Overfrail"||Lead|
|2011||Colin Stetson||New History Warfare 2: Judges||"Lord I Just Can't Keep From Crying Sometimes"||Lead|
|2011||Colin Stetson||New History Warfare 2: Judges||"Fear Of The Unknown And The Blazing Sun"||Lead|
|2011||Stateless||Matilda||"I'm On Fire"||Co-Lead|
|2011||Son Lux||We Are Rising||"Rebuild"||Backing|
|2011||The Revival Hour||"Hold Back/Run Away" (7" Single)||"Hold Back"||Backing|
|2012||S / S / S||Beak & Claw||"If This Is Real"||Backing (Chorus)|
|2012||Loop 2.4.3||American Dreamland||"Sakura (we must love)"||Co-Lead|
|2012||Loop 2.4.3||American Dreamland||I Knew (we shouldn't)||Backing|
|2012||The Universal Thump||All Things Must Pass||"Beware of Darkness"||Lead|
|2012||Recoil||Spirit of Talk Talk (Compilation)||"Dum Dum Girl"||Lead|
|2013||Dog & Panther||Our Bodies||"I Want Love"||Backing|
|2014||Brooklyn Rider||The Brooklyn Rider Almanac||"Exit"||Lead|
|Year||Album title||Album type|
|2001||AwRY (aka "The Orange Album")||Full-length studio release|
|2001||Quiet B Sides||Full-length studio release|
|2003||Remix 1 (aka "The Remixes")||6-song remix EP|
With My Brightest Diamond
|Year||Album title||Album type|
|2006||Bring Me The Workhorse||Full-length studio release|
|2006||Disappear||EP (5 songs)|
|2007||Tear It Down||Full-length studio release / Remixes (initial iTunes release included 3 or 5 bonus songs, no longer available)|
|2008||Shark Demos||EP (6 songs, alternate versions)|
|2008||A Thousand Shark's Teeth||Full-length studio release|
|2008||From The Top Of The World||EP (4 songs)|
|2008||Inside A Boy||Single (4 songs)|
|2008||Shark Remixes Vol 1: Alfred Brown||Remix EP|
|2008||The Black Sessions||Limited-edition CD of live show at Studio 106, Paris|
|2009||Shark Remixes Vol 2: Son Lux||Remix EP|
|2009||Shark Remixes Vol 3: Roberto C. Lange||Remix EP|
|2010||Shark Remixes Vol 4: DM Stith||Remix EP|
|2010||Shark Remixes||Limited-edition signed compilation of all previous Shark Remix Volumes 1–4 (1,500 hand-numbered copies)|
|2011||All Things Will Unwind||Full-length studio release|
|2011||Be Brave||Single (3 song versions)|
|2012||I Have Never Loved Someone||7" single, alternate version, with "Bird on a Wire" B-side, limited edition 1,000 hand-numbered copies|
|2014||None More Than You||EP (5 songs)|
|2014||This Is My Hand||Full-length studio release; multiple vinyl versions, including limited edition version with hand-made art slipcover (300 copies)|
Collaborations and compilation contributions
|Year||Artists (or publisher)||Album title||Song title||Additional information|
|2006||(Asthmatic Kitty Records)||Mews Too||"Riding Horses"||MBD recording of a song originally published by AwRY|
|2007||(Stereogum)||OKX: A Tribute to OK Computer||"Lucky"||MBD remake of Radiohead song|
|2007||(family records)||Cross-Pollination: The Mixtape Vol. 1||"Hi, Remember Me?"|
|2008||(Engine Room Recordings)||Guilt By Association Vol. 2||"Tainted Love"||MBD remake of Gloria Jones/Soft Cell song|
|2008||(Animal World)||I'll Stay 'Til After Christmas||"Nature Boy"||MBD remake of eden ahbez/Nat King Cole song|
|2008||(Mojo Magazine)||The White Album Recovered No. 2||"Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey"||MBD remake of Beatles song|
|2009||(4AD Records)||Dark Was The Night||"Feeling Good"||MBD remake of Nina Simone song|
|2009||(Biggest Label Ever)||(released as single, digital download)||"The Honey Bee"||MBD contribution to support the Invisible Children charity|
|2010||My Brightest Diamond/Dayna Kurtz||"Gone Away"/"Postcards From Downtown"||"Postcards From Downtown"||Split single, each artist covers a song from the other; 7" release limited to 1,000 numbered copies|
|2011||Liz Janes||Time & Space||"Bitty Thing"||Shara Worden vocals, credited as My Brightest Diamond|
|2012||(Mojo Magazine)||The Songs of Leonard Cohen Covered||"Bird On A Wire"||MBD remake of Leonard Cohen song, with Marc Ribot|
- "Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond on NYC". Paste Magazine. Retrieved March 21, 2014.
- Margasak, Peter (2011-01-29). "Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond Steps Out | Bleader". Chicagoreader.com. Retrieved 2013-09-05.
- "Sarah Kirkland Snider: Unremembered". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2016-01-09.
- Cermatori, Joseph P. (2015-11-05). "‘You Us We All’ Creates a Baroque Vision of Modern Life". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-01-09.
- "You Us We All". My Brightest Diamond. 2013-05-15. Retrieved 2013-09-05.
- "Album Names". Music.sufjan.com. Retrieved 2013-09-05.
- "Collaborations". My Brightest Diamond. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
Sufjan Stevens: Age of Adz background vocals throughout album & solo on “Impossible Soul”
- Kushner, Daniel J. "Shara Worden: Conspiring in Song". NewMusicBox. Retrieved 21 January 2013.