Shara Nova

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Shara Nova
Shara Nova performing with My Brightest Diamond at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee in 2006.
Shara Nova performing with My Brightest Diamond at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee in 2006.
Background information
Born (1974-04-22) April 22, 1974 (age 48)
El Dorado, Arkansas
Genresindie rock, experimental
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter, producer, musician
Instrument(s)Vocals, guitar, piano, ukulele, kalimba
Years active1997–present
LabelsAsthmatic Kitty

Shara Nova (previously 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 Nova's voice. She has recorded as a guest vocalist with David Byrne, Laurie Anderson, The Decemberists, 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. On March 3, 2016, Shara legally changed her last name from Worden to Nova after divorcing her ex-husband, to whom she had been married most of her adult life.[1][2]


Nova 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. Nova's uncle Donald Ryan, a classical and jazz pianist and arranger, taught her piano lessons as a child. Nova's family moved to many different states when she was a child, including significant time in Sapulpa, Oklahoma, and Ypsilanti, Michigan. [3]

Nova graduated from the University of North Texas with a BA in vocal performance.[4] After college, 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 Nova moved to Detroit, Michigan.

She married in 1997 and divorced in 2016, legally changing her name from Worden (her ex-husband's surname) to Nova. With her ex-husband she has one child, Constantine Jamesson Worden, born in 2010.[2]


In 2001, Nova 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, Nova 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 to support 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. Nova 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 Nova 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". Nova 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 Nova 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, Nova provided vocals for Sarah Kirkland Snider's Unremembered,[5] and debuted her opera (co-written with Andrew Ondrejcak), You Us We All, in the United States.[6]


  • 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: Nova composed the music for a baroque opera[7] designed and directed by Andrew Ondrejcak; performed in Antwerp, Belgium, May 2013.


Solo albums[edit]

Year Album artist name Album title
1998 Shara Word
2004 Shara Worden Shara Worden Live at Schubas 11/18/2004

Collaborations and guest appearances[edit]

Credited as Shara Worden[edit]

Significant album contributions[edit]
Year Artist Album title Vocals: lead/co-lead/backing
1997 Mingo Fishtrap Succotash Co-Lead
2003 Bogs Visionary Orchestra Recession Special Backing
2005 Sufjan Stevens Illinois[8] 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")[9][10]
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
2016 Gabriel Kahane The Fiction Issue Co-Lead
Individual songs[edit]
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
2006 Pedestrian Ghostly Life "Overwhelmed" Backing
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
2012 Mal'akh Néctar "Dimanche" Lead
2013 Dog & Panther Our Bodies "I Want Love" Backing
2014 Brooklyn Rider The Brooklyn Rider Almanac "Exit" Lead
2014 Meshell Ndegeocello Comet Come To Me "Comet Come to Me" Backing

With AwRY[edit]

Year Album title Album type
2001 AwRY (a.k.a. "The Orange Album") Full-length studio release
2001 Quiet B Sides Full-length studio release
2003 Remix 1 (a.k.a. "The Remixes") 6-song remix EP

With My Brightest Diamond[edit]

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)
2015 I Had Grown Wild EP (6 songs)
2018 Champagne EP (5 songs)
2018 A Million and One Full-length studio release

Collaborations and compilation contributions[edit]

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


  1. ^ "An Update..." My Brightest Diamond. March 22, 2016. Retrieved September 27, 2016.
  2. ^ a b "After transformation, Shara Nova of My Brightest Diamond returns to Big Ears". Knox News. March 17, 2017. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  3. ^ "Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond on NYC". Paste Magazine. Retrieved March 21, 2014.
  4. ^ Margasak, Peter (2011-01-29). "Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond Steps Out | Bleader". Retrieved 2013-09-05.
  5. ^ "Sarah Kirkland Snider: Unremembered". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2016-01-09.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ "You Us We All". My Brightest Diamond. 2013-05-15. Archived from the original on 2013-08-09. Retrieved 2013-09-05.
  8. ^ "Album Names". Retrieved 2013-09-05.
  9. ^ "Collaborations". My Brightest Diamond. Archived from the original on 16 February 2013. Retrieved 21 January 2013. Sufjan Stevens: Age of Adz background vocals throughout album & solo on “Impossible Soul”
  10. ^ Kushner, Daniel J. "Shara Worden: Conspiring in Song". NewMusicBox. Retrieved 21 January 2013.

External links[edit]