Not many people can front a rock band, sing Górecki’s Third Symphony, lead a marching band processional down the streets of the Sundance film festival and perform in a baroque opera of their own composing—all in a month’s time. But Shara Nova can.
Her multi-faceted career as My Brightest Diamond, which began with an acclaimed independent rock record, has reflected her journey into the world of performing arts. This Is My Hand, her fourth album, marks a confident return to rock music, one informed by her mastery of composition and a new exploration into the electronic.
Born in diamond-rich Arkansas and then raised all around the country, Nova came from a musical family of traveling evangelists. She went on to study operatic voice and then classical composition after a move to New York City.
Shara began issuing recordings as My Brightest Diamond in 2006, following a protean period in the band AwRY, and joining Sufjan Stevens’ Illinoisemakers live ensemble. Asthmatic Kitty Records released her debut album, Bring Me The Workhorse in 2006, A Thousand Sharks’ Teeth in 2008, and 2011’s All Things Will Unwind, which featured songs written for the chamber ensemble yMusic.
In between MBD, well-known fans became collaborators, and collaborative projects amassed. Highlights include singing in Laurie Anderson’s 2008 show “Homeland,” delivering guest vocals on The Decemberists’ 2009 Hazards of Love album and subsequently joining them on tour, performing in Bryce and Aaron Dessner’s multi-media presentation “The Long Count,” singing and recording for Pulitzer Prize winning composer David Lang and singing in Sarah Kirkland Snider’s “Penelope” and “Unremembered.” Shara has also worked with David Byrne (on his concept musical “Here Lies Love”), Fat Boy Slim, Bon Iver and The Blind Boys of Alabama.