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Sharissa

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Biography

From childhood, Motown's Sharissa wanted to carve a place for herself in the world of music. The dream was strong from the age of seven, prompting her to sing at home in Brooklyn, where she was born, and in the Bronx, where she grew up. Her enthusiasm was such that her dad gave her the nickname "Little Stevie Wonder." In New York's Edenwald Projects, she belted it out for neighbors. By junior high and high school, she was serenading fellow students in the cafeteria. As a young woman, barely into her teens, the aspiring singer became a member of a group named Triple Dose. Singers such as Whitney Houston and Stephanie Mills provided plenty of inspiration, and Sharissa rounded out her musical education by listening to works by such artists as Grandmaster Flash, the Emotions, Patti LaBelle, Deniece Williams, Gladys Knight, and the Sugarhill Gang. She also watched many televised musical specials and captured them on video to study later. These programs included a good number that were devoted to artists from her future label, including Motown Comes to the Apollo and Motown 30. At the start of her career, Sharissa found herself providing backing vocals. During this period she worked with a list of artists that included Wyclef, Beanie Sigel, Father MC, and Carl Thomas. On No Half Steppin', her debut released by Henchmen/Motown, the singer earned co-writing credit and enjoyed the help of producers Gerald Isaacs, Tank, Trackmasters, and Mark Batson. "Any Other Night" was put out as the album's first single. The release also includes the Lil' Mo-penned "All These Years," and the track features Groove Theory's Bryce Wilson in the producer's seat. ~ Linda Seida

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