Sharyn comes full circle with ‘In Full Bloom’ by Akosua Doom-Fokuo

Urban gospel artist, Sharyn, follows up her Beautiful Saviour EP with the colourful In Full Bloom. Written, produced, and recorded during the pandemic, the singer-songwriter’s 13-track project has received rave reviews from fans and industry gospel pundits alike. I recently caught up with Sharyn to talk about the new project.

ADF: Congrats on your debut album. I know fans have been asking for a new Sharyn project for a while, and you’ve certainly outdone yourself on In Full Bloom.
Sharyn: Thank you so much… The project was definitely a labour of love.

ADF: Where did you get the inspiration for In Full Bloom?
Sharyn: During the early days of lockdown, when ‘unlimited exercise’ was a luxury, I would go for these extremely long walks in the park and witness the roses and cherry blossom trees go from bud to bloom. In that season, I was questioning and reflecting on everything. How does society view me as a woman, as a Black woman? Does what I do bring me joy? If not, how can I change that? With every day came new challenges, but just like the cherry blossoms, I knew I wanted to evolve, grow and become in full bloom. I want to become the best version of myself God created me to be, and I know so many others feel the same.

ADF: What message do you want listeners to take away from the project?
Sharyn: On the album I start with a parable from Luke Chapter 8, which has this beautiful imagery of seeds (the Word of God) being planted, but not taking root and growing as it should be, due to the different conditions of the soil. This is a direct reflection of the heart: what and who we choose to surround ourselves with determines the course of our lives and how much fruitful growth can take place. I want the listener to know that the journey to wholeness is uncomfortable; navigating relationships and forgiveness involves sacrifice, but God is with us every step of the way. In Him, there is peace and true contentment.

ADF: Though your message is undeniably gospel, your sound is more urban r’n’b. Who are some of your musical influences?
Sharyn: I must start with Kirk Franklin, as he is one of the best producers and songwriters across all genres, and one of the most successful contemporary gospel artists of all time. His ability to blend r’n’b, hip-hop, traditional Southern gospel with a hopeful message is not only daring, but genius. Brandy is another huge influence, as she is the ‘vocal bible’. From her riffs to glorious harmonies, I have studied almost every live performance, and I love the way she doubles her vocals in the studio to create these rich layers, and that is her signature. Labrinth, like Kirk Franklin, is a multifaceted musician and record producer, but he is one of those few exports that makes me proud to be a Black Brit. The way he weaves sounds together – creating these colour melodies that cannot be categorised into a genre – is unmatched. He is in a league of his own, which is what makes him a huge inspiration to me and my music.

ADF: You are a unique artist with a very niche, vocal style. How have you managed to maintain your individuality?
Sharyn: I’ll take that as a compliment, haha! It’s so easy to compare yourself with others, and be steered to do what’s on trend, but I just stay true to myself, who I am, and do what I love. I make sure to surround myself with a team of people who know what the vision is, so they constantly remind me and help me stay on course.

ADF: Fun question: Who are the top five artists in your music playlist?
Sharyn: Oh, I love this question! I would say Mark Asari, as his most recent EP, By Your Grace, is full of some exquisite hits. Grace Tena would be up there, as her track, ‘In Theory’, has been on repeat since its release, and it’s the song of the year for me. Maverick City have been giving us what feels like a new album every week, so they are in non-stop rotation. Finally, I would say, r’n’b artist, H.E.R, and pop teen sensation, Olivia Rodrigo, because they always complete their assignment and give us what we need: a love-song-and-heartbreak ballad, because balance is key.

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