shirlette is a Durham, NC-based musician whose sophomore solo album, Language Barrier will be co-released by SugarQube Records and Churchkey Records in Fall 2015. The album features guest appearances by The Indigo Girls, Meshell Ndegeocello, Amelia Meath (Sylvan Esso), Hiss Golden Messenger, Median (The Foreign Exchange), Heather McEntire (Mount Moriah), Phil Cook, and Jocelyn Ellis with musical compositions by Daniel Hart (St. Vincent, Broken Social Scene).
shirlette’s first solo album, Twilight For Gladys Bentley, was released in 2012 by Springstoff Records (Berlin, Germany) and is a ‘re-imagining,’ of 1920′s blues singer, Gladys Bentley. shirlette has toured throughout Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the US in support of the work. In 2012, shirlette travelled to Belgrade and Novi Sad, Serbia with Next Level Program, a collaborative international exchange program that engages underserved communities in various countries around the world and uses artistic collaboration and social engagement to enhance people-to-people diplomacy, especially among young audiences. Using multi-disciplinary hip hop collaborations, this unique arts-based exchange explores and addresses conflict resolution strategies by sending up to 20 American beat makers, DJs, B-Boys/B-Girls (or experts of other types of hip hop dance), or MCs in teams of 5 artists to lead four- to six-week exchange programs in various countries.
shirlette’s past works include a 2011 release with Chapel Hill based rock band, The Dynamite Brothers called And Lover’s Like. The album includes guest appearances from Justin Robinson (formerly of The Carolina Chocolate Drops), Kelly Crisp (The Rosebuds), Juan Huevos, Greg Humphreys, Yahzarah, Jocelyn Ellis, and Pierce Freelon. Her most recent collection of poetry, Matching Skin featuring The John Anonymous EP was published by Carolina Wren Press in 2008. Shirlette’s first collection entitled Stumphole: Aunthology of Backwoods Blood was published by Big Drum Press in 2002. Her literary work has appeared in The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South, What Your Momma Never Tod You: True Stories About Love and Sex, The Asheville Revielw and The Journal of the Academy of American Poets amongst other publications. She has recieved a John Hope Franklin Grant for Documentary Studies, The Ebony Harlem Award for Literary Achievement, as well as Emerging Artist Grants from the Durham Arts COuncil and the United Arts Council. She is also vocalist for the hip hop rock band Mosadi Music whose debut album, The Window, was released in 2006 and songwriter and vocalist for the fusion electronic duo, Jon Anonymous. As a freelance writer, Shirlette has contributed to The Independent Weekly and Duke Performance’s Blog, The Thread. Shirlette resides and creates in Durham, North Carolina.