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004 Busking Through Vulnerability

Introduction

Have you ever heard a voice that just won’t seal so much that you have to know who’s behind it? This is how it was when I met Sherika Sherard. here’s a small clip from the song she’s gonna play for us at the end of this episode while busking in London today.

 

“No, no, no, no, no, no. Sometimes I feel this life is never enough. So much love around me but, I’m stuck in a rut. No fame, no fortune, just a house in my name, guess I never liked that bitter taste of champagne. Does it get easier?”

 

Through songwriting, Sherika vows to encourage the conversations that make us vulnerable. From charming one-liners to heart-felt confessions Sherika celebrates the complexity of self-discovery by continuously warming the hearts of her listeners. Sherika has previously opened for Seal and had her music personally picked up by Spike Lee himself to feature on both series of “She’s Gotta Have it”. Recently in the uncertain year of 2020, Sherika played her first lead film role in ‘PHEA’ a modern take on the classic Orpheus Greek myth. Funded by the BFI the feature film is currently in post-production after a five-week shoot in August. All songs featured in the film were written and performed by Sherika.

Connect

Sherika documents her life in full colour for us on Instagram 

Sherika Sherard (@sherikasherard) • Instagram photos and videos

She also has a website, where she accepts your contributions

Sherika Sherard

Finally you can connect with her music on Youtube

Sherika Sherard – Topic – YouTube

And on Spotify

Spotify – Sherika Sherard

Shownotes

 

Katherine Ann Byam  0:57  

This episode is from the archives, recorded in November 2020. My name is Katherine Ann Byam and I’m your host. What’s your purpose? And how does it integrate with sustaining life itself? For some of us this question is a deep ache that we spend a lifetime trying to find, perhaps shifting direction as we learn and grow from one path to another. For many of us our children give us a clear definition, providing for them becomes our reason for being. For others, it’s about enjoying the present moment ever so fleeting and ever so beautiful. For still others it can be financial, status, contribution or impact. In this podcast, my guest and I will share with you tips, ideas and methods on how to build a career that integrates with who you are and the life you want to lead. We will explore the social foundation on which to build your transition and an ecological ceiling above which we need not climb so that we live not just for ourselves, but for our collective ability to thrive. Welcome to The Purpose Driven career podcast. Do what matters. Tonight, we’re here with an amazing talent, a singer songwriter Sherika Sherard, Sherika, welcome to the show. 

 

Sherika Sherard  2:14  

Thank you. 

 

Katherine Ann Byam  1:53  

It’s really great to have you here. I remember the first time I met you, it was under the staircase in Waterloo station. I remember coming up the stairs and hearing this amazing haunting voice and I didn’t know where it was coming from. And then I saw you on the floor. And you had this radiant smile. And I remember thinking, Oh, my God, I need to know who this person is. Luckily, you had your name on your cases. When did you actually start doing busking?

 

Sherika Sherard  2:41  

So I actually started busking about four years ago, it was four, maybe five now. And I was actually working at Waitrose at the time, and I don’t know something happened to my pay, where it just didn’t come in. I didn’t get as much as I should have and obviously, I was renting back then. And, yeah, I need to pay rent. So I just started busking on, it was actually on embankment bridge. And then, And then, while I was just busking there, the person who, who runs the busking scheme, outside of Southbank Centre saw me and said, Oh, come and audition. And then like, Yeah, from there, I was like, wait, I’m actually making more money doing this than working in a supermarket. I wrote my music. So since then, yeah, I’m still here. Not right, not this year busking, but yeah, it’s helped me out loads.

 

Katherine Ann Byam  3:30  

So when did you know you were called to music? When did you know that this was what you wanted to do.

 

Sherika Sherard  3:35  

For me, my calling to music. It was a, it was a slow one. Well, it was a weird one for me. Because I think when you start young, when it comes to performing and stuff, you’re just happy to be doing something, you’re kind of like getting attention. But also, when you don’t know a lot about yourself, you just know that something feels right. And you’re kind of getting accepted, socially accepted doing it and stuff like that. So just kind of like going to carry on with this. And so, yeah, it was about when I was 15. I started being like, oh, yeah, I’m really enjoying my writing songs and met with other music, musicians and was like, yeah, this is cool. So I think it was about then, really.

 

Katherine Ann Byam  4:14  

And I remember seeing a picture. I’ve been following you since since I saw you that day. And I remember seeing a picture of you with Seal. And so tell us about that moment.

 

Sherika Sherard  4:26  

So basically, I think he found my music beforehand. And he was on tour and he was kind of like looking around for buskers. And then so he knew he was going to be in London, so he actually got in touch with the Southbank. And I was at home, I wasn’t having a great day, so I wasn’t planning on busking and they called me and they were like, Oh, why aren’t you out busking today? Oh, we were just wondering if you would be around there’s loads of people here. An I was like, it’s a cheeky really like asking me to come up. Like it was not even a gig or anything but I was like, okay, cool. Like whatever, like I guess maybe that’s just a sign to go out there. And yeah, and then I was like busking for about an hour. And then this like, really like hench guy came was like, oh, because my battery started running out. So I was like, Okay, I’m gonna go now. And it’s really like, hench like security guard looking guy was that oh, you finishing because somebody wants to come and see you. And I was like, oh God, there’s all these people asking me to sing. So I was like, Okay. I’ll just carry on. And then I kind of like clocked onto something there and I thought, oh, maybe it’s like, it’s coming up to international busking day and like, so maybe it’s like Sadiq Khan or something like that. And I was like, okay, cool. So I kept on singing and then yeah, he just came on. He just came up to me, and he was on Facebook Live. And he was like, Oh, can I come and sing with you? And I was like, Yeah, sure. And then he’s like, What song do you want to sing? And I was like, oh, let’s sing Kiss from a Rose. And he was like, oh do you know the words? And I was like, yeah, I do know the words, luckily, I know. Because, to be honest, it was my friends back in school. Like, that was like, really into the song. And that was like, oh, like, let me hear it. And learnt it so.

 

Katherine Ann Byam  6:01  

What happened after that?

 

Sherika Sherard  6:03  

Yeah, so he invited me to open for a show in Greenwich, and then for his show in  Brussels. But yeah, it was, it was crazy, I think. I don’t know. I don’t know. It’s from experience with me. But like, you know, that’s the whole, that’s the charm about busking is that you’re out and about, and you never know who’s gonna walk past. And I’m not talking about just celebrities, like obviously, yes, Seal is a great example. But you kind of have to be willing to perform to anyone, you know. And so I think when that moment happened, it was, I can’t, to be honest, it was it was a bit like, okay, cool. Like, just keep chill, because you’ve been here for hours, singing for hours. So this was like, that’s how I calmed myself down. You’ve been doing this. This isn’t anything different from any other day, even though it was. But that’s how I kept calm anyway.

 

Katherine Ann Byam  6:50  

And do you feel like there is a stigma in the industry around busking? Or what what do you think? What do you think about busking as as a way to make opportunities for yourself?

 

Sherika Sherard  7:02  

I think it’s great. And but a lot of people don’t like, including my mum, when I when I first ever busked, I was like, a lot younger. my mum was like, don’t ever do that again, and I think it’s just a case of that, you know, it does look like you’re begging. And, and it’s a shame, because yeah, some people can say, Oh, you’re begging, but you are offering something, you’re offering free entertainment, you know, so taking donations, there’s nothing wrong with it. If you see all these companies, now, when you buy something, they ask oh do you want to give a donation, even when you buy something from a company, you don’t really need that. So that’s just the art of selling is that they make you feel like you should buy, you should be paying for this. And for me, I think it’s the exact same thing. And I think, you know, the industry is changing so much, it’s a lot less money, especially this year, you know, in it and you kind of have to be versatile and innovative in getting your music out there getting people to connect with you to genuinely, genuinely connect with you. And I think busking is a great way of doing that. I think when you just overlook it, of course, you get people kind of looking at you. Sometimes people look at the money that I have in my fingers, oh, you’re gonna, you’re gonna eat well, tonight, I’ll say, okay, great, you know, and of course, like I sit down, there’s some days where I’m like, hh, my God, like, I can’t I can’t deal with this. Or, you know, people just saying really ignorant things to you. But that’s just life in general. Like, but you know, there’s, different reasons why people say, there’s a lot of different reasons why people say ignorant things to me that I could name. So, if busking be one of them, you know, you kind of got to push through, so but yeah, when I talk about it to a lot of other musicians, they’re just a bit like, um no, you know, they’ll sit down near to me, I even had one singer, she was like, oh, what else do you think I should do in life?  I should do different things. I was like, oh, why don’t you try busking? She was just like, um no, you know, and it wasn’t like, oh, you know what, I’m too scared. Or you know what, I don’t think I’m ready for that. It’s more like, oh, no, no, I can’t. Yeah, I mean, it’s like, but I get that, you know, in terms of like, some people, you know, even in terms of booking you, they think, oh, you’re just there and you’re just happy to perform anywhere. And then when you’re like, no, this is my price. It’s like when you  go to see a street vendor, or street food now. It’s so trendy. You know, where it doesn’t mean, you’re the person selling hotdogs, like on them little illegal things. It just means that it’s a different way. It’s a different way of making your product accessible. So yeah.

 

Katherine Ann Byam  9:23  

I like that. I like that concept. How do you make your money? Where do you get your money, especially nowadays?

 

Sherika Sherard  9:29  

So nowadays? Yeah. I don’t even know where I get my money from now. Well, now it’s like, again, it’s a time where you have to be, you have to think on your toes. Like this is a hard time for creatives. But one of the first things I say to you know, all my friends that I talk to that just like you know, I just feel stuck. I always liked, anyone who’s wanted to be a creative, they’ve kind of accepted that. It’s going to be hard at times. Yes. I’m not saying that you were expecting a pandemic and you know, no one was expecting that but you know, everyone’s getting angry that they’re being told to retrain and stuff like that. For me, it of course it’s insensitive, but I’m not surprised. Like, of course, they’re gonna, we’re going to be the first ones that they’re going to tell to, to retrain. So in terms of now, yes, of course, like, not as much money is coming in, but it’s like, for me, I’m just calling this like the growing pain, you know, it’s changing now. And it’s changed way quicker, maybe quicker than I thought it would. So yeah, I had to learn new things, but it’s still going towards my business to be able to make it transform into the next stages we’re going into for for creatives, and yeah, just for the economy really? And, but yeah, before, so when I first started busking, it was mainly busking. So obviously, I was working like in a supermarket. And I was just kind of doing that, and then doing like, a few little gigs on the side. And instead of when I started busking, it just completely, like, just switched over where it was, to be, to be really honest, like, it was like, what was making a day at the supermarket was what I was making an hour busking. And I’m not saying that everyone’s gonna make this busking. That’s why people always ask me, even though I don’t say how much I actually make, you know, you can ask one chicken shop, and another chicken shop how much they make in a day and it’s gonna be very different and thier selling the same product. So it’s different things location, where you are, what you’re singing, so. But yeah, but for me, busking was, it just allowed me to make a lot more money, it allowed me to put more money into my music. That’s when I was then, I then I fund raised to be able to fund my first release. And then afterwards, when I got more of a name for myself got used to being out there. Performing, which was about back then it was about three times a week busking because more people saw me then, like all of my biggest clients now the work that whole before COVID. They found me through busking. And it was, and they just didn’t question anything. Because I always see as like, you’re like an active billboard, like people hear how you sound. They don’t have to go online or look at some fancy video, of course, those things help in terms of the broader market, but they hear you and they’re like, oh, I remember this. I like it. They know what they’re paying for. And for me, especially being acoustic act where I play the music myself, and I play the guitar, even though not everyone wants an acoustic act, it’s financially it’s better for me, because they’re like, oh, I don’t have to pay for a band I can just have you. So it’s, so it was great for me in that way. And then like built up my clients, and then like, a few years on like, like, for the past, like two years. A lot of my income came from repeat clients, to be honest, like, they just, they think about another event, they say, oh, you’re going to be perfect for it. And so yeah, that’s how it was really. So yeah, so first, it was like mainly busking, and then it was more clients. And now it’s more online, obviously, it’s not the same amount. It’s a small amount now, because a lot of people are asking for donations, a lot of donations are being given. So I just see this as like, I’m in a bit of a yeah, the growing pain, the research period of like, you know, how I’m gonna make my music more accessible, but still make it as personal as busking. My short answer.

 

Katherine Ann Byam  13:14  

And you like, you talk about vulnerability a lot. And I think this is a key to your music, right? It’s like, I think that’s what happened to me when I first heard you, right, I felt vulnerable in the moment that I heard you sing, and tell me what that means to you. Because you talk about this a lot. 

 

Sherika Sherard  13:30  

I think, for me, it’s like, it’s kind of just truly seeing yourself. And it’s all the bad stuff, and all the good stuff. And it’s actually not being too attached to it. Because I always say like, you know, some people get upset, because I call them a bit of a snowflake. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But, you know, emotions are a great thing. Like they can they can, they can be negative, but they’re still like a great part of being human. And I think now everyone’s like, self diagnosing themselves, where they’re saying, oh, I went through this in my past. And of course, you have to do that. Sometimes you go through things in your past life, and it’s good to look back on it, but you’ve got to, like love yourself while doing that. So even when you make mistakes, even when you make the same mistakes again, and I’m like, why am I still here? It’s like you’ve got to, you’ve got to accept yourself in that situation. It’s like I always think, the way we talk to ourselves in our heads, would you talk to your best friend like that or your or your relatives like that? You wouldn’t so yeah, that to me is vulnerability where it’s like, it’s alright to be emotional, but it’s not to be so hard on yourself, you know, not to be so, so stuck in in how you feel, you know, it is just a feeling and sometimes you have to you just have to accept it and you’re like, why did I do that? But maybe tomorrow I’ll do the same thing or maybe tomorrow I’ll change but that’s just life.

 

Katherine Ann Byam  14:53  

Yeah, on that note and on that note about vulnerability. I would like to invite you to share a song with the people who are listening. Okay, so I am going to give you full stage, so take it away.

 

Sherika Sherard  15:12  

Since yeah, since we’re on the topic of vulnerability, I think it was this song that made me be able to you know, just realise those things that I just talked about in terms of yeah, just kind of get out of your rut. Like yeah, life is hard, but you know, there’s a lot of things to be grateful for. And there’s a lot of things to look forward to. So this song is called ‘lonely in a crowded room’, I actually wrote it at a time where I was, I was actually at my mum’s house and everyone was in a great mood except me. And I was just like, well what’s going on here? I just need to get over myself really because there’s loads of things that I’ve achieved this year that I’m happy about and there’s loads of things I haven’t and that’s okay, so yeah.

 

No, no, no, no, no, no sometimes I feel this life is never enough. So much love around me but I’m stuck in a rut no fame no fortune just a house in my name. Guess I never liked that bitter taste of champagne, does it get easier? Am I just getting greedier? That is so hard, needing something money can’t buy. No, no no, I Know I’ve only got myself to blame, lonely in a crowded room. I’m sick of wasting my time, forgetting what life has done for me, done for me. What it already did. Yeah, maybe I should realise, when it’s been taken away from me, lonely in a crowded room. No, no, no, no, no, no some say I’m out of touch. Because I counted all my blessings but it’s never enough, no, I’ve been competing, comparing all just to feel complete,  knowing it’s a waste of time. Does it get easier? Should I be blaming the media? Painting pictures, posting stories feeding a lie, no, no, no, I know I’ve only got myslef to blame, lonely in a crowded room. I’m sick of wasting my time. Forgetting what life has done for me, done for me. What it already did, yeah, maybe I should realise, when it’s been taken away from me. Lonely in a crowded room, no, no, no, no, no. Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, no, no, lonely in a crowded room.

 

Katherine Ann Byam  19:03  

God, that was awesome. That was absolutely fantastic. Thank you so much for sharing that sound with us. We have a few comments, so, Amy says yes, that’s such a good reminder asking yourself if you would talk to a friend that way. This is about vulnerability. How can how can people find you? What’s the best place for people to find you and follow your work because I would love to support you as well.

 

Sherika Sherard  19:30  

Oh, appreciate that. Yeah, it’s Sherika Sherard. So that’s S H E R I K A, S H E R A R D. And yeah, I’m on Instagram. I’m on Facebook. I just joined Twitch, it’s very new to me. I don’t know what I’m doing. I just feel like it’s all gameers on there. But apparently that’s one of the next things that people are jumping on to so I’ve just started to check that out. But yeah, like I’ve got a website as well. So yeah, All my stuff’s on spotify as well.

 

Katherine Ann Byam  20:01  

Okay, perfect. So I’m going to share all the links in the feed later on so everyone can have it. And I’ll make sure that they all check in with you and give you some support. So thanks very much. Just want to give you a big round of applause. Thanks for keeping on and thanks for continuing your journey to be an amazing creative. 

 

Sherika Sherard  20:22  

Thank you, take care. 

 

Katherine Ann Byam  20:25  

This episode was brought to you today by the Courageous Career Club. Have you picked up your own copy of ‘Do What Matters: The Purpose Driven Career Transition Guidebook’? To find out how you can get your copy, as well as resources that go alongside it. Visit my website, www Katherine Ann byam.com or engage with me on the socials. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.