Columbus Dispatch • Thursday November 17, 2016 5:00 AM
As a 4-year-old, Adria Shahid-Wilson danced to jazz in her living room, but it wasn’t until her late 30s that the soulful singer gained enough confidence to groove in public. Now 60, Shahid-Wilson has packed the past three decades of her life with performing the music — both solo and alongside the Columbus-based Conspiracy Band — she learned as a child.
Along the way, she’s picked up a few more genres: Jazz artist Betty Carter and blues-rock star Bonnie Raitt both rank as musical favorites.
Underneath the genre-spanning influences, though, Shahid-Wilson’s musical bedrock is made of the same stuff she twirled to as a girl.
“The best way to describe me is I’m a soul singer that loves jazz,” she said. The singer will appear at Notes tonight to release her latest album, “Warrioress of Love.”
Q: When did you start singing?
A: I was a late bloomer. I didn’t really start singing until my late 30s, and that’s when I started singing professionally. ... I think it’s a natural process of being in a music arena and having a profound love of music. I came from a musical family. My father was a jazz enthusiast. He played jazz for us when we were babies.
Q: Do you ever write your own music?
A: I had to break my ankle and not be able to move to write my own music. I wrote 10 songs (in July). It’s like God said, "You can’t sit still, so I’m going to make you sit to listen to what I have to say to you."
Q: What's the album about?
A: It’s based on life experiences, frustrations, shame. Being a Muslim female singer has a lot of negative connotations to it. It’s not fully explored yet. ... Most of the music I do is either love songs or songs of inspiration, hope, redemption, because I’ve personally had to find my way and study and research on my own. So being this age is a good thing because I’m not as susceptible to all the vices in the music business. I’m not a starry-eyed 18-year-old with my tongue wagging out wanting to be famous. I’m not trying to be famous but to fulfill my purpose with the gift God has given me.
Q: How do you prepare for a show?
A: Because I don’t play an instrument, I try to hear that song not just vocally but (also) musically. I have to know where all the highlights and accents are. That lets me know whether the musicians studied it or not. I’d love to articulate musically to them better. Singers, you’ve got to do more than just be able to sing nowadays to get the respect of your peers, especially the musicians.