TIDAL Rising Artist of the Week: Sharlene Sets Eyes On New Musical Heights
Our latest TIDAL Rising Artist of the Week is no stranger to show biz. Meet Dominican actress-turned-singer Sharlene, who—at 26—can say she’s topped Billboard’s Tropical charts consecutively with her singles “Mal de Amor” (featuring acclaimed Venezuelan duo Servando y Florentino), “Aqui Nadie Toca” (with Roc Nation artist Mozart La Para) and “Toy Enamorao” (also assisted by Mozart La Para and Nacho).
A cast member on several musicals, including Les Miserables and Evita, Sharlene joined a star-studded cast for the inaugural season of FOX’s Star in 2016. Shortly thereafter, she dropped a pair of impressive collaborations, one with Luny Tunes, Maluma and Don Omar on “La Fila,” and another with Don Omar on “Encanto.”
Sharlene’s unique musical style brings a fresh, youthful sound to the urban genre and merges reggaeton, merengue and electronic rhythms. Her latest offering, an audiovisual filmed in the elusive island of Cuba, capitalizes on new-wave trap en Español and appeals to pop and urban Latin fans alike. As the Universal Music Latin-signee continues to work toward taking her music to new heights, get acquainted with the burgeoning star in the below Q&A, and with a personally-curated playlist that appropriately puts on for Sharlene’s favorite female contemporaries.
Where did your career start?
I started my career in the Dominican Republic doing musical theater, so for me singing and acting came hand in hand, since my very beginning. I did musicals like evita, hairspray, les miserables, etc. So for me, I just always saw it hand in hand. I did prioritize acting at the beginning of my career, so that’s why I started doing film and television. Then I moved to Miami and did a show called Grachi for Nickelodeon, and that was three years of my life and rested that show with a lot of acting.
What happened after three years?
When I did Grachi, that evolved into a live show, and we toured so I got to sing again, because we did kind of a musical based on the show and with the characters. So again, I found myself wrapped, you know, between both worlds.
After that, I did a show for Telemundo called Pasion Prohibida, and thats when I decided to do my first original song for a character. So I wrote a song based on my character and then Telemundo loved it, and they started playing the song in every episode. I got great feedback from people, and that was the moment I decided that I wanted to pursue music as well.
So, that’s how you began to veer into music?
For me, that’s how it started. I’ve been experiencing a lot more in the writing process. Because I used to write poetry, when I was 13—that’s how it started for me—and then I started doing journalism, and that’s how I gained experience on that side side as well. I also write scripts. So, I’m a writer. I’m all over the place [Laughs]. But the end point is always to be able to express and create, so music was kind of a new vessel for me. So I had to explore with it first, and now I think I’ve definitely bloomed into what I wanted to be as a composer.
Would you say theater prepared you for your musical journey?
For sure. In fact, I do write my music in character voices. I think about who would say what, and I play around with tones as to who I am interpreting in the moment, so acting plays a very important role in my music.
Talk a little bit about your new single, because you filmed the video in Cuba… what was the inspiration behind the song and video?
Yeah, “Yo Pago Lo Mio.” First thing: I wanted to do trap because I like trap. But I’m against denigrating women. In the same breath, I think every genre can be used to express something—because a lot of people are like, ‘no don’t do trap, trap is dirty.’ And I don’t get that, trap is just another genre. You can do whatever you want with it. If you want to denigrate women with a ballad, you can do that as well.
As you know as Dominican and Cubans—we are neighbors, so we have a very big cultural influence. I grew up dancing son and cha-cha with my grandfather. So I wanted to mix trap with a vintage Caribbean sound, and that’s when I decided to mix it with cha-cha. I worked with Argentine producer Fedex Mendez, and on lyrics, with my girl Ale Alberti.
Very cool. And I take it you wanted to create something for women, something women like you can identify with?
I just came from a place of listening to a lot of songs that concern women being prepaid, or you know, for paid for by men—‘she’s mine, I buy her this, I buy her that.’ And I get that, there are women who live like that and I’m not judging nobody for it. But where I come from, I’ve worked all my life to get whatever I want, including paying for my own acting career. My mother, my aunts, my sister—these women have hustled all their lives. So the women that these men are singing about don’t represent me or the women I know. I wanted to write a song for girls who are not checking for men, who are not looking for men to support them economically. They want something more.
TIDAL is proud to announce the world's first music service with High Fidelity sound quality, High Definition music videos and expertly curated Editorial.