Shannon Sherrell pays tribute to Aaliyah, her favorite artist

Remembering EP in honor of Aaliyah cover. Photo courtesy Shannon Sherrell

One night in 1998, “Are You That Somebody” was playing on the radio and woke 6-year-old Shannon Sherrell.  That song impacted Sherrell to the point that she created an EP in honor of Aaliyah, who sang the song, and the sound she brought to the R&B world.

“Aaliyah has always been one of my favorite artists. Before I started doing the EP, I wanted to do some kind of EP, I didn’t know for sure,” Sherrell said. 

 Sherrell and her boyfriend sat down and talked about it, which is how “Remembering in honor of Aaliyah” came to life as an EP.

 The EP was released on Sept. 18.  It consists of four of Sherrell’s favorite Aaliyah songs, “4 Page Letter,” “Come Over,
I Don’t Wanna” and “Try Again.”

On Sept. 7, she released a video for her “I Don’t Wannasingle.

This EP is dedicated to those who love R&B. Sherrell has always loved R&B music and is an R&B singer at heart. She said that this EP has the vibe of real R&B — not “gimmicky R&B.”

That is one of the reasons why Sherrell wanted to honor Aaliyah. Aaliyah’s music told a story.

Paula Delhpenha, a friend of Sherrell’s and a songwriter, said, “I think it’s dope. People are meeting a new artist, but they also know these songs because it’s such a familiar artist. But they also get to hear her voice and Shannon’s version of these old, classic songs. I think Shannon executed it well.”

Sherrell, a graduate of Florida State, believes the EP accomplished what it was it meant to do.

“It’s great to be able to remember an artist, such as Aaliyah,” Sherrell said.

Sherrell is a successful entrepreneur. She is the owner of a Tallahassee spa and beauty salon, SSBeauty. She is also an author. Sherrell wrote a book, “God Is the Recipe,” that was published last year. Now she is adding songwriter and artist to her resume.

“I have been singing consistently and I’ve also been doing hair since the age of four. So, I figure you know, you get these gifts and talents for a reason. I’ve already done a lot as far as my hair talent goes. My business is thriving and I can now take a step away or delegate my time between the music and hair. So now, it’s just time for me,” Sherrell said.

Sherrell has been singing since she was 4 years old. The first time she performed was at a family church in Lakeland, and she has been singing ever since. She said that she always knew that she wanted to be singer. She has finally begun that journey as independent artist in 2020.

Ollie Mae Albert, her grandmother, said, “I try to encourage her (Shannon) that you have to reach for the sky and never stop reaching for your golden light. And that you have to work hard for whatever you want.” Sherrell went on an eight city “American Idol” audition tour. She was determined to make her dreams come true.

Although she was not chosen, she said it was a great experience.

She said she learned how to be able to be told no and still know that she has what it takes.

“It just wasn’t my time. And like I said, timing is everything and I do feel as though this is the time for me. “American Idol” was something that really got me ready and more confident than I’ve ever been,” Sherrell said.

This “Remembering” EP in honor of Aaliyah is just the beginning of Sherrell’s singing career. She is working on her own album with the help of Delhpenha. She recently had a performance at the Black Archives on Monday with some poets from Voices. So, people should be on the lookout for Shannon Sherrell.