Shara Worden is a musical renaissance woman. The indie star known as My Brightest Diamond developed her vocal chops in church and chamber choirs as a teen, studied opera in college, then became an in-demand arranger after some mentoring from the National's secret weapon, Aussie composer Padma Newsome. Most recently, she's been collaborating with David Byrne, playing New York City's Lincoln Center with pop-loving classical ensemble yMusic and singing lullabies to her newborn son, Constantine.
I spoke with Worden about her newest projects, her collaboration with Byrne and her Feb. 5 show at the Memorial Union Rathskeller.
There hasn't been a ton of action on the My Brightest Diamond website lately. Where have you been hiding out?
I released a record called Penelope in October with the Signal orchestra, which I haven't really promoted on the My Brightest Diamond site, and I just had my American Songbook concert at the Allen Room at Lincoln Center. I did about 35 minutes' worth of new chamber music for that, which was really exciting. I was also in a Matthew Barney film and spent a month in Detroit for that, most of it on a barge on River Rouge. I think it's going to be a seven-part film, an opera. And Owen Pallet just released a little EP with instrumentals and one song of his that I sang. It came out for free online in December.
Tell me about working on David Byrne's 2009 release Here Lies Love.
Here Lies Love is a project that started out as a musical theater piece about Imelda Marcos. David had a different woman sing on each song for the record, so I was privileged enough to sing a duet with him. My song's about this time when Imelda had fallen in love with this guy who was coming out of prison after seven years.
Can you drop a few hints about your upcoming Madison show?
I will have a drummer and a bass player with me, along with ukuleles and autoharps and guitars. We'll be doing a mixture of some old things and some new ones.