Hi Shaylan, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I am a native of Phoenix, Arizona. I was born into a family of musicians and singers on both my maternal and paternal sides of the family. My father plays keys, and his father also played keys, so I’d definitely say music is in my bloodline. I started taking piano lessons at age seven which kickstarted and gave me a musical foundation. I was also a church kid that was always at choir rehearsals and services as I was in the youth choir that my dad played for.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It definitely has not been a smooth road. As a teenager, I learned that everybody isn’t necessarily for you as they say they are. I’ve had folks talk down to me, tell me I’m unqualified to do what I do, tell me that I should stay in my lane, and really just tried to convince me that I simply wasn’t good enough. The reality though, is that their words had nothing to do with me but had everything to do with their own insecurities. Unfortunately, those words and negative talk got in my head and it took me years to come to the realization that I was good enough and that I could accomplish anything with God on my side. Folks never believe me when I say this, but I am honestly very shy and an introvert. I get really nervous and anxiety when I have to be up in front of people. I had to learn how to break out of that as you can really miss amazing experiences and opportunities being like that. I read a post on Facebook that said, “Being too humble will have you overlooked, underpaid, and underbooked”, and I felt that in my core!
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I am a musician, emerging recording artist, songwriter, teacher, and visionary. For five years, I served in the capacity of Minister of Music and was the youngest person to serve in that capacity at Greater Bethel AME Church in Phoenix. I am very proud to have built up a successful music ministry highlighted by annual concerts that expanded every year, drawing in hundreds of people. We’d have a concert and the next week, someone would ask when the next one was going to happen lol I do a lot within the African Methodist Episcopal Church. I have to lead the worship and music for numerous meetings and conferences. I enjoy attending and facilitating clinics and workshops related to music ministry and ensuring that what we do is effective and I presently serve as the Worship Director for the 5th Episcopal District Young People’s and Children’s Division of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Great things have been happening to me and for me in 2020, I have released two original songs entitled “He Will Supply” and “In This Place”. Both songs are available for purchase and download on all digital platforms.
Additionally, I’m very excited to wrap up the year by having my very first virtual concert here in Atlanta, where Sunday Best Season 3 Winner LeAndria Johnson is one my special guests. You definitely don’t want to miss this concert! Ultimately, I am an avid believer in pursuing excellence. I am a teacher by trade and teach financial literacy to high school students. Even with my students, I push them to think big and beyond their current circumstances as there is so much waiting for them out in the world. I teach my students to be better than mediocre and I carry that same attitude with me when it comes to music ministry. Many people say I’m an old soul and you know, I’ll take that. I’m an old soul with a contemporary flare which allows me to bridge the gap between older and younger generations and enhance the overall congregational worship experience.
Do you have any advice for those looking to network or find a mentor?
A friend once told me there are two things you need to do to be successful in this life. 1) Practice. 2) Network. The practicing I pretty much had down. It’s the networking that needed some work. My advice is to be open and transparent about your skills. People will literally never know if you never say anything. And while the person you’re talking to may not be able to help you get to where you want to be, you never know who they’re connected to which reminds of how we must be cognizant of how we carry ourselves because we only get one shot at a first impression.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: shaylanrichardson.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shaylanrichardson/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shaylanrichardson
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTF5mOrGLoy7HZ0W7DWu7UQ