Shara Nelson was the vocalist for Massive Attack before setting off ‘down that road’ on her own. But where did that road lead?
Born in London in 1965, singer Shara Nelson began performing aged 18 in the early 1980’s with the band The Circuit and recorded the singles “Aiming At Your Heart” and “Can’t Get Over You”, although neither did anything at all. She went solo in 1986 and released two further singles, “Standing Ovation” and “Love’s Hit You” but by 1989, was working with DJ’s and producers The Wild Bunch. Robert Del Naja, Adrian Thaws, Grant Marshall and Andrew Vowles from the team formed their own group the following year and called themselves Massive Attack and took Shara with them. Their first single, “Daydreaming”, barely touched the charts but in early 1991, the follow up, “Unfinished Sympathy”, did.
“Unfinished Sympathy” would prove a huge hit all across Europe and finally peaked at No.13 in the UK, although over time, approval and support for the song only increased and currently it has sold over half a million copies in their home country. Shara was the main vocalist on their debut album, “Blue Lines”, which hold a double Platinum certification in the UK and featured on the third single to be released, “Safe From Harm”. The song went top 40 across Europe and broke the dance chart in America. Now very well known, particularly for her appearance in the video of “Unfinished Sympathy”, Shara kick started her solo career and began writing material for her debut album. She finally surfaced in 1993 with the lead single, “Down That Road”, which reached No.19 in the UK and No.109 in America.
Shara’s album, “What Silence Knows”, followed in September 1993 and although it only reached No.22, it received a Gold certification for 100,000 copies sold. The album was shortlisted for the Mercury Music prize of 1994 (along with Dina Carroll‘s “So Close” and PJ Harvey’s “Rid Of Me”) and included three further top 40 hits with “One Goodbye In Ten” (No.21), “Uptight” (No.19) and “Inside Out” (No.34), while “Nobody” stopped just short of the UK top 40. Shara returned in 1995 with her follow up, “Friendly Fire”, which featured the top 30 hit “Rough With The Smooth”. The album charted at No.44 in the UK. Shara put a halt to her solo career once more and began recording with other acts from 1996 onwards, providing vocals for the US dance chart top ten hit “Sense of Danger” for the group Presence.
She did, however, align herself with new Bond composer David Arnold’s side project in 1997, “Shaken And Stirred: The David Arnold James Bond Project”, on which she recorded her version of Shirley Bassey’s “Moonraker” from the 1979 film of the same name. For the next ten years, Shara recorded with a number of acts including UK electronic duo Air Cuba, rapper Kasha Rae and producer Adrian Sherwood. Shara seemed to of ‘lost the plot’ a bit after 2006 and made the headlines in 2011 when DJ Pete Tong obtained a restraining order against her for harassment of him and his wife, for which Shara also received a 12 month community order and community service sentence. Since 2012, Shara has recorded a number of new tracks and has also recorded with The Artful Badger (2013) and NUfrequency (2014).
Shara is rumoured to currently be working with producer Simon Britton (David Gray, Alexandra Burke, Leona Lewis) on new material that should surface in 2021. Let’s see shall we…