Musician of the MonthAn interview with Sheridan Archbold
By: Dennis M. Kelly
DK: Good evening Sheridan, thank you so much for your time today. How are you?
SA: I am happy as always, thank you.
DK: Glad to hear it! I must admit, when I first learned of you, I was a bit surprised to find a young man such as yourself with such amazing accomplishments under his belt already. The more I learned, the more impressed I became, with singing in four additional languages besides English, of course, having won multiple awards and that is only scratching the surface, isn’t it?
SA: Yes, I like to sing in Italian, English, German, French, Russian and Tagalog (Filipino). So, actually, it is 6 languages.
DK: That is amazing! I don’t know how you do it. Now you were born into a musical family; can you let us know your family’s musical background?
SA: Yes, my mother, Aelita Archbold, is a songwriter, an accomplished musician, a choir conductor and has a degree in Audio Engineering from SAE in Australia. I was fortunate to have inherited a strong voice from my father, Edgar Archbold and perfect pitch from my mother.
DK: Quite impressive! What was it about opera inspired you to want to sing?
SA: I have followed Maestro Pavarotti and Bocelli on Youtube and attended one of their concerts in Chicago. Also, I believe that God made me for a purpose, when I sing, I feel His pleasure. My dream is to bring happiness to people with my singing.
DK: How did you get involved with singing at your church?
SA: My mother was asked to conduct the children’s choir two to three times a week.
DK: How long had you sung at the church for?
SA: One year.
DK: That is a pretty good length of time to have gained some good experience. When and where did you start with your vocal training?
SA: In the Summer of 2012 at Merit School of Music in Chicago.
DK: How did you balance your vocal training out with your regular schooling?
SA: I am home schooled.
DK: Oh, OK. When did you start learning the other languages and what language did you start with first?
SA: The Summer of 2012 and I started with Italian.
DK: Did you have any troubles learning all the languages?
SA: I have dyslexia, but I have an excellent auditory memory. I’ve struggled with dyslexia for many years now, but my love for singing and opera music has really pushed me to overcome many challenges that have come me way.
DK: I am sorry to hear that about your dyslexia, but you must indeed have excellent auditory memory to be able to have learned all that you have with such proficiency. Also, I am impressed with your attitude towards it as well, you pretty much have to take that approach with all things and not let anything stand in your way of your goals. Which is your favorite language to speak and which is your favorite language to sing?
SA: We speak English and Russian at home. But my favorite language to sing in is Italian.
DK: What language will you be learning next?
SA: I am still learning to sing in Russian, French and Tagalog right now.
DK: For all that you’ve learned, it no doubt takes a lot of discipline (especially being home schooled) to stay focused and motivated, how have you managed to do it as well as you have?
SA: My Mother is behind me in everything.
DK: What do you do outside of music? Do you play any sports?
SA: I like Judo and bicycling. When I have time, I like to try teaching my dog Charli to sing opera. Charli hasn’t made much progress yet, but he is patient student and willing to learn. (laughs)
DK: (laughs) Good luck with Charli and hey, with all that you’ve already accomplished, I wouldn’t be surprised if you do get him to sing opera. How have your grades been and how are they now? Do you do quite well with your studies?
SA: My grades are very good in music and Math, but reading and understanding is difficult, because of my dyslexia.
DK: Completely understandable but knowing you, I am sure you’ll not let it stop you from accomplishing your goals, right?
DK: Some of your training came from Chicago’s Merit School of Music, how long were you with them?
SA: A little over a year.
DK: Do you follow any vocal warm up routines prior to rehearsal or performing?
SA: I have a weekly hour and a half voice lesson and another hour per week of acting lessons. Then my mother teaches me for about two hours each day, which includes 30-40 minutes of warming up my voice to specific routine exercises.
DK: Between your lessons and a healthy amount of warm ups, it definitely seems to be helping, you have excellent range and control with your voice. Speaking of health, what is your diet like? Do you eat what you want or do you avoid certain foods?
SA: I am a vegetarian. We avoid junk food and meats.
DK: Good man! I wish I could! (laughs) When did you start incorporating acting and dancing into your performances?
SA: About a year ago when I started taking acting lessons.
DK: Has there been anything you learned with your acting coach that helped you with your vocal performances?
SA: Oh, yes, definitely, Kevin is really expanding my performance. He is a very creative and talented teacher.
DK: Your demeanor on stage is impeccable, professional and incredibly polite, a testament to your parents, do you ever feel nervous on stage or are you comfortable in front of people?
SA: Oh yes, I did get nervous there for a while, but now that I’ve gotten much more experience, I am not nervous any more like before.
DK: That is good to hear, it really just takes getting used to it, is all. Do you rate your own abilities? If so, how would you rate them?
SA: I am just starting to develop these talents and abilities that God has endowed me with. If it were not for my parents, I would not be doing what I am doing.
DK: Understood. Your mom wrote the piece entitled It’s Time for Love and Kindness, which you performed on a YouTube video (which you can watch below). The song was also dedicated to Oprah Winfrey for all her great work that she has done and continues to do for people around the world. Has your mom written other works for you to perform as well?
SA: Oh yes, Aelita, my mother has written many of my arrangements and songs, that I perform including a tribute to Steve Jobs entitled Steve.
DK: Out of all the pieces in your repertoire, what are some of your favorite pieces to sing?
SA: My favorite is Time to Say Good bye, next O Sole Mio, the Voices Of Spring in German, Funiculi, Funicula, It’s Time For Love And Kindness, United We Stand, Pray For America and many more.
DK: You’ve had some tremendous accomplishments in 2012 and 2013, what are your goals now for the future?
SA: My dream is to make people happy with my singing and to get a recording contract, as well as the possibility of nationwide and International concerts in America, England, Russia and Europe. Some other goals I have are to record two platinum albums and to sing with Josh Groban, Maestro Bocelli and Dmitri Hvorostovsky. I would also like to sing for many charities as well.
DK: Do you have any non-music goals you’d like to try to achieve?
SA: I would like to fly my own airplane and have a studio.
DK: Awesome! Well, as I stated at the beginning of our interview, it truly has been an honor learning more about you and I hope this feature will help you get a little closer to attaining your goals. I wish you nothing but tremendous success in all that you do Sheridan. Thank you once again for your time!
SA: Thank you sir for your kindness.
DK: You are most welcome!
At 12 years old, Sheridan is the youngest classical crossover, operatic singer.
Sheridan was born in Chicago, Illinois to a musical family. He made his first tune, when he was 3 months old. At the age of 3, he was actively singing in church. After listening to performances by Luciano Pavarotti, Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Andrea Bocelli, he started to sing with an unusual opera voice for his age. It was so impressive, that there was no doubt, that he was going to sing opera. In the interview with the local newspaper in Peoria, after winning a vocal competition in the summer of 2012, Sheridan said, that he felt relaxed, when he sings opera.
The Daily Herald, described his voice as full of poise. Sheridan began singing at music festivals and talent competitions, where he has surprised the audiences with his unforgettable voice, unique look and the way he performs. Sheridan’s performance stands out of other singers of his age, because he uses the elements of acting and dancing, while he performs the classical repertoire. Sheridan uses his bright comedian skills, if it fits into the song. Sheridan showed his comedian skills, when he smoothly implemented the character of Charlie Chaplin in “Where Is Love” from the Musical “Oliver”.
Sheridan is inspired by Maestros Luciano Pavarotti, Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Andrea Bocelli, in whose steps he follows eagerly.
Sheridan has inherited a powerful and extraordinary voice with a unique timbre, along with a style that appeals to young and old alike.
Recently, Sheridan performed a one-hour concert at Chicago’s Festa Italiana on Taylor Street, with the youngest known mezzo-soprano in the world – the incredible Anastasia Lee. Their concert was exclusively in the Italian language, which emotionally impacted the audience. The Director of Entertainment for the 2013 Festa Italiana (Taylor Street Chicago), said about Sheridan’s performance: “ What we discovered on the event day was beyond our expectations. The young talent was indeed talented, and wowed our audiences for that evening. The set was filled with Italian Opera classics that kept the audience wanting more. From our sound team, to the event staff, we were all delighted to have worked with Sheridan this year. We hope to include him in our roster of Italian entertainment next year.”