Sheila E. Anderson, whose moniker, “Queen of Hang,” is a mover and shaker in the world of art, most notably in jazz. Much focus is placed upon the artists and rightfully so, yet Ms. Anderson is feeding and affecting the scene in myriad ways. She has always taken on the challenges of creating opportunities for herself, developing formats that exist outside the box. In addition to being an on-air-host she is an author, a writer, emcee and moderator. In 1995, she was hired by WBGO, Newark, 88.3FM to host Sunday Morning Harmony, where she now hosts Weekend Jazz After Hours, Salon Sessions and the Sunday Night Music Mix. Ms. Anderson has learned from the musicians whom she spins, "I feel as though radio programming should function much like a live performance. My best shows happen when I am feeling completely free to move with a certain flow and program according to my emotions," Ms. Anderson explains. These are not the words of some novice who just likes jazz music.
Not one to rest on her laurels and looking to immerse herself further into Jazz culture, that year, Ms. Anderson created The Art of Jazz, a weekly 30-minute TV program for Time Warner Cable in New York City. The show earned her a Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN) Award for Community Media. A virtual one-woman production team, she scheduled the guests, wrote the scripts and even edited various shows. The Art of Jazz, which reached some half million viewers, had featured Jazz luminaries like Ron Carter, Eric Reed, Russell Malone, Regina Carter, Javon Jackson, T. S. Monk, Monty Alexander and Benny Golson the late Leon Thomas, Mark Murphy and Attila Zoller.
A native of Buffalo, NY, Ms. Anderson's unique individual career path began in 1973 at the age of 16 when she was elected New York State Youth President of the NAACP, a position she held for four years under the regime of Roy Wilkins. She then continued, in 1977, to be elected to the NAACP's National Board of Directors, staying on until 1981. These fecund years in her young life set the precedent for the leadership and cultural and artistic awareness that she would later unveil in her present career status as a ground breaker in her field.
By 1983, Sheila decided to try her hand in the publishing field, book production, starting with Random House, moving next to Grove Press, John Wiley and Sons, and W.H. Freeman & Sons, Inc. then later entering into the print manufacturing side as a sales rep. Leadership has always been her blood, which explains why she held yet another presidential position at the Bookbinders' Guild of New York from 1995-97. Eventually, she became a New York column staff writer for the Caribbean-based Oceana magazine then a columnist for the Jazz Magazine, Hot House.
Ms. Anderson understands the importance of developing communication skills. To that end, she taught "Public Speaking" at Union County College in Cranford, New Jersey to children between the ages of 11-14 for their Kids in College program. She states, "As a teenager, I had a crash course in speaking when I was in the NAACP, through that experience I was able to build self confidence. In teaching the children I believe that I was giving them valuable information that would help them when they entered the adult world." Ms. Anderson feels a sense of responsibility in sharing her knowledge and experience to as many young people as she can.
She continues to share her deep knowledge and passion for music, all music, not only jazz. Her first book, "The Quotable Musician: From Bach to Tupac" was published in March 2003 (Allworth Press.) Her second book, "How to Grow as A musician: What All Musicians Must Know to Succeed" also published by Allworth Press was released in July 2005. In 2010 Skyhorse Publishing acquired Allworth Press and subsequently repackaged and renamed “The Quotable Musician” to “The Little Red Book of Musicians’ Wisdom.” Ms. Anderson is currently revising, “How To Grow As A Musician.” Pub date to follow. November 2019, the second edition of “How To Grow As A Musician: What All Musicians Must Know To Succeed” (Allworth Press) was released.
In addition to her on air and emcee work, as a freelance professional producer, her producing credits include, since its’ inception, the Somerville Jazz festival, now the Central Jersey Jazz Festival. Ms. Anderson has worked extensively with Jazzmobile, Inc. as an emcee, a programing consultant for their “Saturday Jazz Workshop” and co-producer of the 2013 & 2014 Harlem Jazz Shrines and Jazzmobile’s Summerfest. In 2002, as Manager of Public Programs at the Newark Museum, Ms. Anderson began to produce their Jazz in the Garden Series; no longer on staff, she continues to curate the series.
Sheila E. Anderson a graduate of Baruch College, is a (2017) Columbia University Community Scholar, a inaugural Dan Morgenstern Fellow by the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers-Newark (2020) and resides in Harlem, NYC.