Official Biography (courtesy of Sparla Swa)
Solo on guitar, Sparlha is a velvetine clash of impeccable vocals and haunting modal chords. With her band comes a maddeningly satisfying concoction of solid Latin-tinged bass lines, intelligent and inventive beats, and a wildly roving jazz-rooted piano. Hers is a sound that ascends to Sade-like smoothness but with rougher rock edges, catchy hooks, and an international feel. Stunning, tender, contagious and wise, her songs speak about love, life and actualizing the true potential of the human spirit. She is a sure promise of wonder for music listeners of any genre.
Born in Stony Hill, Kingston, Jamaica, she began her travels early; from 4 months till her graduation from Stanford 17 years later, she lived in 8 states and 3 countries. Her cosmopolitan upbringing is easily reflected in her music, where you can hear influences as far reaching as Folk, Soul, Blues, Rock, Latin Jazz, Brazilian, African and classical Indian. Her musical mentors include Sade, Billie Holiday, early Nina Simone, Joni Mitchell, Astrud Gilberto, Ravi Shankar, Salif Keita, Miriam Makeba, and more recently Radiohead, Jeff Buckley, and Lizz Wright.
A devoted performer throughout high school and college, she cut her teeth on songwriting and the guitar during her sophomore year at Stanford, and continued on to gain respect in the Indie Bay Area music scene for an irrepressible talent. This led to her collaboration with international Hip-Hop artist and producer Carlos Mena on her first record "In The Distance". Then in September of 2004 she moved from California back to NYC and teamed up with the world-class musicianship of Shyam Das (Drums), Kwame Brandt-Pierce (Piano) Alex Hernandez (bass), and the management of Shawn Peters and Jeffrey Alston of Rebel Soul Records (Martin Luther and Cody Chestnutt). In less than a year she had headlined Joe's Pub to an audience of standing room only, featured on 2 compilations - the Woodstock Film Festival featured soundtracks for "Me Leve" on the Freed Pictures release of "Flavio", and on ONE with Pete Rock - as well as interviewed on Japan FM Network, a Japanese radio show with 10 million listeners.
Her recent musical exploits include securing a Japanese distribution deal for her debut album "In The Distance", licensing 2 songs (Love Addiction and Too Late) to the nationally syndicated TV show "Girlfriends", and having her music video chosen for airing on BETJ's Soul Sessions 3 times a day since April 21st. She has also been selected twice to perform at the NXNE Music Festival in Toronto, Canada, and also at the Atlantis Music Festival in Atlanta, Georgia. In January she opened for Bilal at London's premier venue for international music, the Jazz CafÃ©, 3 nights in a row. In May her band was chosen to perform at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) CafÃ© in collaboration with Sista Factory. She is also part "the International Gibson family" of guitars and music.
Since 2002 when she first began performing her own compositions, Sparlha independently sold nearly 4000 units combined of her two records, a home-recorded demo "Uprising", and her debut album "In The Distance", and generated audiences across the States, Canada, Europe and the UK, Japan, and the Caribbean.