Shara Nova
Songwriter and Multi-Instrumentalist
Detroit, MI
2015 USA Fellow

This award was generously supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Born in diamond-rich Arkansas and then raised all around the country, songwriter, multi-instrumentist, singer and composer Shara Nova came from a musical family of traveling evangelists. Having decided to pursue a musical degree, she went on to study operatic voice at The University of North Texas. After moving to New York via Moscow, she chose to focus on arranging and began studying classical composition with composer / performer Padma Newsome (Clogs). Nova then began issuing recordings as her chamber pop band, My Brightest Diamond, releasing four albums: Bring me the Workhorse (2006), A Thousand Sharks’ Teeth (2008), All Things Will Unwind (2011), and This is My Hand (2014). Recent years have found Nova in the role of composer as much as songwriter. She has received numerous composer commissions that include work for the yMusic ensemble at Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series (2011), Brooklyn Youth Chorus (2012), Brooklyn Rider (2012), Young New Yorkers’ Chorus (2013), Nadia Sirota (2013), Clara Schumann Children’s Choir (2014), Roomful of Teeth (2015), and So Percussion (2015). Nova has performed her works with the San Francisco Symphony, BBC Concert Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony, American Composers Orchestra, and the Indianapolis Symphony. Additionally, many composers, songwriters, and filmmakers have sought out Nova’s distinctive voice, including David Lang, David Byrne, Sarah Kirkland Snider, Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner, Steve Mackey, The Decemberists, Laurie Anderson, Meshell Ndegeocello, Matthew Ritchie, and Matthew Barney.

Portrait photo courtesy the artist.

  • Artwork by Shara Nova
    From the Opera You Us We All.
  • Artwork by Shara Nova
    Rehearsing with My Brightest Diamond
  • Artwork by Shara Nova
    My Brightest Diamond album cover, This Is My Hand.
Artwork by Shara Nova Artwork by Shara Nova Artwork by Shara Nova