- Teaches students:
- Ages 5 to 18
- Teaching since:
- May 2014
Singer. Songwriter. Performer. Musician.
2015 Jazz Search West Winner. Former cast member of Fix My Choir on the Oxygen Channel. Up and coming Bay Area Artist. Read more..
Carrying a tune with angelic excellence. Conveying emotion through song and stage presence. Captivating an audience. For singer, songwriter and performer Shana Dinha it all began with "Phantom of the Opera."
An Assyrian-American born into a musical family, Shana’s musician family took her to see the play in London when she was 5 years old. It moved her. It inspired her. And she couldn’t stop singing once it ended – which turned out to be a good thing.
"When I don’t sing I’m not myself," she says.
Shana’s identity is a passionate artist, one who grew up invested in her craft. Unlike Phantom’s lead character she didn’t disappear in the face of the personal and professional challenges that came along with it. She revealed herself, embraced the spotlight, and used her talent, her faith, and the love in her heart to achieve award-winning acclaim.
In 2008 Shana was awarded The Superior Command Solo Performance from California Music Education Association. A year later she claimed an Outstanding Vocalist Award from Music in the Parks & toping it with another Superior Command Solo Performance from California Music Education Association in 2010. Then in 2015 following a turn on Oxygen reality television series "Fix My Choir," she melodically belted her way to victory at world-renowned jazz club Yoshi’s, winning the competition, Jazz Search West. Possessing the ear-catching ability to skillfully sing gospel and R&B as well as jazz, Shana’s gift is destined to keep on giving.
Born in Dallas, Texas and raised in Pleasanton, California, Shana’s desire to sing was encouraged by her parents. "They gave me every opportunity for music lessons and also put me in choirs, she recalls. Shana was introduced to gospel by singing in urban choirs, though she gravitated toward R&B and jazz. Unfortunately those genres weren’t the only things she became attracted to.
After high school Shana attended DeAnza College. It took her 4 years to finish a 2-year program and receive her Associate of Arts in Social and Behavioral Sciences. It was delayed by a run of self-sabotaging life choices. I wasn’t loving myself very much," she admits. "I was in a hole. I was dealing with depression."
Concerned for both her well-being and the future of her potential music career, Shana decided continuing her education was the key to her survival. With her life on track she pursued and was offered a scholarship to attend Musicians Institute in Hollywood. Her parents, however, were concerned she’d regress in that environment. Shana would find herself having a literal come to Jesus moment.
"I realized the best thing I could do in that moment was to go and find a gospel choir just to sing in church, she says.
Once Shana found a church choir to join she asked its director if they knew of any professional choirs. Shana was recommended to JaRon Thompson who is the cousin of Terrance Kelly, Artistic Director of Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir. This opportunity led to Shana working with a group called "Flow" that was managed by award-winning singer, composer, and Recording Academy member Nona Brown.
"Right away I got a gig singing backup with Josh Groban in front of 18,000 people," she says. "I felt an extreme amount of bliss I’d never felt before! I felt right at home. I felt at peace. It was like this is what I’m meant to do. That was a pivotal point in my life where music changed everything for me.
Although Shana feels no other music reaches the richness of jazz, she considers herself a well-rounded performer capable of singing various styles. Music and singing are part of her nature, something that’s carved into her heart and soul.
Shana says, "The only thing better than singing is more singing."
I work as a part-time, gigging musician and I am receiving my Bachelors of Music in Jazz Studies at the California Jazz Conservatory.