Conackamack teacher part of Grammy-winning album

Conackamack music teacher contributed to Grammy-winning album
Posted on 02/16/2023
This is the image for the news article titled Conackamack music teacher contributed to Grammy-winning albumConackamack Middle School music teacher Shamie Royston is among the composers on “New Standards Vol. 1,” which won this year’s Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Jazz Album.

“I was so happy and excited when I heard the announcement,” Royston said. “I knew all the musicians who performed on the CD and it was a true honor for my song to be a part of it.”

Royston’s contribution was the song “Uplifted Heart,” which she recorded on her own album “Beautiful Liar” four years ago.

“The inspiration was thinking about how people go through trials and tribulations, but somehow have to pull yourself out to a positive space,” she said. “You have to uplift yourself when no one will do it for you.”

instrumental music teacher

Rebekah Sterlacci, Piscataway’s director of visual and performing arts, called this “an exciting moment for Shamie's students and our whole district to witness.”

“This is such amazing news,” she said. “We are so fortunate to have Shamie here in Piscataway – showing our students what is possible. Shamie's contributions to the jazz community and to our community here are truly remarkable and there is no one more deserving of such an honor and achievement!”

The Grammy Award was the crowning achievement on what was already an exciting project for Royston. Terri Lyne Carrington, a multi-Grammy-winning artist, led the effort to create “New Standards: 101 Lead Sheets by Women Composers,” a book of music all written by women. The book was meant as a follow-up to “The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire,” a previous book publish in 2012 of jazz standards – all written by men.

“This project as a whole is groundbreaking and history-making,” Royston said.

instrumental music teacher

Carrington chose 11 songs from the book to be recorded as an album, and “Uplifted Heart” was among them.

“Terri Lyne Carrington asked me to send a few songs that I composed to be a part of the book, and this is one I sent that she really liked,” Royston said. “She also told me it is the most played song when the band performs live at concerts and goes on tour.”

Royston said that balancing her performing, composing, and teaching sides makes her better at all three.

“It has been a true blessing,” she said. “I bring all of these elements to my classroom teaching, and vice versa. When I go out to do clinics at colleges or go perform, I bring what I learn from teaching to the world and to my compositions. It has been a challenge to manage and juggle teaching, performing, and composing, but I am truly passionate about all three and want to give my 100 percent to all three crafts.

“It’s what makes me a well-rounded musician. The love of music is all in my soul.”