MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND // May 29-30, 2021
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Isaiah Sharkey

Saturday, May 23 | 1 pm | Meadow Stage

A native Chicagoan, guitarist Isaiah Sharkey spent his early years living in Cabrini Green. Perhaps as a precursor to his future career, he lived with his parents in a row house on a street that is now named for Curtis Mayfield.

Coming from a musical household, Sharkey was introduced to music at the age of four.  He decided he wanted to be a guitarist and asked his parents to purchase one.  Shortly thereafter, Sharkey started learning music under the close introduction of his father, Michael Sharkey. He would learn about different musical genres from gospel music, which came from growing up in the church, to jazz, R&B, Blues, Rock and Funk music.

It wasn’t long after that Sharkey would become noticed by other musicians in the Chicago area for being an emerging, new talent. Soon after, he started doing concerts in the church as well as sitting in local jazz club.

At the age of 14, Sharkey, along with his father and brothers, released their first album entitled, “Skyliner.” This album displayed Sharkey’s ability to play covers and some transcriptions from greats like Wes Montgomery and George Benson.

Subsequently, he started his recording career and served as a sideman for gospel artists such as Smokie Norful, Donald Lawrence and Vanessa Bell Armstrong. He also toured as lead guitarist for Ronald Isley and recorded two albums with him.

In 2009, Sharkey started working with artist D’Angelo on his third album, “Black Messiah”, which won the 2015 GRAMMY-award for best R&B album. Based on his work and contribution to the project, Sharkey also received his first GRAMMY.

Sharkey also has worked, recorded, and toured with several world-renown and GRAMMY-award winning artists including John Mayer, Patti Labelle, Christopher Martin of Coldplay, Paul Simon, Corrine Bailey Rae, Mike Posner, Keith Urban, Brian Mcknight, Boyz II Men, Lalah Hathaway, Raphael Saadiq, Chris Dave and the Drumhedz, Regina Bell, Ruben Studdard, Lupe Fiasco, Kelly Price, Faith Evans, Rance Allen, the Winans, the Clark sisters and many others.

Sharkey is poised to take center stage as he fuses together his background in Rock, Gospel, Jazz, R&B, Blues, and Funk to create an original sound with an unmistakable dose of soul.  His highly anticipated debut album “love.life.live”. Was released in September 2017 and earned him the iHeart Radio’s “Artist of the Month” award for his single “It’s a Shame” featuring DJ Jazzy Jeff.

You can see Sharkey on Cory Henry’s revival trio tour this year, along with John Mayer and his All-Star Band. Sharkey will also hit the road with his own band this summer.

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