INTERVIEW: Writing and producing songs, composing film themes, and creating music for advertising are distinct art forms. Or perhaps they are commercial enterprises. Or both. Doing all three quite well is a rare accomplishment but that’s what Shari Verona does, day in and day out in various studios from Florida to New York to Southern California. For the past seven years she has been writing and producing mainly in Miami, “But now I’m back in L.A. and am energized by the people on the move even if the traffic is not, lol!”
Taking It to the Next Level
What is impressive about Verona is her ability to interact with a wide variety of artists to rapidly create recordings that propel people and projects to the next level of success. Some big names in the music business send their new acts to Verona to write and create demos for songs you then end up hearing a few months later on albums, radio or TV. These deals are often conducted on a non-disclosure basis. “Sometimes they want things to be very hush-hush,” Verona admits, “but that just adds to the fun of these projects.”
All Styles of Music
She works in all styles of music but has a special affinity for R&B, having been partnered with a member of 2 Live Crew and was a writer/producer on tracks for rap artist E, Rough Ryders South, Rayzor Blaze, Polygram’s Shantel Baker, and The Delfonics (she created the “more” on the album “The Delfonics’ Greatest Hits. . . and More”). Other collaborators include Rodney Trotter, Dave Appel, Greg Williams, Motown’s J. Levine, Gary Hall, and Dave Waterbury (Pink, Paul McCartney, Spirit).
“When I was working at Platinum Studios,” she says, “it wasn’t unusual to be interacting with some really great artists.” Coming through those hallways were Ludacris, Rick Ross, Money Mark, Ghostface, Trick Daddy, Dirt Bag, Pitbull, Jacki-O, Big Tigger, Jolli Boi, Lil’ Jon, Uncle Luke, JT Money, and Fresh Kid Ice.
Music on Screen
Verona has a song in the “Mr. Honesty” reality show pilot, a song in the film “A Cabin In Time,” another in the film “Lost Everything,” and one in a new Fred Willard comedy. “Licensing songs is a big part of the business,” Verona says, “which is why we have assembled a large library of music in many genres.”
Verona gives good phone and good microphone, as evidence by her stint as the sidekick in “Matchola,” a dating radio program originally airing on Florida’s WVCG, which has since changed its call letters. She got the gig after writing the program’s theme song. Her quick wit in the studio when recording the track led to her being invited to move from the producer chair to the on-air talent role. “The show was a lot of fun but I have to admit I prefer being the producer rather than the personality.”
History of Success
Verona joined ASCAP at age seventeen and almost immediately had three songs signed to a music publishing company (Lovey Music.) When in her twenties, she received her first production contract from Joe Tarsia and ended up working with Philadelphia International, the legendary production company founded by Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff. In the nineteen nineties, she switched her PRO (performing rights organization) affiliation to BMI. “The songwriting continually moves forward,” she states, “with interesting ideas, fresh songs, and opportunities that come from unexpected places. That’s one of the things that you can look forward to in this industry: that you won’t ever get bored.”
A tiny dynamo, Verona has written and co-written with a who’s who of newcomers and old school hit makers. “The best thing about this business is you find yourself working with new projects and new songs all the time. It’s exciting.”
For more information: www.veronamusic.com