“I think there’s a benefit to not being with a label and self-financing, because I have a lot more freedom,” says musician Sharon DuBois, who just completed her latest album (Into Light) after almost three years of work and a personal investment of approximately $14,000.
“When you pay for it yourself, you can be more creative. If I had to stick with a budget, I wouldn’t have been able to use Christian McBride when he became available. Nobody’s telling me what box I need to fit into. I also had the luxury of time on this project — without people pushing me or exerting outside pressure. On my previous albums, I stressed out a lot because of that.”
DuBois works as a yoga instructor and a holistic health practitioner to pay the bills; she also teaches music as an independent contractor for the San Diego Unified School District. She’s been involved with yoga all of her life.
“I started practicing yoga when I was three years old back in Canada. My gym teachers were from India and I learned it from them.”
A serious accident led to her current occupation.
“In the 1990s, I was working on a cruise line and I fell 75 feet. They wanted to do surgery but I decided to heal myself through yoga, massage, and acupuncture. It was a lifesaver for me. It seemed like a natural progression, so I became certified in 1996 and started teaching at the YMCA. I help people facilitate their own healing; it’s kind of preventative medicine and I know that it works.”
DuBois estimates it took 175 hours of yoga instruction to pay for Into Light, which was produced by John Staten, who also plays drums on the record. Now that it’s done, she can relax.
“It’s a load off of my shoulders, for sure. I’m excited to pay off my credit card and start saving for the future. That’s huge.”
“This is an album about loss,” she said. “I had been working on a lot of these tunes with Nicki Carano, who passed away suddenly on January 31 in 2016. Two years earlier, my teacher and mentor Daniel Jackson died. The album is dedicated to them. There is a lot of sadness in the music, but also joy, because when people die they also become the light.”