By: Nick Travis
The always entertaining Sheila Williams is back with Giddy Up!, a new show that she hopes will bring a bit of joy to all
Musicomedian Sheila Williams holds both music and comedy dear to her. Hence why she’s chosen to go by the “musicomedian” moniker. Singing and being funny ran in the family, so they both came naturally to her.
“I began singing when I was five. The very first song I ever remember singing was It’s a Heartache by Bonnie Tyler. I sang that on my neighbour’s picnic table,” said Williams. “And then I began just singing in the barn, because I grew up on a farm. I began singing in the band with my brothers and sister. My mother always sang and my father always sang and played accordion. Growing up my mother was very funny and her whole family, in fact. My father was more of a storyteller, so I perhaps have a mixture of both. Growing up we would always be exposed to her humour and her family’s humour, so we would always try to be funny. So it was always a sort of wonderful rapport of comedy in our house.”
A long & varied career
Her first big break would come from performing on the ferry between Port aux Basques and North Sydney, Nova Scotia.
“My first real break was when I was chosen to sing on the Marine Atlantic ferries during the summer back and forth from Port Aux Basque to North Sydney, or Argentia to North Sydney. I did that as a summer gig sort of thing, and then I studied in Vancouver and became a music therapist. Then Peter Halley invited me to work with him with Spirit of Newfoundland. I did that then for 20 years, and with that I also did motivational speaking.
“I host many fundraisers here in Newfoundland and in Canada. I also have screeched in over 25,000 people. During my work with Spirit of Newfoundland I also did outside engagements and did private gigs and, you know, just created my own brand through that as a musicomedian.”
Williams newest show: An Evening with Sheila Williams: Giddy Up! is a variety show with a musical comedy twist, according to her. The inspiration for this newest show is very dear to Williams.
“It’s a tribute to my mother, who passed two and a half years ago. It really encapsulates Newfoundland comedy, Newfoundland talent. So it’ll be a series of music, guests, comedy, full band, beautiful choir and dancers. There are elements of surprise in this show that people are just not expecting.”
For Williams, the best part of the show is the creative process.
“That’s the best part of it. That’s the absolute best is that creating the show and what it is that we want to do. Deborah Wells Smith is my co-producer, and she and I lovingly get together every week and prepare something for the show.”
A mother’s support
Sheila Williams is an entertainer at heart. Being dedicated to her craft she hopes that if people take one thing away from this show, or any of her shows, it’s a slight reprieve from their day-to-day worries.
“My goal in life is to lift people up. I want people to feel better when they leave me, and that’s just the truth,” said Williams. “If I can make people laugh then my God, my job is done, you know? Let them just laugh and have a good time. When people leave I want them to realize that it’s OK to just let go for a little bit and let someone entertain you. I want them to realize that family is important, and so are friends. So just cherish them and tell them that you love them. And I want them just to be kinder in their daily life. Just be kinder, that’s all.”
When asked about her mother, Williams could not sing enough praise for the unwavering support she had received over the years.
“My mother was very supportive of everything I did – everything all of her children did,” said Williams. “So she was my top fan and would promote me at every turn, every chance she got and would always sort of raise the gauntlet and say, ‘Yes, my daughter’s the best. My daughter’s the yellowest duck.’”
With her new show coming up on the 27 and 28 of September, we asked Williams how she was feeling. Where some people may be feeling pre-performance jitters, Williams is so comfortable that she’s already thinking beyond the show.
“I’m looking forward to it, because right after that I have a tour to Italy with Universal Travel. We are taking a bus load of people to Italy and we’re going to tour for 16 days. I’m not looking forward to getting the show over with, but when it ‘s finished, there is a marvelous treat at the end. But you know I love preparing for the show and I love the fact that it’s something that people are looking forward to. I love that it’s all brand new. I love that it’s fresh and that it’s challenging.
Anyone interested in seeing An Evening with Sheila Williams: Giddy Up! on September 27 and 28 can get tickets at www.holyhearttheatre.com or by calling the box office at (709) 579-4424.