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From Sufjan to Solo, a Star Turn

My Brightest Diamond's Shara Worden brings to mind the work of Jeff Buckley, Edith Piaf and Nina Simone.
My Brightest Diamond's Shara Worden brings to mind the work of Jeff Buckley, Edith Piaf and Nina Simone.

To fans of singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens, Shara Worden is best-known as one of the cheerleaders and backing vocalists in his band the Illinoisemakers. On her own, sans batons or a shirt with a big letter "I" on it, Worden is a remarkable chanteuse who once called herself "AwRY" but now goes by the moniker My Brightest Diamond. Recalling the work of Jeff Buckley, Edith Piaf and Nina Simone — Worden often covers Piaf and Simone live — the gripping "Something of an End" sets the stage for her debut as My Brightest Diamond, Bring Me The Workhorse.

Propelled by creeping orchestral strings, which evoke a sense of theatrics more in line with a Kate Bush epic or a Peter Gabriel classic, "Something of an End" is a revelation. Combining brainy indie-pop with touches of art-rock and classical music, Worden's work — and her first single in particular — radiates brilliance to match her considerable ambition.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bruce Warren is assistant general manager for programming of WXPN in Philadelphia. Besides serving as executive producer of World Café, Warren also contributes to Paste magazine and writes for two blogs: Some Velvet Blog and WXPN's All About The Music Blog.