We recently sat down with ‘Canada Sings!’ vocal coach Sharron Matthews to chat about her experience on the new talent competition and of course swap a few stories about some of our best and worst fashion moments. When we took our seats at the Queen Street cafe we had agreed to meet up, we were slightly nervous. We’ve been interviewed before but this was our first time in the role of interviewer.
Toronto Is Fashion: How long have you been in the film/music industry?
Sharron Matthews: Since I was 16, I’ve always been involved in performing arts. I was always involved in high school productions, went on to Sheridan College and about 10 years ago I became involved in film and tv.
TIF: What was your favorite role?
SM: Hairspray was amazing! I remember walking out on set and it was like 12 blocks of people dressed in clothing from the 1960’s and I also got to dance with John Travolta. It was a childhood dream come true.
TIF: What do you prefer, film or live theatre?
SM: Well, I do enjoy film but it is very halting. One minute it’s very go, go, go and then there will be a lot of waiting to start the next take. I love both, but there is something about live theatre, where you can feed off of the audience’s reactions and test what works and what doesn’t.
TIF: So tell us about ‘Canada Sings!’ and about your role on the show.
SM: Well, it truly is a great show. It takes regular people from workplace groups, we give them some training and pit them against each other in a showdown. I’m the vocal coach for the competition and most of the contestants have never sung before so it was more than just instructing, it was also making them feel comfortable with the songs. It’s great because it’s a group competition and there is definitely strength in numbers when it comes to singing. The contestants also go through choreographer and I’ll tell you, our choreographer worked them like a part time job. It was fun to see the contestants from beginning to end after they get full wardrobe and make-up, it’s like a transformation for the contestants.
TIF: What makes this competition different than other shows on television?
SM: The contestants on ‘Canada Sings!’ are just normal people who are not in it for the fame. They’re in it for their charity and invested in winning the $10,000 for a good cause. It’s not like ‘American Idol’ which is too “Vanity Fair” styled and there is no real connection to the contestants or what they’re there to achieve. I certainly didn’t expect to get as invested in the contestants and I did. I think most of the contestant on other reality shows are used to performing in front of an audience but the contestants on ‘Canada Sings!’, its like a scary, foreign situation for them….and we have an audience of 1000 people!
TIF: It sounds like you’re very passionate about the arts and getting people involved and engaged.
SM: I’m very passionate about it, to have a creative outlet to turn to is very important. I think especially in high school it is an important thing for students to have. Even for something like science, you have to have a creative, engaged mind and the arts only help to nurture that. The world cannot live without art.
TIF: Let’s talk a little about fashion. Any favorite designers or retailers that you love?
SM: I like to shop at H&M, Zara, and a wonderful designer named Pat Chorley of Fashion Crimes styles me for any of my events. I like Winners too but its a store that takes a lot of patience, it’s either a hit or a miss.
TIF: In your stage shows you wear a lot of spectacular cocktail dresses with satin gloves and diamond jewellery. What is your off stage attire?
SM: Jeans and a t-shirt regularly. I like to be comfy and casual, maybe a pair of chucks and a baseball hat. And always a big purse full or accessories.
TIF: Any fashion trends that you love or hate?
SM: I hate that flared pants are coming back into style. I mean, I just gave into the whole tapered, skinny jean trend and then I see on the television the other day that big flares are making a come back. I feel like fashion trends are turning over faster and faster each year. I also don’t like when pants have those little, tiny pockets that you can’t fit anything into. I love 1960’s style cocktail dresses though, I think they will always be in style.
TIF: How do you find the shopping choices in Toronto?
SM: There’s lots of great finds throughout the city. I think every chain store could make so much more money if they carried up to sizes 18 or 20. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s cost prohibited or what but it can be hard to find so many things. I think there should be different thought put into the design of bigger clothing, belts especially. Everyone should have fashionable options.
TIF: What do you prefer, heels or flats?
SM: Well I love to wear chucks and sandals, but my friend Tom who is a female impersonator gave me a bit of a scolding when he told me “the world does not know you mean business without heels on” and since then I try to wear heels as much as I can. No 6-inch’s, I try to keep it at least at a modest 3-inch heel.
TIF: Last question, and possibly the most important. What are a few fashion pieces you couldn’t possibly live without?
SM: Ohh, that’s a tough one. I think I would have to say dark denim jeans for one. A pair of Converse shoes for sure, a light weight denim jacket and this Joe Fresh scarf that I own; it’s my favorite. Oh, and belts!
Be sure to watch Sharron on ‘Canada Sings’ every Wednesday at 9pm on Global TV. If you’ve missed an episode and want to catch up on all the action you missed, you can watch full episodes through the Global TV site by clicking here. You can also find out more about what Sharrons up to and info on her upcoming stage shows you can check out her site by clicking here.