An only child, Shunda was born and raised in Washington, D.C., and encouraged by her voice instructor Dr. Samuel Bonds at nearby Duke Ellington School for the Performing Arts High School to pursue classical voice. This early training enabled Shunda to study and sing before some of the most formidable skilled artists in classical music. This list includes Legendary Baritone Todd Duncan, Professor Emeritus of Voice at the University of Miami Mezzo Soprano Carolyn Stanford, World-Renowned and former Metropolitan Opera Mezzo Soprano Betty Allen (formerly Professor Emeritus at Harlem School of the Arts) as well as Grammy nominated Bass-Baritone Dr. Stephen Bryant are most recent among them. Shunda was recently called upon to sing at a host of concerts with the NJ Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Mark Laycock conductor with the NJ Symphony Orchestra and the Princeton Symphony in New Jersey. Professional Opera Theatre Performances starring Ms. Wallace as the lead, include excerpts from Die Zauberflote, Ipheghenie, Rigoletto, Der Rosenkavelier, Orfeo ed Euridice, Don Giovanni and Puccini’s Suor Angelica. Non-lead roles include Carmen and Le Nozze Di Figaro.
After receiving a call to perform her first professional gig in New York City in 1991 with established drummer Winard Harper then of the Harper Brothers.
Additional musicians that Ms. Wallace has performed with and that have performed with Ms. Wallace (include but not limited to): Bruce Williams, Chico Freeman, Winard Harper, Dion Parson, Johnathan Blake, Robert Glasper, Nasheet Waits, John Blake, Alvester Garnett, Jimmy Heath, Ray Bryant, Freddie Hendrix, Dana Hall, Frank Wess, Don Braden, Eric Lewis
Jazz Professors that Shunda has studied with include: Rufus Reid, Harold Mabern, Norman Simmons
Composer/Arrangers that Ms. Wallace has studied and work with include: Richard DeRosa, David Berger, Frank Foster, Chico Mendoza
Ms. Wallace was called upon to perform Jimmie Heath’s orchestrated arrangement of “Moonlight in Vermont” under the direction of Mr. Heath as well as assisted legendary Jazz Composer and Arranger Frank Foster on his latest book entitled “Creative Orchestration”.
Several club performances as a Solo Jazz Vocalists in the NY tri-state and surrounding areas include, Birdland In NYC, Blues Alley in DC, as well as Shanghi Jazz and Trumpet’s in NJ.
It is very rare to find singers that demonstrate professional range with a multitude of skills as performer in the areas of both classical and jazz, in addition to composition, orchestration and education in this business, “I think that it is safe say that this is only the beginning for Ms. Wallace”, say’s jazz violinist Posthumously John Blake.
“There is always a debate about who is truly a jazz singer. Wallace is a jazz singer, she takes songs and imbues each one with an unmistakable originality. There is an instrumentalists feel for phrasing in her approach”
NJ Jazz Society, Joe Lang
“Wallace sings with a conception of her own in mind..adventurously bending and stretching time. Ms. Wallace already has a distinctive voice with depth and projection others should envy”
NJ Star Ledger, George Kanzler
“Vocalists come and go, but to find a young jazz artist who not only sings, but uses her voice as an instrument is unique.”
DC Washington Post, Eric Charles May