Pediatrician balances caring for babies with budding R&B career

 “Music just got into me at an early age and I wanted to play piano since before I could talk.” Sherri Sandifer

Houston Northwest Medical Center pediatrician Sherri Sandifer cares for children by day and sings songs for the soul as an R&B artist by night.

She recently released her album “Loverevolution” with help from Atlanta-based producer Dru Castro, who has recorded with Usher, Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas, Keyshia Cole and Keri Hilson. Some of the musicians on her album have played with artists like Mary J. Blige and India.Arie.

“It was a little tricky recording the album,” Sandifer said. “I had to be at work from Monday through Friday, and then I had to fly to Atlanta on the weekends and be back by Sunday. It was challenging, but I was doing something that I was passionate about and that gave me energy that I didn’t know that I had.”

The independent artist has no immediate plans of hitting it big. She still considers herself a doctor first.

“I thought about shopping around for different labels, but at this point, because I want to keep my pediatrician gig, it probably wouldn’t work out well,” Sandifer said. “The way the music industry is going right now, a lot of independent artists are doing their own thing.”

Sandifer didn’t have much time to perform while she was readying the release of her album. Now that it is completed, she hopes to pick up gigs around the holidays.

Her music is already generating a buzz. The single “Don’t Call Me” is in rotation on radio stations in Detroit, North Carolina, South Carolina and a couple of places in central Florida among other areas.

The single was released in the summer. She also just released a music video for the song on YouTube.

“We just sent the album out to more program directors a couple of weeks ago and it is encouraging that it already has that much interest,” Sandifer said.

The inspiration behind Sandifer’s music career can be traced back to her childhood.

She was raised in a musical family. Her mother sang in the church choir and her dad played jazz piano only by ear. Sandifer can play by ear as well, but was classically trained in piano and flute and says it has been a tremendous asset.

“Music just got into me at an early age and I wanted to play piano since before I could talk,” said Sandifer, who started tickling the ivories when she was 5 years old.

She began singing in college, and has been writing songs for as long as she can remember. She performed with an a cappella group called Shades while she attended Yale University. The group spawned a few singers who have gone on to perform on Broadway. Another won the Tony Award for best musical.

Although music has always been such an important part of her life, it was not nurtured for a long time, she said. The music started to flow out of her when she found herself at the end of a relationship. That’s when Sandifer decided to dedicate herself to creating the album with songs that are all autobiographical in nature.

“With an album, it is nice to be able to put those songs into tangible form, something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time,” Sandifer said.

Eventually, Sandifer hopes that people become familiar enough with her music and story that they will realize that they can follow their dreams too.

“Hopefully they will say something like, ‘Seeing you be a doctor and a singer made me think I am not stuck to doing just one thing in life. I’ve always wanted to write a book, and now I’m going to do it,’” she said. “That’s cool for me. Even if I never get to the point where I’m touring all year long, I would feel like I have already done something successful with my music.”


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