You could say Shana Dinha was born with a musical note in her heart. So it’s easy to understand why music and singing are the essence of her life.
The Assyrian-American singer, songwriter, performer and musician was born into a musical family in Dallas, Texas, and grew up in Pleasanton, California. Her father played guitar and sang. Her mother sang. Her sister played guitar. Music filled the house.
It was a celestial musical world for the talented youngster.
Shana’s parents fully realized their daughter’s gift for music after taking her to the Phantom of the Opera in London. On the way home, she recalls, she couldn’t stop singing the tunes from the musical. She was five years old.
“So from thereon my parents gave me every opportunity for music lessons and also put me in choirs,” Shana says.
Singing in urban church choirs opened the door for Shana into gospel music. She gravitated toward rhythm and blues and jazz.
The young singer’s musical career soared after working with Josh Groban, Mickey Thomas from the band Starship,
Michelle Williams from Destiny’s Child and Deitrick Haddon from Preachers of L.A.
Shana has also performed at Yoshi’s in Oakland, as well as the San Jose HP Pavilion, Sacramento Sleep Train Pavilion, the Oakland Art & Soul Festival, Molonga Theatre, Brava Theatre and Chabot College Theatre, among other musical venues.
She has had a leading vocal role in A Capella Our Bodies Sing with the Oakland Ballet Company, as well as appearing on the national television series Fix My Choir on the Oxygen Channel.
Audiences and critics alike have recognized her as an exceptionally talented singer. Shana’s list of awards includes winning the 2015 Jazz Search West competition at Yoshi’s, one of the most well known jazz clubs in the world.
The Superior Command Solo Performance from the California Music Education association, in 2008, and the Outstanding Vocalist Award by Music in the Parks, in 2009, round out other awards.
Shana received her Associate of Arts degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences from DeAnza College. Currently she lives in Oakland where she studies at the California Jazz Conservatory.
Whether singing jazz, rhythm and blues or gospel, a rich voice and an intimate singing style combined with powers of improvisation spotlight Shana’s exceptional talent in taking a standard song and making it her own.
Although she feels no other music reaches the richness of jazz, she considers herself as more than just a jazz singer.
Either way, Shana regards music and singing as part of her nature, something that’s carved into her heart and soul. After all, she notes, the only thing better than singing is more singing.