GIBSONTON – At the dead end of a quiet Gibsonton street in an unpretentious home filled with adopted pets, Shari Keller sits at a desk full of ultra-modern musical track-writing equipment checking out her songs’ positions on the charts.
“Look!” she exclaims excitedly. “In just two days this one’s reached No. 52 in classical and No. 8 in the subcategory of symphonics.” Those statistics don’t mean much to me until I see that this song is in a category containing 41,508 other songs. The song she is referring to is a piece she recently wrote titled A Tu Lado.
Another of her songs, The Stain, is No. 21 in a category of 6,394 — after just one week online; and Just Chillin’ (sung by her daughter Suzanne Keller-Becker) ranks No. 11 of 7,913 in the category of “Mellow.”
Even someone like me who can’t do advanced math can see those stats are pretty terrific. The site I’m referring to is www.soundclick.com, a website that rates new songs and is visited by big name musicians — singers and bands — as well as radio stations and other forms of media that discover new talent.
“With chart positions like this, we’re just waiting for a record deal,” Shari said. The “we” in this not only includes her daughter’s voice on the one song but her son David, known as DJ, who writes the original music while Shari does the electronic sound, which is why they go by the name DJ Crusade N Bassmom.
Coincidentally, I interviewed Shari on her 48th birthday, approximately two years after the first time I met her.
The July 29 2010 edition of The Observer News and The Riverview Current reported that after being injured on the job and awaiting disability, Shari was trying to figure out a way to make money with her first love, music.
Gathering the electronic computer and sound recording equipment and learning the intricate technical programs to make the sound tracks has not been an easy road to take but Shari is delighted with the results.
At 48, she says she is mostly concerned with leaving a legacy for her children and grandchildren.
“I refuse to let anyone operate on my neck and spine. The odds aren’t good at recovery from the kind of operation they proposed, and I’m afraid I’ll get worse,” she said. “I know I’m going to have to live with this disability — and pain.”
But maybe, just maybe, a big recording deal is in their future as her ratings online continue to climb. To hear all Shari and DJ’s music and see their bios and ratings, go to www.sooundclick.com, hit “site-wide search” and type in Shari Keller. Or go directly to their site by typing in www.soundclick.com/djcrusadenbassmom.
Soon, these songs hitting the top of the online charts could be a second reason (besides International Independent Showmen) to put Gibsonton on the world map. Meanwhile, as they wait for a major label to contact them through BMI, Shari continues composing her electronic sound; putting tracks together until they’re ready to share with words.
She told me she started singing as a child with her mother’s encouragement. Her mother was in the group Sweet Adelines — a national organization with chapters in every state.
Originally from Michigan, Shari and her husband Charles, now owner of Keller Tree Service, moved to south Hillsborough in 1988 with their now-grown two children. Her daughter has since moved to Gary, Indiana, with her husband and Shari says she will probably never be able to get her to sing with her again.
“Suzanne was terrified to sing in front of anyone,” Shari told me last week. “It was all I could do to get her to record Just Chillin’ here alone in the living room with me.”
But now that Just Chillin’ is No. 11 of 7,913 in its category online, Shari is seriously hoping Suzanne will change her mind.