Known in Toronto as “Voice of an Angel” for her ethereal, light soprano, Chagall Sierra is also a true Renaissance woman. Composer, music producer, actor, model, advocate and social entrepreneur. Oh, and she plays flute, too.
Twitter bio: “As a child got beaten up for singing. Still singing. Occasionally get paid for singing. Take that, bullies!”
Chagall is her real name – as she likes to tell it: “Both my parents are weird, so they named me after an artist.” The artist in question of course, is Marc Chagall, the Russian painter. The unusual name led to her always standing out as “different” growing up, and that led to being bullied so severely that her mother had to pull her out of school to be home educated.
“As a child I was beaten up for singing, it was too powerful for one of the other kids to handle and he managed to not only get other kids to bully me as well, but also the teachers and administration. It was hell. Eventually, I escaped into a fantasy world, where I was entrusted to rule a country called Kirrivath. This country informed a lot of my life philosophy, teaching me some very practical lessons that were not being taught in the real world, and has since inspired much of my creativity – a permanent muse.”
Chagall’s award-winning work is inspired by fairytale, myth, legend, nature, and fantasy. At the same time, it’s personal and down-to-earth, speaking from an experience of life that’s a little different, the outsider perspective of someone who has seen both sides of power, and lived through deep spiritual lessons in two worlds.
Prior to 2013 I was a busker, featured on Style by Jury in 2009. (As Chagall Ehret.) They encouraged me to follow the dream of a concert career, however it was not to be. Soon after the show aired I moved into permanent housing and became very sick. The building is a sick building (old, toxic residues from smoke and chemicals built up in the walls,) and after a lifetime of malnutrition due to lack of family support at an early age, my system just couldn’t deal with it. As I became more and more ill it became increasingly difficult to take care of myself, which made it increasingly difficult to eat healthy on the low amount for food given by assistance.
Someone gave me a harp because he believed so strongly in my talent, but I became so sick I couldn’t even lift my arms long enough to tune it. Even then, I didn’t *look* sick.
What I have is Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) which means that I react to common toxic chemicals most people don’t react to immediately. I can be fine one minute then barely capable of standing up the next depending on exposures to these substances. The worst culprits are cigarette additives, marijuana, and perfumes hidden in fabric softeners. I may have Lyme disease as well, since people who get Lyme often develop MCS and have various “unexplainable” symptoms which follow a progression after the tick bite. My symptoms have followed this progression, however the only somewhat accurate test in North America is in California!
When I could barely stand up long enough to do dishes, cook, or take care of daily things, I prayed to the Creator at the end of February 2013. I said “God, take this death from me because I know you have a purpose for my life.” He answered by sending people to help me. Since then I’ve been growing stronger every day and have found a doctor willing to find out why I’m so tired all the time. In the summer of 2014 I became strong enough to play flute and harp for a few of Toronto’s wonderful festivals! I’m so grateful to be alive.
Now, as of late 2015, I have been accepted into the prestigious TTC Subway Musicians program in Toronto, as one of 75 world-class musicians licensed to busk for daily commuters. I’ve also released 2 demos and an EP for different musical projects, and started a virtual record label, Paperbag Empress Records.