The bold and dynamic flow of rapper Sharaya J first exploded onto the hip-hop scene with the release of her 2013 single "BANJI" (released on Missy Elliott's Goldmind label), but it would be her appearance on the 2018 TV show The Four that would open up her East Coast-inspired hip-hop to the wider American public.
Born in 1984 in Honolulu, Sharaya Howell originally became a hip-hop choreographer and dancer, working with the likes of Alicia Keys, Jay-Z, Rhianna, and Ciara as well as appearing in movies such as Step Up 2 the Streets and Step Up 3D. In 2010 Sharaya signed to Missy Elliot's Goldmind label and issued her first single, "Green Light," which featured production from Souldiggaz. The DJ Jayhood-produced "BANJI" followed a few years later and saw Sharaya reaching a wider audience. A handful of singles and guest spots appeared over the next few years before she parted ways with Goldmind in 2016. That same year, she returned with the self-released single "Big," ushering in a new chapter in her career; 2017's "New Wave" followed. The next year she took part in the U.S. reality music show The Four: Battle for Stardom. A runner-up in the final, Sharaya made a name for herself with her renditions of Migos' "Stir Fry," Missy Elliot's "She's a Bitch," A$AP Ferg's "Plain Jane," and her own track, "Go Raya." ~ Rich Wilson