Annette Navarro

“Music has the power to transport us to another time and place.” This line from Aneesa Sheikh‘s bio captures how the multi-talented teen role model creates and shares messages with her audience.

Since winning the title of Miss Michigan Teen USA 2020, Aneesa has been as music-minded as ever. Her debut single, “Bad Thing” debuted not long after her win, and she has been producing new tracks and accompanying music videos ever since. This might seem like an obvious step for an influencer like Aneesa, but she’s actually been focused on music since she was a young girl.

At eight years old, it was the combination of her sister’s talent and the song “Black Magic Woman” that made Aneesa fall in love with figure skating and later led her to learning to play the electric guitar and join a youth choir. Before her fame, she found an audience for her music at school talent shows and local radio stations. When she attended the International Model and Talent Association (IMTA) convention in New York in 2019, she won the scholarship that helped her record that first original song. Since then, she has gone on to release three songs including her latest single, “New Normal.”

“Growing up I was very close with my father, and during my teenage years, I lived alone with him in Michigan while I pursued figure skating. When he had a stroke, the dynamics changed and I had to adapt to a ‘new normal’ way of life,” Aneesa shared with us. “New Normal” might immediately make you think about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but she’s talking about something more personal. “The roles reversed from him taking care of me, to me having to help him with his physical limitations prior to and after his stroke. The song embodies the overall message of me reminiscing on times spent with my father and what occurred after his stroke and how life for me shifted,” she said, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t aware of how the song connects to present experiences. “We are all experiencing a “new normal” to life due to the pandemic altering daily routines and impacting relationships with loved ones similar to mine with my father.”

Annette Navarro

The single is a reflection on Aneesa’s experiences, but it’s also tells a story about adapting to major changes. When we spoke to her, she reflected on her COVID-19 “new normal,” too. “Many aspects of my life are the “new normal,” she said. Aneesa is a freshman at the University of Michigan where, like many returning students across the country, she is attending completely online. Her dad is still at the center of her major life changes, though. “Not being able to visit my dad while he is at a physical rehabilitation center is the biggest ‘new normal,'” she said.

Aneesa wants to show people that adjusting to a “new normal” isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It just takes strength and love. “My role as Miss Michigan Teen USA is to inspire girls to find their passion, make it their purpose, and utilize their skills to give back sharing my experiences,” she said. “Not only did singing for my dad and encouraging him to sing along to my songs help him regain his speech after his second stroke, but music gave me and my dad a light again.”

Music and Aneesa’s experiences with her dad inspired her to start her charity Music4M.I.R.A.C.L.E. (Music Inspires Reaches Accepts Captures Loves Equally) which helps bring music therapy and hope to patients experiencing a medical crisis. “I use my music to distract patients from the long, emotional, and physically traumatic recovery process they are facing.”

Debuting alongside her single, Aneesa also worked on a music video to capture her experience. “I knew I wanted it to be a story reflecting ‘baby me’ with my dad and ‘teenage me’ looking back to those times,” she shared. “We hired a young girl to play ‘baby Aneesa’ and an actor to play my father in the video.” They filmed the video over the course of one day. Surprisingly, Aneesa shared, the biggest challenge they faced was finding somewhere for Aneesa to toss lucky pennies and make a wish!

“New Normal” is out now, and it’s sure to have us all reflecting on how our lives have changed. Aneesa hopes people will see these reflections in a positive light, though. Her goal is to keep inspiring others regardless of their situations. “I want to spread light with my lyrics and connect with people through my music,” she said about her work with music.

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Veronica Good has been with Showstopper Magazine since 2016. When she isn't keeping you updated on the latest trends, she is at home with her many pets or probably playing The Sims 4. Veronica has a BA in English and an MA in writing from Coastal Carolina University. She is also a writer of fiction and poetry, and her work can be found in Archarios, Tempo, and Scapegoat.