SHELTON L. BECTON
North Carolina, the state of green pastures and dogwood trees is also the birthplace of Shelton L. Becton.
From the tender age of 4, Shelton’s future was decided. Falling in love with the piano, he taught himself to play. He accompanied his first church choir at 7 years of age.
During his intermediate years, Shelton refined his talents by furthering his education through private study. This led him to attend Howard University, where he graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance.
Being well versed at the piano, pipe organ, synthesizer, and as a vocalist, Shelton has served in a variety of professional capacities.
His expertise as a musical director, arranger, and vocal accompanist has been commissioned by such well known artists as Judy Collins, Roz Ryan of TV’s “Amen & The Andersons, Roberta Flack, Phylicia Rashad and Patti Austin.
Shelton’s vocal accomplishments are in a multitude of genres. Singing pop, urban contemporary, classical, country and gospel styles are one of the selling features of his vocal agility. His rich resonant quality has been featured in such commercials as Apple Cinnamon Cheerios, Kodak, and General Motors.
Well-known artists such as Anita Baker, Billy Preston, Bette Midler, Rickie Lee Jones, and Wintley Phipps have sought after his signature performance style. Other recording credits include Judy Collins’ “The Times of Our Lives”, Noel Pointer’s “Calling”, Frankie Knuckles’ “Beyond the Mix”, Patti Austin’s “Love Is Gonna Getcha & “Live at The Bottom Line”, and Roberta Flack’s “Christmas Album”.
With his inimitable gospel style, he opened the 1999 summer music festival for New York’s Lincoln Center. The festival was entitled “House Full of Praise”. In that same year he was commissioned to arrange the Negro spiritual “Great Day” for the Negro Spiritual Scholarship Foundati on in Orlando, Florida.
Shelton’s vocals have also graced recordings by Vanessa Williams and Celine Dion.
One of his original Christmas spirituals entitled “Oh, How Precious” was featured on the Arsenio Hall Show in 1993. It was also used as the finale for the Christmas tour called “The Colors of Christmas”. The tour featured Patti Austin, Jeffrey Osborne, Roberta Flack, and Peabo Bryson.
Metropolitan opera star Denyce Graves enlisted three of Shelton’s original Negro spirituals for her NPR recording of “Angels Watching Over Me.”
Shelton’s inspired and uplifting compositions have been hailed and featured by prestigious choirs such as the Eastern High School Choir of Washington, D.C., the Riverside Church Inspirational Choir of New York, the Morehouse and Spellman Choirs of Atlanta, Georgia, and the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir of Brooklyn, New York. His compositions have been televised on the Cosby Show, Christmas in Washington, and the UNICEF Broadcast taped in Amsterdam.
He was awarded the very first accompanist trophy at the Jung und Musik Festival in Vienna for pinch-hitting for competing choirs in the performance of Borodin’s Polevetsian Dances.
His role as producer/arranger can be witnessed on Disney World’s “Zip-adee-doo-dah” and “Supercal” TV commercials. His expertise in composing and arranging for vocals was evidenced on ABC TV’ s “The City” in which his originals and arrangements were utilized for a wedding scene.
In musical theatre Shelton has conducted productions of “The Wiz” and “Ain’t Misbehavin’. He also arranged two pieces for the revue “Three Mo’ Tenors”, which toured the country and aired on a PBS special. Most recently he has conducted the critically acclaimed “Nativity- A Life Story” with Stephanie Mills, BeBe Winans, Phylicia Rashad, Li llias White, and Freddie
Marvin Hamlisch, renowned composer and conductor, gave rave reviews for Shelton’s composition “Because This Child Was Born” when it was performed with the National Symphony Orchestra during the 2004 Christmas season.
Currently he can be heard in the orchestra of the Broadway musical- The Color Purple as Associate Conductor, synthesist, and organist. He also serves as vocal coach for many of the cast members.
Most recently he served as Choirmaster for NBC’s ‘The Clash of the Choirs” representing the New Haven team sponsored by Michael Bolton.
As he receives accolades from peers, theatergoers, music enthusiasts, and the general public alike, he continues to impress with his artful, creative style. His respect for his craft, his talent and blessings, are strongly linked with his spiritual upbringing. Shelton continues to foster his growth at every available opportunity, always striving for excellence.