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With the dust from this year’s Extravaganza music festival at UCSB still settling from the May 15 festivities, Cee Lo Green’s lead guitarist Sharon Aguilar had time to take a break from all the craziness. Accompanied by fellow artists Talib Kweli, The Expendables, Rusko, and Sprout, Cee Lo and his band, Scarlet Fever, headlined the annual event. It was Aguilar’s first time at UCSB, and the festivities exceeded her expectations.
“I was in a band with some girls who went to UCSB and they always told me how beautiful it was, so I’m happy I finally got to see it. It was really fun to play there. We all wanted to stay afterward so it’s a shame we had to go back to LA, but it was great,” said Aguilar.
Twenty-five-year-old Aguilar has been playing with Cee Lo almost ever since he went on hiatus from Gnarls Barkley, the group in which Cee Lo formerly played along with fellow artist Danger Mouse. Cee Lo discovered her at an open audition at the Los Angeles Musicians Institute, where Aguilar was working toward a degree in guitar at the time. He was there to handpick band members for his new solo venture, and he chose Aguilar. She has been playing with him for almost a year now.
Guitar was not her first foray into the music world. Aguilar actually began as a classically trained violinist. Though she has been playing guitar for almost 12 years, she only really began to pursue guitar when she entered school. Aguilar attributes the switch from the violin in part to her father.
“My father always had classic rock playing in my house growing up. I’d listen to Jimmy Page and think ‘I just want to be like that!’ But I love Pink Floyd. I have more Pink Floyd in my iPod than anything else. [Pink Floyd’s] David Gilmour is probably my favorite guitarist because of the way he bends his notes. I can feel them in my chest and they just really move me. He’s a composer so the way he composes his music is just really amazing,” explained Aguilar.
Even though she has only been with Cee Lo for a short while now, she has already had some life changing experiences. She recounts a show at Madison Square Garden in New York City where the band opened for music legend Prince.
“We were doing a sound check and Prince just jumped onto the piano and played with us, it was crazy. Madison Square Garden was the place I dreamed about and I remember playing my first chord before everyone got there and just hearing how big it was. It was surreal,” said Aguilar.