Frank Darryl Sheffield is a Christian and a native of Washington DC who gravitated toward music and musicianship at an early age. He began playing piano and singing in the glee club choir in elementary school, but by junior high and high school had begun to play drum and percussion instruments including the marimba, xylophone and bells. Always having an interest in media and arts, he began his broadcasting career upon matriculation at Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia as a radio announcer on the campus station and a Mass Media Arts Major. He would later come back to the University to run that same radio station and hire a staff of over 30 student announcers and department heads.
While still in college, he interned as an audio engineer at WWDE-FM in Hampton. Upon graduating, he landed a competitive position at WMYK-FM, Virginia Beach as Promotions Coordinator and on-air personality. He hosted the ever-popular “Mellow Madness” show and consistently had excellent ratings due to his intensive knowledge and surprising selection of vintage Black Music. He developed quite a following, known as “Frankie Sheffield” and authoring a column in the local newspaper(Hampton Roads Metro Weekender) called “Ask Frankie.” However, as all good things end, the station was purchased and changed formats, eliminating the entire staff as radio goes.
A mentor and previous college professor, Mrs. Evonne Whitmore, called Sheffield and offered him a position to become the manager for the campus based student radio station on Hampton University’s campus, WHOV-FM, where he had served as a student administrative assistant to the manager. Sheffield treated the station as “his baby”– he groomed, and matured it. Within two years the once 1250-watt limited range station had been increased to a 10,000-watt mega-tower expanding its signal as far north and south as Richmond and Virginia Beach, thus improving the visibility of the station. Guest speakers like Jack The Rapper Gibson, Bobby Bennett, Dyana Williams, Paul Porter, Alvin Jones and artists such as Vesta, Supercat, Mint Condition and Kirk Whalum were flown in monthly to conduct workshops and one-on-one seminars with student workers. The station grew and prospered under Sheffield’s leadership. One of Sheffield’s most promising student announcers Adimu Colon(after Sheffield’s training) went on to land a high and prominent job in the industry at WPGC-FM and now hosts BET’s Teen Summit, as simply,”Adimu.”
In 1993, after a personal turn of events that beckoned Sheffield’s attention back in Washington, DC, he returned home to accept a position at National Public Radio, while writing a music column for Gospel Music Ministry Connection and becoming one of the first sales representatives for Gospel Today Magazine.
The next 7 years would be spent at The Voice of America, where Sheffield was hired as a Radio Broadcast Technician and interacted with a diverse and multicultural environment. The VOA broadcasts to over 47 different countries and Sheffield had to ineract with many language services including French, Spanish, Russian and others. While serving there, he interacted closely with the English to Africa department and used many of his media connections to bring guests to the VOA’s Music Time in Africa Show hosted by Rita Rochelle. He was instrumental in booking talent including: Chaka Khan, a longtime friend he had met long before he got into radio, Phyllis Hyman, Rohn Lawrence, Will Downing, Marlena Shaw, Babyface, Angela Bofill and many others. He would often use his own personal leave to travel to media conventions like Impact, BRE or the Soul Train Awards to get stories and make connections on behalf of this show. He, in essence, was doing two jobs–talent producer/coordinator and audio engineer! Needless to say, he became a valued asset at VOA, but destiny would call again–this time it spoke the voice of entrepreneurism!
God revealed to Sheffield that the one time he was happiest was working with and around the music business and many said he had a flair for public relations, especially as it related to music and the arts. Thus, SEI Entertainment was born. Frank Sheffield now hosts an impressive client roster of artists, singers and musicians that he represents to the media. When you see Sheffield, he is usually smiling- -many wonder why he seems to beam for no apparent reason. Sheffield states,”It’s because I’m finally doing what really makes me happy, I should have done this a long time ago!”
SEI Entertainment, under Sheffield’s leadership, has coordinated CD release parties, book signings, media receptions, written biographies for major artists, coordinated video shoots, and photographed countless celebrities including the Christianaires, Vickie Winans, Chaka Khan, Will Downing, Ivan Hampden, Paulette McWilliams, Hezekiah Walker, John P. Kee, Yolanda Adams, Queen Esther Marrow & The Harlem Gospel Singers, David Gough, Walt Whitman & The Soul Children of Chicago, DDL Entertainment/Darryl Lassiter, and Super Stars 2000–SEI–Sheffield Enterprises Incorporated–On the way UP!
Coordinated National Radio Exposure for via NPR Radio Network:
Bobby Jones, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Kirk Franklin, Teddy Pendergrass
Coordinated International Radio Exposure for via Voice of America:
Will Downing, Shirley Ceasar, Phyllis Hyman, Angela Bofill, Marlena Shaw, Zhane
Coordinated Autograph Sessions/In-Stores for:
Najee, Vesta, Dianne Reeves, Kirk Franklin, Phyllis Hyman, Angela Winbush, Shirley Murdock
Coordinated Lectures(Q&A) on Black College Campuses for:
Supercat, Jack(The Rapper) Gibson, Dyana Williams(President, International Association of African American Music)
Coordinated Press Conferences for:
Vickie Winans, Anita Baker, Jack(The Rapper) Gibson-The Father of Black Radio
Created National Print Exposure for via Photos, Interviews, Music Reviews, Articles…
Chaka Kahn(Jet, Sept. 1996 Cover Story & Photos; Vibe Photos; WHOV Program Guide/Cover; Family & Concert Photos Used in Rainbow of Hope Concert Tour Book), Stephanie Mills, Quincy Jones, Patti LaBelle, Phyllis Hyman, Natalie Cole, Kirk Franklin, Vickie Winans, Gladys