Summer of 1976 in London, Sheyla saw an advert in the showbiz magazine The Stage and told her best friend Maizie Williams about it. Both girls decided to respond and went along to an audition in town and soon afterwards traveled to Hannover, W Germany. At only 17 they were very excited to venture abroad.
After a few months of upheavals in Germany the girls met Karl-Walter Preusse-Holthoff who put them up in his mansion.
One day Sheyla was playing the piano and singing and K-W happened to overhear her. As he was a musician he knew talent when he heard it and offered her a contact on a card. He phoned the person himself and they made arrangements to meet. Sheyla brought Maizie and another girl Nathalie along to meet KWs contact in a restaurant. When the 3 girls arrived looking around, someone who appeared like a man but had a feminine face stopped them and looked them up and down, pondered then said….perrrrrrfect! She said her contact Frank Farian was looking for a new group. Soon afterwards the girls found out this was Katja Wolfe, (the first manager of Boney M). She spoke no word of English so the girls had to quickly learn German.
Promptly after the meeting, Katja set up some rehearsals in her office, but
she needed a man to complete the picture, so then came Michael. Michael was
an African boy with very limited English but great personality. The rehearsals
by no stretch of the imagination went well as nobody could perform! However
now the picture was complete! Next was time to meet Frank.
All went along to Frank’s studio in Frankfurt for vocal tests. Sheyla was the only one who could rustle up a tune but with no confidence.
Despite the lack of great substance and abilities in the group, Frank and Katja still went along to set up various press conferences, TV, demos, photo sessions, previews etc. the track Baby Do you wanna bump was in circulation with lots of airplay.
With time Nathalie left and because of the shortage of ‘black talent’
at the time Katja had to improvise by picking somebody from off the streets
of Hannover for one photo shoot. Later Claudja Berry joined the line-up and
the group plodded on.
By this time Sheyla got a little impatient (as young girls do) at the lack of progress, plus personality clashes, so she left. She was replaced by Liz Mitchel; Clauja Berry, by Marcia Barret and Michael by Bobby Farrel and only Maizie remained, and the rest is history.
Years on Shela and Maizie met up in London. Maizie was no longer with the group
as it was now split up and Sheyla was available. Sheyla suggested to Maizie
that they both form their own Boney M featuring Maizie Williams. Consequently
they did that and from 1994-2003 Maizie Williams’ Boney M was formed with
Sheyla. They successfully toured the world but in summer 2003 after returning
from New Orleans Sheyla decided to leave. She felt there was no artistic growth
and challenge for her, although everyone got along pretty well. Sheyla’s
enormous creative talent and startling vision were more or less compromised.
From the interest of various agents/managers Sheyla continued her solo career
as singer/songwriter and talent scout, until she got the idea to form her own
Sounds of Boney M. Although quite new this concept is already generating great
interest and buzz. She feels it her duly in a way to continue the magic and
music of such a phenomena by creating a dynamic show, and even if all originals
are not present, it still includes ingredients that the great disco legend enjoyed,
so audiences present at this show would immediately be hypnotized and just drift
pleasantly into nostalgia.