Meet Our Curator: Award-Winning Actor, Singer, Songwriter & Author Cynthia Erivo

Meet Our Curator: Award-Winning Actor, Singer, Songwriter & Author Cynthia Erivo

This season, award-winning actor, singer, songwriter and author Cynthia Erivo joins Sotheby's as the Contemporary Curated guest curator.

Here, Erivo shares with us her love of art, how it informs her work as a performer and how the art world is evolving. Plus, discover which artworks from the Contemporary Curated auction, taking place on March 12 in New York, resonate with the multi-talented sensation.

“I think the movement from one art form to another – I guess I see each one as a follow-on from the next. Me singing a song inspires me to write a book and try and find a way to speak something into someone. I'm unafraid to try things that might open me up to learning more. And I'm curious about the world, I'm curious about the things I don't know.”
– Cynthia Erivo

C ynthia Erivo is a Grammy® Emmy® and Tony® Award-winning actress, singer and producer, as well as an Academy Award®, Golden Globe®, and SAG nominee. Erivo burst onto West End and Broadway stages in “The Color Purple,” and has since taken the world by storm.

Sotheby’s is honored to be partnering with Erivo as this season’s Curator. Erivo is not only an art enthusiast with a unique style and strong point of view, she also is passionate about the empowerment of women and, in particular, women of color. To thank Erivo for her involvement and to celebrate International Women’s Month, Sotheby’s will be supporting The Loveland Foundation which is close to Erivo’s heart. The Loveland Foundation is committed to showing up for communities of color in unique and powerful ways, with a particular focus on Black women and girls. Their resources and initiatives are collaborative and they prioritize opportunity, access, validation, and healing.

Erivo can soon be seen as Aretha Franklin in National Geographic’s Emmy-winning global anthology series “Genius: Aretha.” This upcoming season will be the first-ever, definitive and only authorized scripted limited series on the life of the universally acclaimed Queen of Soul. The series will premiere on National Geographic on March 21.

Erivo recently starred in the HBO series “The Outsider,” which premiered on January 12, 2020. The series is based on the Stephen King novel of the same name. The series follows an unorthodox investigator and a seasoned cop investigating a gruesome murder of a local boy.

In addition to her illustrious acting career, Erivo is a Grammy®-nominated songwriter and performer, often headlining sold-out shows, symphonies, and music spaces including the Kennedy Center Honors, the 2020 Academy Awards, the 2017 Governor’s Ball and the 2017 Grammy Awards. Erivo is currently working on her debut album with Verve/Universal Music Group, which she plans to release in the Summer of 2021.

In February 2021, Erivo announced that she will be releasing a children’s book titled, “Remember to Dream, Ebere” on September 28. The book follows a young girl named, Ebere who’s mother encourages her to dream as big as possible. Erivo wrote the book as an ode to a child’s imagination, a parent’s love and the big dreams shared by both.

Erivo will also soon be starring in Universal’s “Talent Show,” directed by Gandja Monteiro and written by Lena Waithe. “Talent Show” is the story of a failed songwriter (Erivo) who returns home to Chicago to lead a group of at-risk youth in their annual talent show. Also just announced, she will produce and star in a biopic about Sara Forbes Bonnetta, a 19th-century Nigerian princess who was “gifted” to Queen Victoria after being liberated from slavery.

Erivo also starred in Kasi Lemmons’ “Harriet,” where she brought the legacy of Harriet Tubman to the big screen. Focus Features released the film in theaters on November 1, 2019, and Erivo’s performance was met with critical acclaim. Additionally, Erivo lent her voice to the movie’s title song, “Stand Up,” for which she co-wrote. “Stand Up” won “Best Original Song” at the Hollywood Music in Media Awards. Both Cynthia and “Stand Up” were nominated for two Academy Awards as well as two Golden Globe Awards in the categories of “Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama” and “Best Original Song” respectively. Additionally, “Stand Up” received a nomination for a Grammy Award in the category of “Best Song Written for Visual Media.” The film also garnered ten NAACP nominations as well as AAFCA and Society of Composers & Lyricists Award wins.

In August 2020, Erivo launched her production company, Edith’s Daughter, and announced her first-look deal with MRC Television & Civic Center Media. Edith’s Daughter focuses on projects that express the beauty in the stories and people who are often overlooked and underrepresented. Erivo named Solome Williams as Vice President of the company.

“In the last year I've leaned into art more, because I feel that people are using it now to express things that they cannot necessarily say, because they don't have the words. And we're starting to see, particularly, more Black artists come to the forefront, and that's thrilling.”
– Cynthia Erivo

Cynthia's Favorites from Contemporary Curated

Contemporary Art

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