Adelza ‘Lipstick’ Sheridan

April 17th, 1966 – Adelza Dernalla Sheridan was born to Griffith Sheridan and Priscilla Stevens, both of Old Road Village. When she was only a few months old, her father died at the age of 25 and by the age of 2, she relocated to Cashew Hill where she was raised mainly by her grandparents. 

Aldelza credits the structured upbringing received from her grandparents as the guiding force behind the discipline with which she conducts her adult life. Growing up, she was taught to be honest and content, as well as to be punctual, independent, and ambitious. As a child, she enjoyed listening to her great-grandmother, Mary James, tell stories and playing games such as rounders and hopscotch at school.

Sheridan began her early education at a small church-operated preschool in Brownes Avenue following which she attended Ms Martin’s school, which was located at the entrance of Gray’s Hill, for about one year then to Ottos Primary School. She moved on to the Ottos Comprehensive School via the common entrance exam.  During her secondary school years, she was quite active in the area of athletics and served as house captain for Red House for two consecutive years.

On completing her secondary education Sheridan worked at the Antigua State College for about two years before switching to the hospitality industry. Her journey in hospitality began at the Half Moon Bay Hotel where she remained for four years, then on to Jumby Bay Hotel where she was employed for fifteen years. 

During her time at Jumby Bay, the hotel would have changed ownership a few times, requiring the workers to go through the process of severance and reapplying. Due to her strong work ethic, Sheridan was always fortunate to be rehired. In 2008 she decided to pursue a different path after another change in the structure at Jumby Bay joining the Local Government Department. In her new position, her duties involved going into communities and identifying issues that needed to be addressed by the various government departments. She remains employed within the same unit which has since been integrated into the Community Development Division within the Ministry of Social Transformation. 

Sheridan’s interest in calypso music began at a very young age from listening to her uncles, George and Philbert Stevens playing a wide array of calypso records. She notes that they had so many records of music in various genres that even the national radio station, ABS, would come to the house to borrow records to play on air. This exposure allowed her to develop such a taste for the art form that she looked forward to attending the calypso tents and watching competitions on television. 

Her great interest caused friends to encourage her to go sing if she loved it that much and, in 2005, she took them up on the suggestion. Her moniker and stage name  ‘Lipstick’  was added in November  2010 at the suggestion of her daughter on the premise that lipsticks come in a wide variety matching the variety that she brings.  was while on break at a part-time work gig at Grand Princess Casino that she wrote her first song, ‘Confused’.  She engaged the services of popular calypsonian Sympo to assist in putting the melody together and it was from then that a friendship started between the two. She did not advance from the preliminary rounds for the annual Calypso Monarch Competition in this first instance but did not allow this to deter her. It was only in 2023, nineteen years later, that she made it to the semifinals.

Her prowess as a writer won her the award for the best junior calypso songwriter in 2012 for her composition ‘Children nowadays have it easy’ which was rendered by that year’s junior monarch, Lady Bop. Sheridan was also responsible for implementing junior calypsonians workshops in which more seasoned calypsonians had the opportunity to mentor young ones entering the junior calypso competitions. 

She served as the president of the Calypso Association from  2009 until her resignation in 2016, the first female to be so elected. Sheridan served unopposed in this capacity until 2016 when she tendered her resignation. Throughout her tenure, she implemented several initiatives to advance the art form which included hosting the inaugural calypso awards ceremony, which was an annual event up until 2016.

Under her leadership, the Association instituted a cultural exchange program that saw calypsonians engaging in calypso performances in other countries such as St. Kitts and Dominica and artists from these countries performed in local tents in Antigua.

Her administration also undertook many fundraising activities that helped to offset expenses associated with the various initiatives of the association.

These days, Sheridan is mostly focused on the production of personal projects which include theatrical presentations and ensuring the commercial viability of her annual calypso offerings.  She has produced and starred in two movies ‘I Shall Not Be Moved’ Parts 1 and 2; and several stage plays, all of which were commercially successful.  Over her years as an artist, she has produced at least 15 albums with 4 or more songs. along with t-shirts and other paraphernalia all of which have been commercially viable, in an era where most calypsonians no longer see economic value in offering their songs for sale.

She also offers private tutoring for French and Spanish students preparing for CXC examinations. 

Her knack for fundraising and organising has been quite instrumental in several fundraising initiatives to benefit segments of the community including raising funds for the St. John’s Cathedral renovations, the Green Bay Moravian Church roof restoration, and assisting students with CXC fees as well as other basic needs.

Sheridan is grateful for the experience in the calypso arena thus far as it has provided her with the opportunity to express herself in various ways. She expresses disappointment in the manner in which those with power would seek to stifle the voice of calypsonians as she is of the firm belief that ‘ calypso is the voice of the people’. She notes the dwindling numbers of the association which was over 100 members strong but now only has about half that amount due to calypsonians dropping out as a result, in her view, ‘of poor judging and other biases over the years’. She blatantly addressed these issues in her 2007 song ‘It Looks Fishy’ which questioned the judging of the previous year’s competition. 

Though her active days in Calypso administration are behind her, Calypso Lipstick vows to continue singing as it is her way of bringing awareness to issues relating to women while at the same time keeping the atmosphere light with a bit of humour. 

She desires to please her fans and keep the art form alive and encourages up-and-coming calypsonians and artists in general, never to doubt themselves!