In 2006, musician, Afton Hefley moved from Tulsa, OK to begin a winding journey through nearly every facet of the music world in Southern California.
She comes from a line of likeable, successful, and creative personalities; her father being a successful, respected business owner and hobbyist dancer; her mother, a successful and gifted oil painter; and her sister, a handmade goods artist known for her quilts, clothing, jewelry, and prolific involvement in her community.
Afton's formative years were spent in private classical music lessons as well as in the school bands and church choirs. She studied music at Oklahoma City University and then Tulsa Community College for two semesters before deciding to shift gears and attend the Conservatory Of Recording Arts And Sciences in Phoenix, AZ. Upon completing the hands on education in audio engineering, she moved to CA to complete her internship hours at The Compound Studio in Long Beach.
Interests and jobs changed throughout the years but the one constant for her has been singing. One of the most notable of those jobs was touring the world with Tears For Fears, on and off from 2007 - 2011 as more and less, a glorified production manager. The “more” part of that job title was when she was asked by the band to join them on stage to sing backing vocals on a couple of songs. Afton recalls that it was that experience in which she remembered where her heart truly was.
In between tours, Afton began to teach private music lessons to support herself. At one point in time she had up to 25 students taking piano, voice, and guitar. In 2009, she completed an online course with Berklee School Of Music in jazz guitar as well as a certification course in the method of teaching music to young children, Orff-Schulwerk, at Chapman University in Orange. From 2013-2014 she taught at Glendale Pacific Montessori Elementary as the general music teacher before the school sadly closed it's doors, and for the fall of 2016 she taught vocal music at the acclaimed K-12 alternative school for special needs students, Vista Del Mar, in Culver City.
In 2013, under the pen-name, Sangster, Afton released a well-loved 5 song EP of original music titled “Human Becoming”, featuring a host of LA’s top tier musicians from the creative music scene. She hopes to one day create a full-length album as time and interest permits.
In the summer of 2015, she recorded main vocals on 10 tracks composed by NYC/LA flutist, composer, and arranger, Leah Paul. The album, "We Will Do The Worrying", a chamber pop/jazz project featuring vocals, string quartet, clarinet, flutes, and vibraphone, was released in the fall of 2016, with rave reviews from Southern California Public Radio, WNYC, and the LA Times.
After 11 years in Southern California, Afton appears primarily as a vocalist and educator. Deeply engaged in original creative music as well as jazz, pop, folk, and classical, her characteristic touch and unique approach is often requested throughout the area. Additionally, she is the soprano section leader in the choir at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Glendale, CA, a soprano with the long-running Christmas caroling company Dickens & Co., and an active member and frequent soloist of the highly acclaimed Pasadena Master Chorale.
As of 2017, in addition to the aforementioned music endeavors, Afton has become a full-time student once again, this time to receive an Associates with Transfer in Psychology from Glendale Community College. She hopes to transfer to CSUN to finish out her Bachelors once she fulfills her requirements at GCC.
In her (limited) spare time, she enjoys writing vocal arrangements, playing the piano, making promotional web posters for fellow musician's events, creating vegan dishes at home, reading about various and vast subjects, visiting family in OK and NY, and of course spending time with her longtime partner Nick and their 3 cats, Zig, Frida, and Bess.
LA jazz guitar guru, Larry Koonse, sums it up perfectly: "I finally got a chance to listen to Afton’s EP. I was totally floored. Her music (and vocal quality) gets me right in the gut and heart. What a gorgeous sound she has along with an beautiful way of shaping the experience (phrasing). Her songs which have a recurring theme of looking at people with great intentions and potential who are left behind by the forward motion of life is so powerful to me. I think about this all the time. In my estimation she would be the "it person" in the singer/songwriter world if the powers that be knew about her. My god …. what a gift!"