Murdock started out singing gospel music in her native Toledo. Singer/musician Roger Troutman hired Murdock as a backing singer for his family’s band Zapp, who had several hits on Warner Bros. (or its Reprise Records imprint). Based on this success, Troutman began recording tracks with Murdock and lead singer Sugarfoot of the Ohio Players, among others, at his Dayton-based recording studio, Troutman Sound Labs. Murdock and Troutman’s first chart single was a Warner single issued as Roger (featuring Shirley Murdock), “Girl, Cut It Out,” which charted at number 79 R&B in early 1985.
Murdock was signed to Elektra Records with “No More,” which made it to number 24 R&B in early 1986. Then came her signature hit, “As We Lay,” written by Zapp’s Larry Troutman and keyboardist Billy Beck (of the Ohio Players). The tender, melancholy ballad made it to the R&B Top Ten and peaked at number 23 pop in 1986. Her LP Shirley Murdock went gold, also helped along by the follow-up hits “Go on Without You” and “Be Free.” She also released albums in 1988 (A Woman’s Point of View) and 1991 (Let There Be Love). In early 2000, Murdock toured in the inspirational/gospel play, Be Careful What You Pray For with Cuba Gooding and David Peaston.
Murdock released Home, her gospel music debut album, in 2002 on T.D. Jakes’ Dexterity Sounds record label. She made her acting debut in the movie Sweating in The Spirit. Most recently, Murdock has signed with Tyscot Records and released her most recent album in March 2007.
In 2009, Murdock collaborated with Teena Marie on the song “Soldier”, from Marie’s album, Congo Square. She also appeared in the 2009 stage play “A Mother’s Prayer” with Johnny Gill, Robin Givens and Jermaine Crawford.