MP3 John Paul Sharp - Higher Learning Series: Volume Four - Perfect Fourth
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11 MP3 Songs
ELECTRONIC: Pop Crossover, JAZZ: Jazz Fusion
Higher Learning Series: Volume Four - Perfect Fourth
Wow. Another great volume, and quite possibly the best so far!
This album incorporates jazz, pop and electronica through luscious arrangements and unforgettable melodies. Some songs are subtle, yet haunting. Others are simply beautiful and mesmerizing.
Here's John Paul's play-by-play on the tracks:
Round and Round
Nina Simone once said, "Life has no ups and downs. Life only goes round and round!" That forever changed my life when I heard that (it commonly does when listening to her music).
I originally composed the song through a software program called "Reason." It was an assignment for one of my classes. I really enjoyed what I did and I wanted to make it part of the album. I decided to repeat the original composition four times and slowly build tension through the repitition.
I wrote this for a wonderful man I dated while I was working on this album. He has a degenerative disease and that is where the title comes from. I wanted to let him know that it doesn't matter and none of us really know how we have to live. I could be hit by a car tomorrow.
That's why every day is so precious and we should always live for the moment.
Ballad of a Rollerskater
When I was in 2nd & 3rd grade, I used to rollerkate all over the streets of my neighborhood. I listened to oldies billboard hits from the 50's and 60's through a cassette walkman and I would skate by my classmate's houses.
I would dance and sing and skate and pretend like I didn't have a care in the world. I desperately hoped that other people were watching me. I wanted to perform for them.
This is a feeling that I nearly lost when I was a late teenager and young adult and I gained it back when I returned to making music full time.
That's what this song is about.
I wrote this diddy about gay marriage rights. I experimented using a Neapolitan chord to close out the chorus. It's a Music Theory thing.
I am constantly reminded of the fact that same sex marriages are illegal and I have written several songs about it. I just can't shake the frustration of it all! This song is another expression of that.
This song is my first full-depth exploration of composing with what I have learned are 'jazz chords.' It's one of my best songs live and the recording is great too.
I also wrote this for the same guy I was dating. Eventually we weren't communicating much, let alone seeing each other on a regular basis. He was dealing with some very negative thoughts and I was working hard at school and music.
I needed someone who was ready and able to give and receive support. In this song, I sadly reflect on the fact that it wasn't going to work between us at that time in our lives.
Have you ever stepped out of your life and felt doubts about the way your life is going? I think we all have from time to time. That's what this song is about.
Sometimes, even though things are going great, I think that in other ways, I never get ahead. It's a recurring theme about how life is round and round.
I wait tables three - four days a week at a breakfast place downtown. We have a dumpster in the alley that has graffitti on it that says, "STREAKER BOY YOU'LL NEVER WALK ALONE (WE DIDN'T SAY THAT)"
It's absolutely meaningless to anyone else other than the person who wrote it, but after seeing it so often for over a year, I began to be inspired by the mystery of the message. Who is Streaker Boy? And someone must love him as I imagined the author of the message did.
To me, it was as though someone desperately wanted to tell Streaker Boy that he or she loved him, but wasn't able to do so, so s/he spray painted it on a garbage dumpster.
That's my inspiration for this song.
Have a Happy Christmas (Without Me)
I wrote this for a different guy I dated right before I started working on this album. I still care for him too, but not as much because he slept around on me twice.
It's not exactly anyone's fault. I think we both weren't able to communicate the fact that deep inside we felt we weren't right for each other. I just held on and he sought refuge in one night stands.
I couldn't allow it and so the 2nd time he did it, I broke up with him. It just happened to occur two days before Christmas and I made all my plans with him. It was a very strange feeling for me until the new year began. I thought I loved him at times, so it wasn't an easy separation.
This cryptic song is really about my frustration with waiting tables. It is an honorable job and I'm lucky to be able to do it, but you know I'd rather be doing some thing else. I know I just have to stay focused and strong and what I really want to do will become a reality.
That's the American Dream, after all, and I do live in America. Kind of depressing when you're not to the middle of the story yet. It was my intentino to express that through music.
I never really watched much TV until last summer when I discovered reality TV shoes like "Project Runway." I was so entranced to see people being pressured creatively to put out a product on a global cable tv channel.
I wondered what kind of growth must come out of that. How much emotionally and artistically stronger are these contestants when they are finished being eliminated?
I realized that I desired to be on a show like that. Oh, what I would give to be on a show that challenges my own artistic life! If only they had a song writer reality show. They may some day and I hope to be on it.
Then I looked at this new desire of mine. Is it only because I'm not satisfied with the way things are going in my real life? Is it just a desire to escape? Or is it really a fascination with being challenged in front of the eyes of thousands and possibly millions of viewers?
It's probably a little both, but I find it all intriguing and I tried to capture that in the recording.
Just Gettin' Started
This is from an assignment I had in a Music Applications on the Computer class. I incorporate Reason, ProTools and Adobe Audition software in the creation of this song. I wanted to give the song a live feeling even though it was recorded at my home.
It's a goodbye song that I can sing at my live shows. I think it ends the album nicely.
The Winter Project
We Got Problems (But We're Doing OK)
Best of jps*
Old School Gems (The B-Sides)
Higher Learning Series: Volume One - There's a First for Everything
Spiritual: African American Songs of Old
Higher Learning Series: Volume Two - On Second Thought
Celerity of the Sun
Higher Learning Series: Volume Three - Third Time's a Charm
Higher Learning Series: Volume Four - Perfect Fourth
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