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Walter Beasley's Love

Sax man and vocalist Walter Beasley has two great loves that he has a passion for. One of those is his role as an educator. Teaching at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, he says, "I like the give and take and I like being able to share what I learned over the last 30 years in the classroom. I have educational DVDs online that I do, too. If you stay in one bag too long, I think for me anyway, I become rusty and because life is so quick and because I think we're all charged with being able to give back what we've been given. I try to stay in the classroom in the teaching mode at least 50 percent of the time and staying out on the road or in the studio the other 50 percent. That keeps me balanced."

Beasley says today's musical student is different than when he was going to Berklee. He says, "The students are much smarter. There's an old saying that each generation is smarter, yet weaker than the one previous and I think to a certain extent it's true now because the work ethic is not the way it was when I was in college. It's not their fault. They were born into a society where you can click a mouse and the whole world is there at their fingertips in the blink of an eye. We're charged as educators to try to impart the hard work ethic or discipline in them that is a concept that's so foreign to them, but it's so natural for us. As a musician, I understand that when you have that disconnect between the discipline, the sacrifice and the talent, what ends up happening is what is happening now in the music industry. You get one or two hits and then no one hears from you again because you don't have the catalog or resources to draw upon to sustain your career. You have many more one hit wonders than you do careers and that's the shame of it. I think it's primarily that younger musicians don't have the hard work, dedication and sacrifice that those of us who came before them did, but they're much, much smarter. It's a trade off and and I think it's reflective in the quality of the music."

In Beasley's latest CD Ready to Love, one song talks about what happened when he was a student. He says, 'Willa Mae's Place' is dedicated to a person who took me in when I was coming into Berklee College of Music. At 18, I flew in from the West Coast and when I came to Boston, I knew no one and I was very afraid. As I went through college and I started to become professional, she kind of took me in and advised me of different to do both in my personal life and my professional life. She died a couple of years ago and my partner and I wrote this song and I dedicated it to her because to take somebody in who is not related to you because you feel that they are trying to do something positive and to help them along the way I think is another testament to love. It's just a different type of relationship and something that I wish more of us would do. She was incredibly special to me."

The track "Rhea's Song" on Walter Beasley's Ready to Love is about the new kind of artist emerging online. He says, "Rhea's just a very close friend who is trying to become a recording artist and she's doing it through the MySpace thing and the Internet. One day I was just looking at her MySpace page in between classes at Berklee College of Music and I was writing a song. A song came out really pretty and I said, 'Rhea, look. I'm writing this song and I was looking at you on MySpace. Would you mind if I dedicated it to you?' And she said, 'No, I'd be honored.'"

Beasley's second love is being able to perform in the studio and on the stage. Ready to Love is a very personal release for him. He says, "It's about my commitment and my love for music and relationships I had, both with my family and special relationships with other people through the years. I think a lot of times people think that love is the most easy thing, but when you love music as much as I love music or you love deeply, with it comes the responsibility of being committed, sacrificing, accepting responsibility of that person or that love for music, and dedicating your life to it. That's what I've done with my music and that's why I chose the title 'Ready to Love' because to me it exemplifies the 30 plus years of me growing in this life in the world of music and some of the relationships I had along the way."

Not only will you hear Walter Beasley's sax on Ready to Love, you will also hear his singing voice on a number of tracks. He says, "I'm blessed with kind of a nice singing voice and I developed that over the years. One of my education DVDs is 'Vocal Delivery' and it talks about different ways of being able to sing a song and move the audience without hollering and screaming. What I try to do is two songs that are very special to me and simply deliver the melody and deliver the lyric. If I move myself in trying to articulate how that song moves me, then that means that I am going to move somebody else. It's just that simple."

Beasley played sax, sung, wrote and also produced the music on Ready to Love. As a producer, he says, "Ten years ago, I wrote and produced the majority of my records and I felt that after 'For Her' I made an effort to say 'You know what? In order for me to get better in this, I'm going to have to take more and more time and send the record around what I do.' What I do is that I come up with ideas, I come up with songs, I come up with phrases and I develop them into concepts. That's what I did with this record. I just settled down and I said, 'Look, you have a year and a half before the release of this album. Write as much as you can and bring in the people you feel you need to bring in for this project. Do it and make sure it's the best project possible.' At the end of the day, I had the majority of the production of the record and actually had the compositions that ranked up there with the ones that the other composers were submitting. I was very thankful that I was able to really, really make this an album I can stand by for the rest of my life."

Walter Beasley says Ready to Love was a way for him to get away from teaching for a while. He says, "Being a college professor enables me to keep my passion for performing outside the institution. When you deal with 17 to 19-year old young adults who know everything, it makes you very appreciative of getting away from the college and being able to perform all over the country, and record albums. In addition to that, you get out on the road long enough or you're in the studio long enough, you yearn for the classroom.

Beasley says both his professional career and his teaching are both special. He says, "Over the years, I've learned to develop this philosophy, whatever I'm doing at the moment is the most important. I could say I love playing saxophone because it's a mechanical device and when I move people with that, it's extra special because it's just a piece of metal and I'm moving people through some kind of device. Or I could say I love singing because I sound real good in the shower and I love moving people with the sound of my voice. You can't do that. Whatever you're doing at that moment, it's the power of focus. It's being able to practice those talents and bring them to a level, and then focusing on each one of them so you can do each one of them at the drop of a hat--and focus on being the best at that particular talent, whether it's singing, teaching, playing the saxophone, writing, whatever."

There is a love that shows in Walter Beasley's heart. Whether in the classroom or on the stage, Beasley wears his heart through his love of music and shows it to the world every day. He's always Ready for Love.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Walter Beasley
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