Cool Times with Walter Beasley!
In the late 90’s I became acquainted with the music of a phenomenal contemporary jazz sax artist with songs such as ‘For Your Pleasure’, ‘I Feel You’ and my favorite ‘From this Moment On’. Today, this artist has at least a dozen albums to his credit and his music finds itself on the top of Billboard as well as other smooth jazz music charts. He also travels on tours as a musician and as a music consultant to well known recording artists. Walter has many other noteworthy accomplishments that are well deserving of accolades.
Anyway, I had the wonderful opportunity of receiving a phone call from this awesome sax player one evening recently and this opportunity led to a most enjoyable interview with him about his music, his past music experiences and how his life experiences inspire his signature sound that I personally enjoy listening to. Not only I but numerous others love his sound which contributes to hearing new and other tunes he recorded a few years ago on the contemporary jazz radio airwaves.
The following dialog is from the recent interview I had with Mr. Beasley. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed being a part of it.
Walter B.: It is my pleasure.
Missy: What is the inspiration behind your latest For Her cd?
Walter B.: I was going back to an old girlfriend. I really wanted it to work but sometimes good intentions bring out good music but they don't really change the people involved. So we broke up after I wrote the first song which was called for her.
Walter B.: Then I had a real problem. I was blessed to meet someone six months later and wrote the rest of the album while seeing her. The album goes through my thoughts and feelings during that period.
Missy: Oh ok.
Missy: ...so your inspirations come from life experiences and relationships...I can understand that. Does it always come that way or do you wake up in the middle of the night with a phrase in your head?
Walter B.: When I wake up in the middle of the night I'm just pissed not motivated.
Missy: Inspirations come different ways to different people I guess huh?
Walter B.: When I was younger ideas would wake me up. Now I just sleep through them.
Missy: So licks and phrases never come to you out of the blue?
Walter B.: Songs write themselves. They come to me as they come.
Missy: The same for the song ‘Coolness’?
Walter B.: James Lloyd of 'Pieces of a Dream' wrote that song.
Walter B.: Yep, they come out of a blue sky when I'm awake. I have trained myself to do my best during daylight hours.
Missy: By the way, congratulations on how ‘Coolness’ is doing on the charts...Last I checked: #3 on r&r smooth jazz & #1 on live365.com.
Walter B.: Thanks.
Walter B.: My girlfriend expects me do other types of work at night.
Missy: lol, I’m sure...I know about expectations... :P
Walter B.: :D
Missy: You have an interesting history. I had no idea that you were a college professor. How do you manage that along with your music career performing and recording, touring, and travels? It's amazing you have time for a girl friend...
Walter B.: Yep. I have taught at Berklee College for 20 years and I have educational DVD’s I sell on my website to people in need of some help who might not be able to afford it.
Missy: That's awesome and I know first hand that your material is excellent.
Walter B.: Sister you gonna have to slow down you know this high tech stuff is kicking my behind.
Missy: lol, ok I’ll be......v-e-r-y......s-l-o-w
Walter B.: LOL. No, I am crazy and have learned to be a bit lighter. This is my attitude towards life and music.
Missy: Now, I would say that's 'Coolness'..
Walter B.: My girlfriend is happy that I am happy. This is a first for me. She knows that nobody has ever sold as many records as I have as a full-time professor so she helps me to do what needs to be done. She is a blessing.
Missy: Sounds like a Godsend to me...I hope things work out between the two of you...
Walter B.: Me too.
Missy: How did the title "Coolness" come about?
Walter B.: James Lloyd, the songwriter, always says it when he is ending a conversation so I told him we should call it that.
Missy: You now have 12 cd's to your credit with the first being released shortly after you graduated from college, right?
Walter B.: Yes. I have been very fortunate and very busy now. I pick and choose when I want to tour, record and teach. My life is crazy and wonderful.
Missy: I’m very impressed...that's the way you want things I’m sure. Also, to me seems like you were in the right place at the right time to get that 1st cd out so soon upon graduating. I’m wondering how that happened so fast.
Walter B.: I played the sax for 14 years and sang for 10 before my first record. I played in Latin bands, funk bands, jazz bands, and recorded hundreds of demos.
Missy: Well, your hard work and experience has paid off as your songs are a frequent on top 20 billboard charts. I was first introduced to your music with the 'For Your Pleasure' cd...my favorite still is 'From this Moment On'...really tight to listen to while driving.
Missy: Now, I read you sang in Spanish? Don't hear a brotha’ singing in Spanish everyday!
Walter B.: In Cali it was my calling card. I played with some Latin brothers in a group called Los Elegantes. I sang in Spanish and kind of freaked people out. It was great fun and I learned much about respecting other cultures.
Missy: By the way, I'm listening to your song ‘Let's Ride’...it's jammin...dang!
Walter B.: That's my track. I love that one.
Missy: I do too...My other favorites are ‘She's all That’, ‘Playtime’, ‘Don't Say Goodnight’, ‘Remember When’ & ‘Grace’...dang that's almost the whole cd huh? LOL
Walter B.: Lol, I like all those. ‘Grace’ is my favorite slow song.
Missy: Your vocals seemed to have evolved since the ‘For Your Pleasure’ cd.
Walter B.: I love to tell stories. I have an educational DVD coming out in February that deals with young singers just trying to tell good stories. I think it’s a lost art. I am thankful to have a pretty decent voice and even more thankful for good stories. I teach more voice at Berklee than sax...It’s strange.
Missy: Cool about the new DVD and that is interesting that voice is the main thing at Berklee. Hmm... but I think you have more than a decent voice...that song ‘Don't Say Goodnight’ is something else... I’m sure your girl likes that one!
Walter B.: I have accomplished so much and feel I am peaking. Hope to continue for a bit longer.
Missy: Your music is fresh...I mean I can play it over and over and it's still fresh...that's saying a lot about your talent.
Walter B.: Thanks so much.
Missy: Walter, any further comments before we close?
Walter B.: Just want to thank you for the opportunity and thanks to all who continue to support. Come over to the website www.walterbeasley.com and get some music, some info and love your life.
Walter B.: Thanks so much this was fun.
Missy: Yes, this was fun...any plans to tour TX area?
Walter B.: Not yet. Hopefully, before it gets too hot.
Missy: For real.
Good nite and sweet dreams...Adios
Walter B.: Buenas noches.
Check out Walter's latest cd
…it’s absolutely wonderful!