Photo courtesy of Isaac Sharp
Middle Tennessee State University student and up-and-coming recording artist Isaac Sharp was first given the chance to perform in a homeless shelter in Fairmont, West Virginia. Now, after a few years of experience and a new inspiration for charitable giving, he is returning the favor.
Sharp, an MTSU junior and marketing major, released a cover of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” in early November. All proceeds from the single will benefit Nashville children and families in need. Sharp has partnered with The Bridge Ministry, a Nashville-based charity, in order to donate the money.
Sharp said that he was first inspired to assist the homeless and less fortunate when he began to pursue a musical career in West Virginia.
“Where I lived in West Virginia, specifically, there was a lot of poverty and homeless communities,” Sharp said. “And, ironically, the first place I got a chance to play was at a rescue mission, a homeless shelter. It was a really cool thing for me at the time. I was like 13 or 14-years-old.”
Sharp first came to Middle Tennessee after he was invited by Steve Allen, an MTSU alumnus and Nashville music producer, to assist in a professional recording session.
“It was just like a circumstance thing that I knew (Allen’s) mom,” Sharp said. “I had met with him a couple times, on-and-off, and, one year, I got a phone call from him at 11 o’clock at night … He said, ‘What are you doing tomorrow? … If you can be in Nashville by noon, we’re doing a recording session, and our intern just quit.’”
After learning that he had a chance to work on the recording, Sharp booked a red-eye flight, lied to his parents about having a place to stay in Nashville and arrived in the city the next day.
“I slept on the Pedestrian Bridge in downtown Nashville for the better part of six or seven days and would get up and walk to the studio,” Sharp said. “I would walk there, shower, work on the record and go sleep on the bridge.”
Sharp continued this routine for another week until his work at the Nashville studio, the Sound Shop, was completed. He said that Allen pulled him aside, asked him if he could be back in another few weeks and offered him an actual internship.
“I signed for the first apartment that I could find and was back in Nashville in 15 days,” Sharp said. “I had this terrible, moldy apartment that probably looked like I was going to get shot, but it was great. It was awesome. I came back and did the internship for the next two years.”
Through the internship, Sharp found a passion for songwriting, and Allen encouraged him to enroll at MTSU to finish up his marketing degree.
Sharp will be releasing his first solo project early next year, and he said that the release of a Christmas song was originally a way to promote the project.
“I had the idea to do a Christmas song,” Sharp said. “We were going to record it, put it on iTunes and sell it. However, I thought about it, and I thought that it would be really cool to do something good with it, especially with it being Christmas time.”
Sharp has set up a PayPal account through his website in which people can donate to the fundraiser and then download the “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” cover.
“(The Bridge) has sent me a list of what items they need,” Sharp said. “They really need diapers and a bunch of other stuff. I’m going to go and buy those things and bring them to The Bridge’s warehouse.”
Every year on Dec. 19, The Bridge Ministry holds an event, titled “The Bridge to Christmas.” During the event, the charity gives away hundreds of gifts to underprivileged Nashvillians. The gifts that Sharp will purchase through his fundraiser will be distributed at the event.
“I’ve never been to (The Bridge to Christmas event), but I know people who have,” Sharp said. “They say it’s just this huge thing. There are hundreds of people that come out and get presents.”
Sharp said that it is important for musicians to use their platforms to assist those in need, no matter the time of year.
“For one, you get tired of promoting yourself,” Sharp said. “So, one thing that I’ve tried to do with my whole profile and branding is to constantly push other people and other things. Whether it is other music that I think people should check out or other charities … There have been people that have invested in my life, and I’m finally starting to see some of the fruit and some of the efforts of that return. And, I really, truly believe that it is my responsibility to invest in other people’s lives.”
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