Bill Sharpe at the piano

Bill's gear:
Yamaha Motif ES8
Korg Triton Studio 88
Korg TR Rack
Mackie DFX 12 Mixer.

bill sharpe

After graduating from Birmingham University with an honours degree in music, I started to work for the BBC as a studio manager. At the same time, I continued to play in bands as I did throughout my years at school. One of the bands was called "Tracks" which comprised of Roger Odell, Keith Winter and Trevor Horn.

1980, along with Keith and Roger and producer Nigel Wright, I formed Shakatak. We toured the UK extensively during the early eighties and signed with Polydor records. In 1982 we had our first top 20 hit with "Easier said than done", one of the hits that I wrote for the band. Others include "Night Birds","Invitations", "Dark is the Night", "Down on the Street" and "Mr Manic and Sister Cool".

In 1983, international success began for the band in Europe, America and particularly in Japan where "Night Birds" became one of the biggest selling international albums of all time.

As the band's success continued through the 80's, I released my first solo album "Famous People" in 1985. One song on the album featured Gary Numan. Called "Change your Mind" , it became a top 20 hit and also heralded the start of a successful collaboration with Gary under the name of "Sharpe and Numan".

Apart from working with Gary , I also found time to write with and for other artists all over the world. From Yusuko Agawe in Japan to Annabella from "Bow Wow Wow" in the UK.

As the 90's began , Shakatak and I found ourselves touring less and recording more due to the demand for recordings particularly in Japan. Our music was becoming very popular in America in the contemporary jazz market where they had two consecutive number 1 albums.
At this time, since the band's schedule was less hectic, I found time to start writing music for television which has remained an interest to this day. In 1996, through my consultancy work for Technics keyboards, I met the great jazz musician Don Grusin and after spending time helping with the design and specs for some new Technics products in Japan, we became good friends. In 1997, I had the time and opportunity to record my second solo album and asked Don Grusin to co-produce the record with me in Los Angeles. This enabled me to work with some of my favourite American musicians including Alex Acuna, Paulinho da Costa, Abe Laboriel as well as the great soul singer Jeffrey Osborne.

The album is titled 'State of the Heart" and has received critical acclaim worldwide. In the ensuing years, I have continued to record and tour with Shakatak and we have just released our latest album, "Emotionally Blue", in 2007. There will be a new album later this year - look out for that! As far as my solo projects are concerned I recorded an album with Don Grusin called "Geography" which you can download from my we'll be working on a new album this year so look out for that. I also recorded a solo piano album of shakatak songs.