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Hello! I am JP Walker, a Brooklyn-based SInger-Songwriter. I am 45 years old and have also been a working actor for over 20 years. In high-school and college, I was in mulitiple bands, both as lead-singer and drummer (but never at the same time). Upon graduating college I moved to NYC and got an agent and a waitering job and began auditioning for roles. At the same time, I was writing and recording rock & roll and folky pop songs on a little 4-track Fostex. I even played out here and there, at open mics, and twice at CB's Gallery (Years earlier, I'd played an audition night at CBGB's--1985, a Tuesday in July. The band was called the Revelators.)
That second (and final) gig at CB's Gallery was a turning-point. Or, more accurately, a turning-away point. The gig occured maybe a week or ten days prior to my moving to LA to begin work on a new TV series, in which I played the leading role. I was feeling pretty good about myself, and decided to set up a video camera to record what was surely to be needed archival footage of future legendary TV comedian, Jon Patrick Walker.
Cocky as I was feeling, I still felt the need for some liquid courage when I played that night, and downed two or three pints of beer, before and during the performance. No biggie. I played, I kind of had fun, in a beery, sweaty sort of way.
I moved to LA.
I started work.
At somepoint I decided to watch the footage I'd taken that night at CB's Gallery. So I did.
I was aghast. I found my manner that night to be oozing with a boozy self-regard that I simply couldn't watch.
And I essentially shut myself down, in that creative arena, for the next 13 years. Occasionally I'd sit down and write a song, or start one. Finished a handful over the years. Never did anything with them, hardly even played them for anyone.
But as I got into my middle 30's, I was feeling the need to invigorate my career (the TV series had been short-lived; it was followed, 2 years later, by a second short-lived series.) and I began taking singing lessons so that I would be able to audition for musicals.
I had a great teacher, and ended up getting work, notably playing Bruce Springsteen in the Broadway adaptation of "High Fidelity," the John Cusack indy film. A year later I worked on a new Pete Townshend rock opera, "The Boy Who Heard Music." Both jobs re-kindled a joy had always taken in singing rock & roll music, though I wasn't yet ready to see where my path was taking me. I didn't realize that a mystifying confluence of events would eventually reveal to me my need to write and record--and play-- original music.
In the fall of 2009, I decided to quit drinking. It was a long time coming, and even though no one (not even my wife) suspected that I had a problem with alcohol, I knew that I did, and was ready to give it up. I am convinced that I would not be today making music were it not for my getting sober.
Less than 6 months later, my mother was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer. In the spring of 2010 she moved in with me, my wife, and our two girls. It was an incredibly challenging time, but also deeply rewarding, in its way. I also believe it would have actually been much harder to deal with if I'd still been drinking.
In the summer of 2011, as my mother's health continued to deteriorate, I received an email: "Foday Bojang wants to be friends with you on Facebook." I had no idea who the person was, but the sight of his name, and especially saying it aloud, brought a smile to my face. I did not immediately "friend" him back, but neither did I delete the email.
One day, I was hanging out with my daughters, and I picked up my guitar, and began strumming the three-chords of "Louie, Louie," but singing, "Foday Bojang," instead. It hit me that there might be a song here, so i messed about with the chords, and soon came up with a verse and chorus, eventually adding a bridge, and two more verses. Upon finishing it, I was possessed by an impulse: I must record this song. But not on my laptop, I wanted to go into a studio, with musicians, and do it right.
Less than a week later, I was talking to a songwriter friend who lives in Nashville, telling him about my idea, and I played him the tune. He told me to come to Nashville, that he could easily hook me up with a studio, an engineer, and some killer musician pals of his.
I booked my flight that night, and 6 weeks later was in the studio, my first time in Nashville. It was so much fucking fun, and it changed my life: I knew, with utmost certainty, that I needed to start putting my creative energies into music. My music. I even considered retiring from acting and going full-tilt into this, but ultimately decided that I could pursue both. But unlike acting, where one is often in a passive position, waiting for someone to "pick" you to be on their team, with my music, I could be in charge of my own destiny. It was some much-needed empowerment, having endured decades fo pounding the pavement in search of acting work, and facing so much rejection along the way.
My mom died 4 weeks after I recorded Foday Bojang. She got to hear it, and loved it. After her death, I poured myself into music, unearthing older songs, reworking some of them, writing new stuff, and traveling to Nashville. Over the next 9 months, I finished another 10 songs. I also formed a band in Brooklyn, and we began playing gigs around town. In the spring of 2013, I self-released "The Guilty Party."
In the fall of '13 I went into a studio in DUMBO, working with Josh Kaufman, a brilliant musician, producer and arranger, and a genius drummer named Ray Rizzo. We started laying down basic tracks for several new songs I had written, and over the next year we recorded a total of 18 tracks, many of which feature the amazing Rene Hart on bass.
I am planning to release a bunch of these songs for my next album, tentatively titled, Going Somewhere.
Hope you dig the music!