In the news - D Sharp

3rd September 2010 at 01:00

The name is a giveaway: Mr Sharp is a music performance teacher at South Thames College in London. He calls teaching his "staple role" but he's better known as a singer, songwriter, guitarist and keyboard player. He signed to Sony BMG four years ago under previous alias Geniyo, and has performed with Dina Carroll and Luther Vandross, among others. But the spotlight hasn't brought the curtains down on his classroom role, where he teaches 16- to 19-year-olds.

Why teach?

"I find it very nurturing. I used to be a visiting teacher, between tours, at Merton Music Foundation and the London School of Contemporary Music. I did my PGCE at South Thames College, which was the turning point in my academic career. The things the kids throw at you are amazing - they are very emotional at this age, but I never presume anything with any student at any time."

What do you get out of them?

"We have won the WorldSkills UK Popular Music Competition twice now, and were runners-up this year. It's pretty unprecedented to win twice. It's my job to put the skills of the band together. If we do it, we do it to win and if we don't win, whoever beats us has worked pretty hard."

A bit of an enthusiast then?

"I am a confident person and have a can-do attitude with the will to make things better. I am launching a label to get some of my students (promoted through) the internet. I also have an ambition to create a reality TV-style environment where I get four singers, drummers, bass players and guitarists and nurture them in a music school. I can get a drummer who has worked with Sting to be their mentor."

Blimey, any other names to drop?

"Well, I've written songs with Prince, worked with Dina Carroll and supported Luther Vandross at Wembley. I am currently writing songs with Jay Sean and P Diddy. I think these guys appreciate a British songwriter. We have a better background - Brits are more open in their taste of music, while the US is more segregated."

Bet the kids revel in it.

"I keep it quiet. I don't want them to be daunted and think, 'I could never be as good as you,' or for them to ask me, 'Why are you here?'"

So you're undercover?

"When they graduate I will reveal my superhero identity. They come and see me perform and I think they're shocked. I am quite athletic, so I run about on stage. I think that's why I was popular for tours - if I was on the guitar I would shake my tush. It's value added."

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