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The Bassline Baseline: Tips from Sharay Reed

During quarantine, lots of artists were going live on social media and ramping up their digital presence! We love to see it! One wise and seasoned musician that stuck out to me was Sharay Reed. I loved his Instagram Lives because he was basically doing informal demos where he played, explained and then answered questions from viewers: a simple but effective structure for virtual demos.

Having the opportunity to share the stage with Uncle Reed while touring with Cory Henry was a daily masterclass. He also availed himself to answer any professional questions I had about how to have a long career as a not just a consistently working musician, but one that is both thriving and constantly strives to master his/her craft. His main tips to me were:

  • to never stop sharpening your craft

  • to take care of your body by developing a proper fitness and nutrition regimen

  • to remember that your mind is your most powerful tool and the epicenter of your body.

  • to create and maintain passive streams of income

Who is Sharay?

Sharay Reed is a bassist, writer and entrepreneur from Chicago, Illinois. He is a proficient player on the upright, electric, and synth bass, reads music fluently, and is a writer, arranger, and producer. Sharay has performed in the bands of Patti LaBelle, Kirk Franklin, Yolanda Adams, R. Kelly, CeCe Winans, Boys II Men, Ramsey Lewis, Aretha Franklin, and Chaka Khan to name a few.

Sharay Reed graduated from DePaul University in Chicago, where he earned both a Bachelor's Degree in Music and a Master’s Degree (with Distinction) in Composition. He currently teaches, plays bass with keyboardist Cory Henry, and does freelance bass playing and recording for a wide variety of artists and projects.

Sharay plays a Fodera bass, and he endorses Gallien Krueger Amplifiers/Speakers and Evostraps.

Tips & Words to Live By

On that Instagram live demo, a viewer asked for tips on how to sharpen your skills as a bass player and he gave 3 simple tips that were really innovative:

1. Tape your fingers together while practicing

2. Retune your bass every now and again and practice along to familiar songs

3. Practice playing full songs on one single string

As a professional bassist, you want to be prepared in case something unexpected happens to throw you off of your course. You still have to eat, you still have to get the job done, and if you’re like me you still want to inspire and be great. Learn how to do and be well at a disadvantage and you will excel when everything is going well. This is not just a bass tip.
You don’t need a lot to do a lot. You just have to care about what you’re doing, because whatever comes from you Is you. Make sure that it represents you well. -Sharay Reed

He also a really cool interview web series called Travel, Taste & Talk where he interviews some of the best musicians in the industry about everything from the artists that they play for, to the wisdom that they have acquired.

Check out one of my favorite episodes with my Funk Apostle Fam: Nick Semrad & TaRon Lockett!

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