Songwriter Spotlight: Todd Alsup

I was in college when I got a call to perform with Todd to promote his upcoming release. When I listened to the demos to learn the music I was immediately impressed with his songwriting and vocal talent. I was actually hoping I could somehow convince this Michigan native not to move to New York and to join my band instead. 

Once I met him, I took note of his professionalism, ambition, and focus. This kid was bound for New York, and I knew right away there was no stopping him. And by kid, I mean adult maybe five years more experienced than I was at this whole game. It is no surprise to me to find him continuing to work successfully in the Big Apple, getting endorsed by Yamaha, getting a write-up in Billboard magazine, and achieving plenty of other fantastic career milestones.

"I knew my version couldn't match what his voice can do."

Of all the tunes we performed at that gig together, "Theory" was my favorite. It was a lyrically unique angle on the classic pining-for-love motif, and harmonically very interesting as well. There was just one problem with wanting to do my own version: What a vocal performance! With Todd influenced heavily by Stevie Wonder, Tina Tuner, and host of other top R&B singers, I knew my version couldn't match what his voice can do.

There's little point in covering a song that's just a subpar version of the original! To make this one a bit of my own, I had to lean on my own talents as an orchestrator and multi-instrumentalist. You'll notice a melodic bassline and more heavily orchestrated solo section complete with string runs and uplifting french horns at the climax. George Martin is a long way from Stevie Wonder, but it's a voice I can draw from far more readily.

If you enjoy this tune, be sure to check out Todd's full album Facts and Figures, as well as all the excellent music he has released since, including his latest single "Manhattan".

 

Hear the new song here!

 

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