SharpTurnAhead is an up and coming singing and performing duo, combining the musical talents of 13 year old twin brothers, Kyle and Benjamin Sharp.
Kyle and Benjamin are originally from Austin, Texas, where they lived until the Summer of 2009. During that Summer, the brothers, along with the rest of the family (mom, dad and 2 dogs) moved from Austin to Laguna Beach, California. That move, unknown to the family at the time, may have been the spark to a promising musical future.
From an early age, perhaps as young as three years old, it was evident that the Sharp brothers were born with pure passion for music and performance in their souls. Kyle picked up his first guitar at that time. As he and his brother watched various concert videos, including James Taylor, The Eagles, Sheryl Crow and Shania Twain, Kyle would strum along (right hand only, of course…he was only 3 at the time), and Benjamin would belt out the vocals, with Kyle singing backup.
At the age of four, maybe five, Kyle asked to start taking guitar lessons. So, his parents did what they thought was right and enrolled him in lessons…classical lessons. That lasted about one month. Kyle knew what he wanted to do with the guitar, what he wanted to learn, how he wanted to play, and those lessons weren’t what he was looking for. During that time, Benjamin was briefly introduced to the piano, but after discovering that the boys had to be woken up from their naps to get to their lessons, their parents decided it may have been a little too early for that investment of time. So, in the comfort of their home, Benjamin continued to blend his naturally beautiful singing voice with his brother’s early attempts with guitar chords, and spent endless hours entertaining their parents.
When the Sharp brothers were six or seven, Kyle’s musical interest briefly shifted to the drums. His parents bought a full size, performance quality set, from a garage sale and Kyle was off and drumming. All total, Kyle spent roughly one year pounding away on the drums, but that was a pivotal year for he and his brother, as performance opportunities started to present themselves. Their first opportunity to entertain a crowd was at a small Vietnamese restaurant/coffee shop in Austin called Triumph Café. Kyle and Benjamin’s mom (Carla) just loves Vietnamese food and Triumph Café made her favorite spring rolls. This became a frequent dining spot for the Sharps. On Friday and Saturday nights, the restaurant had live music, and one band in particular set the stage for these boys to dive head on into their music.
While watching Brian McLeod and his jazz band perform, Kyle and Benjamin were completely absorbed, nearly frozen, Benjamin focused on every word and Kyle focused on the guitars and the jazz snare and high hat. Brian took note of the brothers’ complete focus on his band, and offered the boys an opportunity to play with he and his band during their break.
That was it…that was the moment that may have defined the future for these brothers. A simple opportunity to sit behind an instrument and a microphone, and perform in front of people who weren’t related to them. Brian’s band was blown away, the 15 or so people watching were blown away, and the rest is history.
At the age of eight, Kyle jumped back into guitar lessons, and this time it was forever. Kyle was fortunate to learn from an amazing guitar teacher in Austin named Paul Clancy. Paul quickly noticed Kyle’s raw talent and passion and gave Kyle the early confidence he would need to blossom as a performer. Can’t thank you enough, Paul, for inspiring Kyle and for watering him at an early age.
Just after turning nine, Kyle and Benjamin’s dad was given an opportunity to relocate with his employer to Southern California. That decision was not without complexities and challenges, including the heartache the brothers would feel leaving Austin and everything they know and love about life…their friends, family, familiar places, Paul, the Texas Longhorns, etc. It was only fitting for the boys to give one final performance at Triumph Café, for friends and family who knew and loved them, in their final days leading up to their move away from Austin. It was a special night for the whole family and for the many friends who loved Kyle and Benjamin. Your love and support is what carried the family through those difficult final weeks living among you and provided the strength for the family to embark on our new journey.
In spite of the obvious challenges ahead of them, rebuilding their lives in a new city, Kyle and Benjamin met the challenge head on and have prospered beyond imagination.
Settling in Laguna Beach, and entering fourth grade as the new kids in the area, was a scary time for the brothers. But they had their parents’ love and support, they had each other, and they had their music.
Soon after entering fourth grade, their talents and love for music were noticed by a long time Laguna Beach resident, teacher and musician. Beth Sand put her musical arms around Kyle and Benjamin and helped them establish their new local identities. Beth also owns the local guitar shop and music school, so she introduced Kyle to the guitar instructors there, and Kyle eventually found the right instructor in Randy Rusk. Randy picked up where Paul Clancy left off, recognizing Kyle’s natural gift, and he has made a significant impact on Kyle’s guitar playing and love of performing. Randy, in turn, introduced Kyle and Benjamin to an amazing vocal coach, Lynn Semelsberger, and with Lynn’s help and guidance, they have made great progress with the maturity in their vocals.
Since moving to Laguna Beach in June of 2009, the brothers’ focus on their music and performing together has grown steadily.
From 2009 through early 2011, Kyle and Benjamin had a few opportunities to showcase their talents in front of large crowds. Kyle, with guitar in hand, led the fourth grade choir in singing “Take me out to the ballgame” on the baseball field at the Angel’s stadium in Anaheim. They also performed locally in their fourth and fifth grade talent shows, singing I’m Yours by Jason Mraz and Mud Football by Jack Johnson. During the Spring of 2010, they also had the opportunity to perform a 45 minute set at the Sawdust Festival venue in Laguna Beach.
At the beginning of 2011, after being the lead vocalist for his brothers’ guitar for many years, Benjamin decided it was time to learn an instrument and start playing with his brother rather than just singing with him. Benjamin took his first piano lesson from Laila Scharf in January 2011, and Laila’s personalized approach to Benjamin’s needs has quickly developed Benjamin into a very capable performer. Benjamin’s natural abilities and growth have been no less impressive than Kyle’s natural abilities with the guitar.
After only a few short months of piano lessons, having just turned 11, Kyle and Benjamin were given an opportunity to play a two set, 75 minute gig, at a pizza restaurant called Mandy’s Pizza in Ladera Ranch. That night, they played to roughly 60 or 70 guests and they were truly magical. Their sets included roughly 20 covers of songs from Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz, OneRepublic, Coldplay, The Beatles, The Eagles, Credence and Graham Nash, among others.
Since that night at Mandy’s, in May of 2011, Kyle and Benjamin have been adding songs to their song list and growing as a musical duo.
In February of 2012, after just turning 12 years old, Kyle and Benjamin performed their first local gig in Laguna Beach. They played a two set night, again with roughly 20 songs, at a restaurant/pub called Hennessey’s…a very popular local hangout. This night was played to a nearly standing room only crowd of approximately 90 to 100 guests. The response from the crowd watching them perform was at times amazement, watching these little guys do what they do, but at all times, was pure joy.
Throughout 2012, momentum for these brothers has been building, having performed more than 30 shows since May 2012. They’ve been performing frequently at the Irvine Spectrum and The District, outdoor shopping districts in Orange County, CA, and also Seaport Village in San Diego. The Sharp brothers also performed last Summer during the Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach at the Sawdust Festival, an iconic Summer arts festival. Other venues and events include the Orange County Fair, the Long Beach Town Center, a charity fundraiser supporting “Special Spaces of Orange County”, and the Sharp brothers were also extremely fortunate to play as part of the huge annual event in San Diego’s Balboa Park, “December Nights”
The brothers have released their first original song, titled “California Ain’t That Far”, and the song is available for download on iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon mp3 and other digital download sites. The song tells their story, about the feelings and emotions they experienced when moving to California from Austin three years ago. This is not your everyday “poppy” 12 year old song…this is pure singer/songwriter music, written and played from their hearts. In addition to their original song, Sharp Turn Ahead has released three studio recorded cover songs on iTunes…”Stop and Stare” by One Republic, “Keep Your Head Up” by Andy Grammer and “Details in the Fabric” by Jason Mraz.
Kyle and Benjamin Sharp (the Sharp Brothers)…twins…best friends…musical duo…arriving soon.
Get ready music fans….there is a SharpTurnAhead.