WASHINGTON, D.C.—On Jan. 21, the Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club, served as the venue to portray the talents of one of Washington, D.C.’s unsung super-talents—Sylver Logan Sharp.
Though Sharp may not be a house-hold name in the DMV, in the internationally-acclaimed music industry, her vocal talents are widely apparent.
For nearly 20 years, she worked stages throughout North America, Europe and the Orient—as lead singer of the legendary disco/pop band, CHIC.
Sharp explains that her tenure with the group began in 1991, when co-founders Nile Rodgers and the late Bernard Edwards wanted to re-form the band from its hey days of the late 1970s.
“At one point, I was working the local D.C. circuit, and the next—I did an audition with Nile and Bernard. They liked what they heard, and hired me on the spot. I accepted the gig, but told them I still had some commitments at home I needed to fulfifll.”
Specifically, Sharp had been working with several local bands, including an all-girl group named Euphoria. She needed to return to D.C. and to accept a local award from an organization called the Washington Area Music Association, who was nominated for an award known as the WAMMIES.
“I’ve been around, but I still credit my D.C. musicians for helping make me what I am. And that includes all my homies in the Go-Go world,” she added. She notes that she helped her friend and keyboardist, “Sweet Cherie Mitchell-Agurs land the keyboard job with CHIC. Cherie currently performs with DC-based all-girl GO-GO band, Bela Donna, and formerly held the keyboard chair with Go-Go Godfather, the late Chuck Brown. She still gigs with the Chuck Brown Tribute Band.
Back to Sharp, she describes her early beginnings as a blend between learning the opera/classical stylings of Kathleen Deanna Battle and Jessye Norman, in addition to the R&B, jazz soulful chops of her mentor Jean Carne.
As a self-proclaimed child of the arts, Sharp’s career started humbly as the daughter of a classically-trained dance teacher, Paula Potts. “By age 4, I was learning tap, ballet and jazz dance from my mother. I was a busy child,” she fondly recalls.
Sharp’s family pedigree is notable, considering her grandfather is Dr. John Foster Potts Sr., a former president of the prestigious Vorhees College, a historically Black college in Denmark, SC. Potts, a Benedict College graduate in Columbia, S.C., eventually became assistant principal at Columbia’s Booker T. Washington High School and in 1936, moved to Gary, Ind to teach at Roosevelt High School—the high school of Michael Jackson and The Jackson Five. Dr. Potts received his Master’s degree from Cornell University in 1937 and ultimately married Muriel Logan and raised five children, including Sharp’s mother, Paula Potts.
Sharp proudly proclaims herself as a “Southern DC Girl,” who was born in Charleston, S.C. “I’m very proud of my Southern roots,” she adds. A significant portion of the Potts family still reside in their ancestral environs of Western North Carolina. Sharp says she is likewise proud to carry on both her grandmothers’ maiden names of Logan and Sharp.
“I spent all of my summers as a child in the South. Every summer we went to East Flat Rock, N.C.—near Hendersonville, N.C., where I went to elementary school.”
She also spent a significant amount of time in Charleston.
“As a small child, my mother moved us to DC,” she said. Eventually, her talents would lead her to matriculate to the highly acclaimed Duke Ellington School of the Arts High School. “That’s where I got a chance to meet so many talented people, from all over the city,” she said. As a kid, she primarily grew up in the city’s Northeastern section, and also spent vital developmental years in Prince Georges County, Maryland.
She eventually met a Philly-based publicist and radio personality named Dyana R. Williams, a regular contributor to the UNSUNG TV show (of the legendary Gamble & Huff music production team in Philadelphia.) Williams knew of CHIC’s interest in auditioning new singers to re-tool the group and connected Sharp with the audition opportunity.
During her years with CHIC, Sharp said she was provided an unforgettable opportunity to see the world, meet top musician, while working to develop her own craft. She appeared on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, Storytellers on VH-1, the Ellen DeGeneres Show with Kid Rock, and Larry the Cable Guy’s Christmas Special. She has also recorded with and shared stages with Roberta Flack, Patti LaBelle, Michael Bolton, Ledisi, Whoopi Goldberg, Italian singer-songwiter, the late Pino Daniele and earned a Grammy Award singing background with Yolanda Adams on a live LP at Constitution Hall in DC, she says.
In 2010, she decided the time had come to leave CHIC and forge ahead with her own solo career.
Sharp is no stranger to solo recording success. In 2005 she released “All This Time”a house-music hit with DJ Jonathan Peters. The song charted for several weeks in the Billboard dance category, she said.
Four years later, she released her debut solo CD, “Place To Begin.” produced by noted songwriter Daryl L.A. Hunt. Her current single, “Little Things,” from the aforementioned CD, was recently released in late 2015. Her first solo CD titled “The Groovement,” recorded live in Stockholm, Sweden, is scheduled for release early in 2016. The debut single, “Little Things,” from the CD, is now available on http://www.itunes.com.
“With the way the music industry has developed, with the new technology—musicians are now free to do what they want. There’s no more being stifled by record companies who own you, your music and what directions you’d like to go in. It’s a new day—and I’m just blessed that I’m around to enjoy the new energy.”
In addition to her musical talents, Sharp also owns a jewelry line simply known as SYLVERWEAR. Her clients include Sir Elton John, Chaka Khan, Nile Rodgers, her friend and acclaimed drummer Omar Hakim (Sting and Journey) and the late Donna Summer.
Follow @NewPghCourier on Twitter https://twitter.com/NewPghCourier
Download our mobile app at http://www.appshopper.com/news/new-pittsburgh-courier