Change The Ending
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Change the Ending is both intimate and varied. Sharp is a communicator, blessed with a broad vocabulary, verbal and musical. She writes conversationally, with an ear for finding poetry in direct expressions of emotion. The complexities of a relationship taking a wrong turn come alive over a strong medium-tempo groove and sharp melodic hook in the chorus of the album's first single, "Me After You." A similar theme launches on "Your Stepping Stone" with just a stinging acoustic guitar motif and a thigh-patted beat before morphing through a series of contrasting textures and feels. "Sober" sounds as the title suggests, a little fuzzy and woozy, though the message quickly takes an unexpected, ironic turn. And on "I See Cecelia," which Maia penned with her father, the respected songwriter Randy Sharp, swinging brushes on the drums and sad but loveable Salvation Army style horns evoke the affection woven into her appreciative words.
While much of the material on Change the Ending is relatively new, some of it is more seasoned, particularly the songs that have already been covered by other singers. "Standing Out in a Crowd" is one example. Like many of Sharp's songs, it comes from her own experiences and observations, in this case regarding the loneliness that young girls in particular can feel when ostracized for being "different." She might have sent out this message on an earlier album, if not for the fact that Trisha Yearwood released it first, several years ago. Change the Ending allows us even another glimpse into Sharp's artistry, through her saxophone solo on an instrumental remix of one track, "Buy My Love."
Sharp grew up in Los Angeles, where she started playing local clubs while she was still in her teens. She gives a sly wink to her hometown's biggest industry with the new album's cover art. Filmmaking provides the perfect metaphor in the title track, as the narrator considers how a romance might have fared with a little rewrite. "It's a beautiful story," she observes ruefully in the chorus. "If you change the ending."
"Sharp always leads with her heart and comes across as a performer worth getting to know," said USA Today in a three-star review of Echo while NPR's "All Things Considered" hailed her as "a songwriter set to arrive" and The Washington Post called her "a sterling up-and-coming talent."
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"Maia Sharp is one of America's great singer-songwriters. Her storytelling runs profound and deep while honoring a pop tradition that urges you to sing along and feel good." - Producer Don Was
"Maia is making some of the most innovative and soulful music around with songs that are head and shoulders above the rest. She has become one of my favorite artists...a brilliant album, start to finish." - Bonnie Raitt
Four years ago, Maia Sharp achieved a lifelong ambition when Bonnie Raitt invited her to open for and perform with her on the road. It began when Raitt released Souls Alike, with three Sharp songs in the lineup. That album also featured Sharp's backup on those and several other tracks, which led to her joining Raitt on tour.
Produced by studio legend Don Was, Sharp's new album heralds her ascension into the spotlight after being embraced by Raitt, Carole King, the Dixie Chicks, Art Garfunkel, Keb' Mo', Terri Clark, Trisha Yearwood and many others who have recorded her songs.
"In the tradition of great female artists, Karla Bonoff, Bonnie Raitt, Christine McVie, Shawn Colvin, Sarah McLachlan...now enter Maia Sharp." - Art Garfunkel
From this point, the secret is out and Sharp stands on her own - a uniquely gifted singer, writer and multi-instrumentalist whose peers are the most discerning artists in the business but whose music on Echo reaches out toward the wider world.