New Colorado Springs music studio creates songs for nonprofits, produces Urban Classic concerts | Arts & Entertainment

Inside a sleepy strip mall on the city’s northwest side lurks a musical giant.

TerryJosiah Sharpe hunkers in front of a large soundboard, moves his cursor around a screen and presses play. The music that pours forth from the speakers would make even the most avowed nondancer’s hips wiggle.

Sharpe mouths along with the lyrics and plays imaginary keyboards, drums, guitar. His face squeezes and expands through a range of emotions.

Today’s track, “Rainbow,” an original pop song featuring Colorado Springs singer Zhê, was written by Sharpe and his team of musicians at the new music studio Anthem Music Enterprises. It’s what Sharpe calls an Impact Anthem — signature songs he creates for nonprofits — and was designed for Inside Out Youth Services, a nonprofit that works to create a safe space for LGBTQIA2+ youths and their allies through education and outreach in El Paso County.

“We sit and figure out what their voice is and create a song tailored toward their mission,” Sharpe said.

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Anthem Music Enterprises owner TerryJosiah Sharpe is filmed by Quron “Q the Rebel” Witherspoon as he records a vocal track for a new song.

“We put a marketing plan behind that song so we can raise awareness, or at least get people to have a conversation about what that cause is.”

For Inside Out, where the work centers on risk prevention and conversations about heavy topics, creating the song was a golden opportunity.

“This was a chance to celebrate queer joy in all its forms,” said Inside Out communications manager Liss Smith. “They were intent on getting our voice. It felt like a collaborative effort. Phrases in the song are from listening sessions with young folks — these are literally the voices of Inside Out.”

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Anthem, a multimedia music gallery, is a one-stop shop for musicians and other creatives who need to create content or record music or voice. Set designs are available for videos, promos or performance shots, and a large room in back with a stage and lighting is available for corporate gatherings and album listening parties. It’s where Sharpe’s younger brother, singer-songwriter JJ Sharpe, recently celebrated “J,” his multigenre debut album that was recorded at Anthem.

“The beautiful thing about music, and especially here in this city, is because there are so many different transplants there are so many different influences of what this city’s voice is,” TerryJosiah said.

“Over the last three years we’ve been helping mold the city’s voice in music. It’s not that nobody hasn’t tried that, but everybody’s so spread out.”

TerryJosiah doesn’t only crank out new music for nonprofits, he’s also behind the production company Urban Classic, a mingling of urban artists and classically trained musicians who play original urban jazz with a touch of classic pop. What started as a drum circle grew into a yearlong residency at The Gold Room, where an interchangeable group of 28 mostly Springs musicians did three-hour improv shows. The event then landed at the downtown venue Epiphany, which was shut down this year and left Urban Classic without a current home base. The group will perform Oct. 7 at CO.A.T.I. food hall downtown and Nov. 12 at Ent Center for the Arts to celebrate its debut album that drops on Nov. 11.

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Anthem Music Enterprises owners TerryJosiah Sharpe and Mitchel “Merch” Cohen dance to music together in the studio on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022. (The Gazette, Parker Seibold)

“It’s electrifying. We bring an experience equal to no other act in the city,” said JJ, a core member of Urban Classic. “We feed off the crowd and engagement and emotion. We bring the crowd into the show — you’re involved in it, you’re not just watching it.”