The Music of Frank Ulle

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SONGWRITER: Long before he wrote, produced and starred in Nick Guy, Private Eye, Frank Ulle was a singer/songwriter. He started writing shortly after he began taking piano lessons at the age of six. Some of those earliest songs have survived to be reworked and re-recorded, and are even featured on some recent recording projects.

Over the years he has written in a wide range of styles. From classical to country, from techno to ballads. But most of his songs center around contemporary rock.

Some of his influences include, the Beatles (primarily Paul McCartney); Paul Simon; Yes; Emerson, Lake & Palmer; Phil Keaggy and Steely Dan. He studied these artists/writers, and utilized what he learned in his own compositions.

Music Publishers recommend their writers work and write with as many different people as possible, so to help them develop as writers, expanding their experiences and exposing them to as many different ways and styles of writing as possible. Frank never really co-wrote with anybody. He never quite felt comfortable with a co-writer. But, he would hear a song in a style that was different than what he had written in before, and wanting to write something like it, he would study the structure of the song, the feel, the arrangement, etc. Through this process, in a sense, he co-wrote with many different writers. All from the comfort of his own home.

His coming to Christ in 1977 transformed not only his life, but, as one would expect, his song writing as well. His music became more of a vehicle to proclaim God’s glory and the greatness of the Gospel.

BAND MEMBER: In the mid-70s, he help form an all-original band called Prophet. Prophet gave Frank a platform to experiment with different writing styles and to explore different ideas and to grow and develop as a writer, performer and producer. The band broke up in 1980 after having been together for five years.

Frank continued to play solo and with several other bands. Among them were Sonrise, the Story Band, Asaph, and an Akron, Ohio-based band called Prophet Song led by John Morgan. Today he works primarily as a solo artist.

Over the years, both as a solo artist and with various bands, Frank has opened for such national acts as Paul Clark, Kathi Hart, Leon Patillo, Tim Minor, Michael Card, Rick Cua, Margaret Becker and Phil Keaggy.

Most of Frank’s band work today is as music director at Leroy Community Chapel where he gets to play with the wide variety of talented musicians Leroy Community Chapel has as members. Among them are his sons Paul and Thomas and his daughter Susan.

ARRANGER: Along with song writing, Frank also had an early interest as an arranger. He has come to see arranging as an extension of his song writing. Much of the success (or lack of success) of a song rests in the arrangement.

Prior to the mid 1980s most of Frank’s experience had been as a part of a band. In that setting, he was involved with his band mates in arranging (working through parts, making them work together, dynamics, etc), but he never really dealt with the particulars of how each instrument made that happen. When he started working more on his own, he had to become more familiar with what specifically each instrument was doing and how they did it. Again, he would listen to a recording that was similar to what he was going for and study it to see what each instrument was doing and how they interacted with each other.

He also studied orchestration and part writing, so as to be able to add orchestration to his songs as he needed to.

STUDIO WORK: From early on, Frank had a passion for studio work. While still a teenager, he got his hands on a portable reel-to-reel tape recorder, and along with a friend, conducted his first “recording” sessions. At least one song, written during this session, has survived - it was re-recorded, of course.

While a part of the band Prophet, Frank and fellow band mate Jeff Hise, pooled their resources and bought an 8-track reel-to-reel Tascam tape deck. After the band split up, Frank bought out Jeff’s share and set up his home studio. Although the Tascam tape deck has been retired, the studio lives on.

Working from this studio Frank has developed his talents as a songwriter, performer, arranger, producer and engineer. As a songwriter and producer, his albums display his talents with a wide variety of musical styles and settings.

SEVEN DAYS OF CREATION: Along with the arranging skills he developed working with numerous bands, he has studied orchestration and routinely utilizes full orchestral arranging for a number of his songs.

He has also composed and recorded a piece for orchestra and narrator based on the “Seven Days of Creation,” as well as several other shorter classical works.

WORSHIP LEADER/MUSIC DIRECTOR: When Frank became a Christian in the Fall of 1977, he began utilizing his musical talents at Church. He has been a worship leader for many years and currently serves as Director of Music at Leroy Community Chapel. One of his greatest joys has been to lead worship along side several of his children.

RADIO WORK: In 2004, Frank began working on the first of several radio comedy/dramas. One necessary component of these programs is music. And Frank has utilized his musical skills as a writer/arranger to develop themes and incidental music for these programs.

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