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Island Expressions: Padraic Coursey

March 1, 2009 — Songwriter and producer Padraic Coursey is living his dream on his beloved island home of St. Croix, opening Aqua Sounds recording studio in a Christiansted building his great-grandfather, Alejandro Correa, bought in the 1950s.
"As a kid growing up here on St. Croix I would have loved to have had a place like this for recording," Coursey says.
He opened the studio at 22-23 Prince Street in October 2008. People passing by the pristine lime-green building have told Coursey they remember when Correa had the building. The renovation of the building has helped upgrade the neighborhood.
The 1,700-square-foot, state-of-the-art studio features a control room and two isolation rooms. It has the rich aroma of new hardwood floors and wainscoting, along with soft, subdued lighting. There are even complete living quarters upstairs for visiting recording artists.
The studio was designed by Marc DeSisto, a friend and partner of Coursey's from Los Angeles who is a sound engineer, producer and mixer. DeSisto is working with producers in Los Angeles to promote Aqua Sounds Studio and Ocean Records, Corsey's record label.
Coursey was born in Christiansted in 1972 to John and Gloria Coursey. His interest in music and songwriting began at home. He grew up in a home filled with music and prose, with his mom playing piano and guitar and his dad writing poetry.
He recalled as a little tyke he couldn't say "guitar," and would say he wanted to play the "tigaur." His dad told him before he went out to play he had to write four lines about whatever was on his mind. After a while he had to write six lines, and so on.
"I played a lot of air guitar even with my tennis racket while taking lessons with Don DeWilde, my tennis coach," Coursey says.
At 16 he got his first guitar and he would rock along to the Doors, Black Sabbath and Jane's Addiction. He never had lessons, but really loved to play the guitar.
"I realized I couldn't really play very well, so I decided to write lyrics," Coursey says.
Rob Lambert and Coursey started a duo called Cape of Arrows. They came up with the name while hanging out at the beach and surfing near the site of a Columbus landing with that name.
After graduating from St. Joseph's, Coursey moved to the States and attended the Art Institute of Philadelphia, getting his bachelor's degree in film and audio engineering.
"I was so hungry to see and meet musicians," Coursey says. "I loved the clubs and players and went out every night in Philadelphia."
After eight years on the East Coast, he packed up his van and drove to Los Angeles. He started Fluid Productions with two-time Grammy winner Ted Greenberg in the famous Cello Studios in Los Angeles. Coursey worked with a lot of talented musicians in L.A., all the while dreaming of building a state-of-the-art studio on St. Croix and being near the sea that he loves.
It is Coursey's goal to foster a creative atmosphere for all styles of performers. A number of local performers are using the studio for production.
At Aqua Sounds, Jahman and Pressure recorded the vocals for "Barack Obama," which was produced and mixed by Laurent "Tippy-I" Alfred. The single has hit local airwaves. Pressure was nominated for Most Promising Entertainer in the 2008 International Reggae and World Music Awards.
Coursey would like to start a summer youth program that gives children the opportunity to learn about the recording process and get inspired to become musicians.
Coursey says he wouldn't have had his success and the fruition of the studio without the help of his family: mom, Gloria; brother, Sean; and sister, Gloria Rose Coursey. He is married to Susan Coursey and has an 11-month-old daughter, Isabel Camille.
For more information about the studio, visit AquaSoundsStudio.com.
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