Music Monday: Faculty Superstar Is Also a One-Man Band

Jonathan Doh is a colleague at Villanova’s School of Business, but that is where the similarity ends. Jonathan is one of our most productive and internationally recognized faculty members. Jonathan is the Associate Dean of Research and Global Engagement; Herbert G. Rammrath Endowed Chair in International Business; Co-Faculty Director, The Elenore and Robert F. Moran Sr. Center for Global Leadership; and Professor, Management & Operations.

You can read more about Jonathan’s academic accomplishments but first, let me showcase his musical talents.

I knew Jonathan sang and played guitar, but until recently, I didn’t know how talented he really is.

A few months ago Jonathan discovered an app called Acapella, which allows a musician to record him or herself singing and playing multiple instruments, all of it perfectly synchronized.

Here is his first attempt at using the program, singing and playing Cure’s In Between Days. Here’s what Jonathan had to say about his foray into using acapella:

Ok, this is mostly embarrassing but during covid I started trying to learn all the parts to various 80s and 90s songs. Recently I discovered this really cool app, Acapella, which is incredibly fun. I spent about an hour today putting together parts for the Cure’s In Between Days. I gave it an old college try, however, the chorus is totally outside of my range (Bravo Robert Smith) and you can hear I’m totally flat. I’m sure if I’d spent a bit more time it would be better but I’m mildly proud of the instrumentation.

And here is the song:

My first thought when seeing that was, WOW. That is talent.

Fast forward five months, and here is Jonathan’s most recent acapella created performance, which to me shows that he has gotten much better at using the app:

Ok, I warned you all that I was going to try Bowie – ballsy I know. First thought I might go for ‘Heroes’ but the voice goes from a very low baritone in the first half of the song to a very high tenor/alto (the screaming part) for second part and I clearly could not handle that. Toyed with ‘Rebel, Rebel’ and ‘Space Oddity’ both of which are great, but ultimately ended up with the classic ‘Ziggy Stardust.’ As always many rough parts. Especially proud of drums (aside from one botched fill) which is one of my weak links. Unfortunately by the time I got to bass I was really burned out (you can see the sweat on my brow) and it is a really lame work out. Be gentle!

Great song, great performance. I have included five more of Jonathan’s performances at the end of this post in case he performs a song you might have a particular interest in:

  • Just Like Heaven by Cure
  • Friday I’m In Love by Cure
  • High and Dry by Radiohead
  • Box of Letters by Wilco
  • Melissa by the Allman Brothers (I have the sense this is Jonathan’s favorite)

As promised, here is a bit more of Jonathan’s academic background.

He has presented more than 80 papers at international conferences, and served the Academy of Management, the Academy of International Business, and the Strategic Management Society in numerous capacities. He has also served as Associate Editor and Special Issue Editor at several journals and is currently Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of World Business, the #2 ranked IB journal. Jonathan was ranked as the 12th most prolific international business scholar for the period 2001-2009 and in 2015, Jonathan was elected a Fellow of Academy of International Business.

Jonathan has been a visiting professor or presenter at numerous universities in Europe and Asia, including Aalto University, Copenhagen Business School, Vienna University of Economics and Business, University of Zurich, Peking University, Chinese University of Hong Kong, University of Auckland and University of Sydney, among others. Previously, he was on the faculty of American and Georgetown Universities, a director for the U.S. Department of Commerce (with responsibilities related to NAFTA), and a consultant for Deloitte’s Global Energy Resource Group.

To put Jonathan’s accomplishments in perspective, I write unrefereed blog posts that feature blathering…’

Here are the remaining videos, along with Jonathan’s comments:

Second installment of my Cure one man band series – Just like Heaven. This one was recorded just after my first vaccination so I was a bit light headed. Also really tricky because the intro is like 1/3 of the song (32 bars) so not clear which instruments come in where. As with other Cure songs – vocal register is really high! A bit sloppy here and there but I am more the garage rock type than polished sound. Managed to (barely) switch keyboards from synth the piano for the ‘solo.’ Next up ‘Friday I’m in Love’ which thankfully is in a normal vocal range.

Ok, last installment on my ‘Cure’ series – Friday I’m in Love.’ No excuses on the vocal range here except at the end of the bridge. Swapped out keyboards for guitars – this arrangement (if you can call it that – more like winging it) – has three somewhat overlapping guitar parts. Still has many of the flaws as others but perhaps the best of the series. Taking a break until I can figure out something else. Thinking Bowie but that may be a bit too ambitious.

Ok, here is another one – Radiohead’s High and Dry (purportedly about Evil Knievel). I’ve known this song for a long time but just the acoustic guitar and vocals so had to learn the other parts. Normally I don’t try to hit the high falsetto part but in the spirit of putting oneself out there here I do (try). If your antique stem glasses shatter, my apologies. Falsetto has never been easy for me (is it for anyone? I’ve seen live performances of this where even Thom Yorke is flat – and he has those fancy things in his ears that help him keep on tune!). Did most instruments in one or two takes except drums – my weak link. And even though this song is super simple, the drum beat is surprisingly tricky – at least for this novice. I like the way the kick drum and bass follow the same pattern. Thankfully guitar solo is also super simple.

Ok, here is my latest effort. I’m calling it a ‘rough cut.’ Another song I have known for awhile – Wilco’s classic ‘Box of Letters.’ I took some liberties repeating the chorus twice the first two go rounds and adding a harmony. Some instruments a bit distorted – not sure how to control for that. Also needed two guitars to attack one solo (poorly) but it’s all for fun, right?

Ok, here is my latest – the classic ‘Melissa’ by the Allman Brothers. In my view, one of the best folk/country rock songs of all time. (Fun fact: Greg Allman did not consider himself much of a songwriter and this was apparently the 300th attempt he made at trying to write something decent- originally love interest was going to be ‘Delilah’ but at a 7-11 he heard a Mom calling out for her little kid who was running around and well, the rest was history). I’ve known this song for probably 35 or more years, but had only sung it and played on acoustic guitar. Naively I thought it would be easy to work out the other parts. Drums were fairly straightforward given slow tempo. And the lead guitar was not that tricky (of course I am playing abbreviated lines – I’m no Dicky Betts – Greg’s brother Duane had died tragically in a motor cycle accident 6 weeks before the song was recorded). Surprisingly trickiest part was bass. I never realized how great a bassist Berry Oakley was. It literally took me hours to learn this dumbed down version. I kept the bass loud in the mix because I was ultimately proud of what I put together. Another fun fact: Sons of Greg Allman (Devon), Dicky Betts (Duane – named after you know who) and Berry Oakley (Berry Duane Oakley – again middle name a tribute) have formed the Allman- Betts band. Probably more than any of you wanted to know or cared!

42 thoughts on “Music Monday: Faculty Superstar Is Also a One-Man Band

  1. I’m envious of this guy. He is amazingly talented. I might consider doing it if I could play. I started learning the guitar after I retired but didn’t get very far. I can sing a little bit, and I’m the kind of guy who isn’t afraid of a bit of karaoke.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The more I read and listen to his song the more amazed I am. Congratulations to Professor Jonathan Doh for his talent and musical accomplishments! Its outstanding how he can play all of those instruments. Keep up the goodwork! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Gah! High achieving people! Such show-offs. I listened to Ziggy Stardust (one of my favorite songs). Very respectable. It’s neat that he does this, mostly I assume, to please himself. A lot like blogging. The world would get along fine without us, but it’s nice that we put it out there.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, I am really flattered by these comments and also by Jim devoting his column to me (must have been a slow news day). To respond to the comments above, yes, I do this to please myself but decided to share more broadly so some of my friends/colleagues could see a different side of me that they would not otherwise. My philosophy in assembling these is “don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good” and each one contains off-key notes and off-time beats. But that’s a lesson in and of itself too. Thanks again for all of your kind comments.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Quite a post! There is amazing talent hiding out at Nova. Professor Doh is truly a cosmopolitan man. I liked the beat and rhythm from “Box of Letters.” I had to check out “High and Dry” because of the possible Evil Knieval link. Knieval was born in Butte, Montana.

    Liked by 1 person

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