The jingle bell rocker

Milwaukee’s jingle man has worked his music magic on a song released just in time for the holiday season – “Island Santa.”

Terry Sweet, an Emmy-nominated music composer and president of Wauwatosa-based Terry Sweet & Associates Inc., has been writing songs and jingles since he was a teenager. He has largely focused his career on writing for television and radio, with clients including Colder’s, Stan’s Fit For Your Feet, David Hobbs Honda, Stein Gardens & Gifts, and 7 Mile Fair.

His “Island Santa” project put his talents to use for a personal music mission. Sweet, who is a primarily self-taught musician, wrote the song’s lyrics and instrumentals about five years ago and kept the song in his back pocket until he felt it was the right time to enter the recording studio.

The song tells the story of Santa Claus’ visit to islands over a reggae-pop melody. Sweet wrote it to add a twist to Christmas music and create a song that would be “up tempo” and “fun” for the holidays, he said.

Once Sweet sat down at the piano, the lyrics and notes came to him in little more than half an hour.

“It was just one of those bolts of lightning,” he said.

The song is available on iTunes, Google Play and Spotify, among other music portals, and Sweet hopes his tune becomes a Christmas classic.

With a love of Christmas music, Sweet also plans to write more holiday songs. The emotion behind music has fed his lifelong passion and his career.

“Through music you can express emotion,” Sweet said. “You can use music as a language to communicate so many different things. You can be whimsical, you can be funny, you can be serious, you can be scary. You can change many of those emotions on a dime. You can go from one emotion to the next. So I think it’s all about communicating your feelings and your thoughts.”

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