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Tommy Hendricks found himself at a crossroads in life not too long ago. Growing up in Houston, Texas, playing football was something that came naturally to Tommy. After playing for the University of Michigan where he was part of the 1997 Championship Team, he got drafted and went pro, playing as a linebacker for the Miami Dolphins for four years then for the Jacksonville Jaguars. After his football career came to an end, Tommy Hendricks found himself rudderless, lost. He didn’t quite no what to do with himself. Tommy says:
I sold cars for a while in Fort Lauderdale. Came home [to Houston] and did door to door sales for an energy company. I was a plumbing apprentice. But it was hard finding something that I loved just as much as football—you know, something that I wanted to continue to do. So that was tough.”
After a period of deep introspection Tommy decided to listen to his heart and turned to music.
I’ve been into music my whole life…My mom, for as long as I can remember, she played organ and she actually had a Hammond organ in the house. So I would always see my mom playing. I’d try to get on it as a kid and try to mess around with it. My dad is actually from Detroit. So he’s a big Motown fan. When I would ride with my dad wherever we would go, he’d have Motown artists on. He’d listen to it a lot. He loved music. He loved Motown. His favorite artists were Barry White and Freddie Jackson. So I listened to a lot of that music. I was always around it. It was the thing that really motivated me and inspired me, so I started making music.”
After going through a period of teaching himself the basics of FL Studio, Tommy found the Recording Connection and enrolled as an apprentice to Ricky Rich of Studio 713.
Speaking of his former mentor, Tommy says:
I like Ricky. He’s a straight shooter. If there was something that you needed to know or any questions you had, it was always an atmosphere where you didn’t feel like you were asking a dumb question. He definitely took the time when he had it to sit down with you, and if you asked him, ‘Hey, Ricky, can you listen to this real quick and tell me what you think?’ He would do that…If he liked it, he’d tell you. If he didn’t, he’d tell you. So I really respect him from that aspect…Just to get that experience and being in an industry standard type studio and seeing all the musical artists who would come through there and just to be around that, it was definitely inspirational…to be around major artists in the studio was definitely a good deal.”
Switching to Pro Tools, Tommy applied himself to learning the DAW inside and out, growing his production skills, and making connections. Later this month his first album of instrumentals, titled Roses and Wine Vol 1, will be released by Houston-based TxBoy-Music Record Label, with whom he has a one-year deal with an option to renew. More music is in the works.
Speaking of his career now, Tommy says:
I love about what I do. I honestly believe that I can be better as a producer or engineer, I can be better than what I was as an athlete, and that’s saying a lot. Because for one thing I can do it for longer, and I finally have found something that all the lessons that I learned in football and when I was at Michigan and in the NFL, I can finally apply all those things to music as far as working hard and getting better every day, not being afraid of competition, not being afraid to fail or fall. So all those things I can apply to my music.”
Keep charging ahead Tommy! Go team go!