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You work hard. You’ve got a plan for yourself and have put in the time, the energy, the determination to make it. Then life throws you a curveball and you’ve got to figure out a different path ahead in the world. In a nutshell, that’s what happened to Tavior Mowry.
Tavior had his sights set on a career in football ever since he was a kid. He did everything he was supposed to do to make his dream a reality. He worked hard, trained, and got noticed. He played so well in high school that he even earned a full ride scholarship to UC Davis and was right on track to going pro. Then tragedy struck. Tavior suffered a career ending injury. He finished out his college tenure, got a job working as wine salesperson and started devoting more time to his hobby–making music. Nevertheless, doing it on his own could be frustrating:
I was producing a lot. And, you know, I was just getting my charge down and understanding how DAWs would work and things like that. But when I would hear records play it on the radio or producers and artists that I, you know, admired, my beats didn’t sound like theirs. And I was trying to understand like, “Well, how did they make their kick so loud? Like why are their 808s blaring? Why are their snares so sharp?”
Meanwhile, the salesperson job was proving to be draining, he says, “I was very unhappy with that job because it was difficult for me to spend so much of my time doing something that I wasn’t passionate about.” After months of struggling to work in a career he found unfulfilling, he finally consulted his mom: “I was telling her where my passions were as far as music, creating, engineering. And she was like, ‘You know what? Maybe you should go to school.’”
Tavior heeded her advice and started researching audio engineering schools. He found the Recording Connection which looked like just the thing he’d been looking for, considering, sitting in a traditional classroom just wasn’t something Tavior was looking to do more of (he’d just done 4 years of it). Apprenticing under Zack Phillips (Jessie Ware, The Kooks, Talib Kweli) at Freq Lab and Hyde Street Studios, has enabled Tavior to get on the fast track to building a career in music. The opportunity is one of which even seasoned engineers are envious:
Zack is one of the best teachers I’ve ever had. Just hearing from all the other engineers at Hyde Street Studios, he’s very highly regarded. Every time I tell somebody I was studying under him, they‘d be like, ‘Man, I wish I could do that.’ And these are like engineers who, you know, are established in their career, and they still look up to Zack. So I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to…just be like a sponge whenever he would speak about things, whether it be the music industry, the business, or engineering.”
Working with Zack is enabling Tavior to open his eyes and ears to professional caliber music production, mixing, and recording. He’s serious about working with other artists and says his time in the program has really convinced him of the importance of creating a safe space where artists feel open to explore and share their work. As a self-taught musician himself who plays piano, guitar and bass, Tavior’s tastes run ecclectic, what he describes as “vibey music” with “percussion that slices through in huge waves. ” He composes tracks with rich soundscapes, a “lot of environmental qualities that create an atmosphere” and ample amounts of low-end bass. He names producer Bryson Tiller as one muse with similar creative stripes.
Tavior Mowry is living proof that it is possible to change paths in life and to set new goals that feed one’s soul and sense of purpose. When asked about how he’s planning on positioning himself in his newfound career, he responds with a lesson he’s taken from football:
Something that I’ve taken off the field into this studio is that if you can play all the positions, you won’t find yourself on the bench. And that is kind of a motto that I live by. So, you know, I can fill in the cracks. I can fill in the holes wherever I’m needed. And I feel that the more diverse you are, the more opportunities there are for you.”