ELECTRIC &KEY-BASS

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In 8th grade, after one year of playing upright bass, I asked my mother if I could get an electric bass. She said maybe if I got straight A’s. I studied a lot that year.

 

My earliest experiences on bass guitar were jams with my guitar friends on their favorite Jimi Hendrix, Rush, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Phish, and Dave Matthews songs. Around the same time, my mom’s brother, who also plays bass, bought me a DigiTech auto-wah pedal and hipped me to Bootsy Collins and Parliament-Funkadelic. That was it; I knew electric bass had to be a forever thing for me.

 

My high school band teacher was a killin’, gigging bassist from Memphis named Steve Holley on the forefront of “commercial music” education. He took the skills he learned working in the real world and created a curriculum for our school that included a big band, an R&B band, a chamber ensemble, and eventually an Afro-Cuban music ensemble. At age 16 I learned funk/soul music standards, learned about the recording process, writing charts, sining backgrounds, coming up with arrangements, and how to  professionally wrap cables. Steve, a multi-instrumentalist himself, really encouraged me to play upright like a upright guys, and electric like an electric guy. So I was off to the races.

 

I moved to Los Angeles in the fall of 2011 to attend the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California. I had my first formal electric bass lessons there with Alphonso Johnson; that’s when I finally started treating electric bass technique with special attention separate from any other related instrument. Outside of class, I played in hip-hop bands (where I finally started getting into creating key bass sounds), funk bands, pop music bands, and I even ran the Jazz Department of KXSC student radio station at one point. The community of multi-facted kids who were also seriously interested in a wide variety of music spaces was one of the most invaluable music experiences I could’ve asked for.

 

Out on the streets, post-college, probably 80% of the work I do has been from someone I knew at USC, or went to USC before me, or someone I met bc of a mutual USC friend. I performed with Gwen Stefani and met producer FredWreck through a fellow Thornton bestie. With FredWreck I did random recording session from for 50 Cent, Dr Dre, and Snoop Dogg. I met and performed with Mark de Clive-Lowe, Yuna, and Lupe Fiasco more in directly through USC friends of friends. Just as powerful as the gigs with big names have been the gigs with the rich community of music homies in Los Angeles. I hope to share more here as the story continues!

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