Introducing Singer, Songwriter, Producer, Musician, mixing/mastering Engineer, Publisher, recording company owner Tony DeShawn.
Tell us what your music journey has been like?
Well, my musical journey has been good overall. I’ve been able to maintain my most valuable possession through it all; my anonymity. I’ve learned early in my career that fame is a prison of your own making.
How would you describe your musical style and what influenced it?
My musical style is generally R&B, Dance and lately House. I’ve always had Afro/latin influences. Lalo Schifrin (Mission Impossible theme) influenced me early on. But I’ve been a child of the era of the Four Tops, Gladys Knight, Delfonics, War, Santana and many others. I’m a student of many genres.
You’ve been making music for quite some time now – what have you learned with each release, and how have you grown as an artist/engineer since your first release?
Recoding has changed alot since the 80s and 90’s. Back then you really had to make vinyl records and that cost a lot of money. You couldn’t just open up your laptop and make a record like today. Over the years I’ve grown with the technology. I’m using plugins now of out-board gear that I only dreamed of using back in the day. This is truly a wonderland for music producers now.
If you could choose to work with some of today’s established artists or producers, to move your game to the top, with whom would you like to collaborate?
As far as rappers go, Rick Ross is the man in my humble opinion. But I’d work with anyone who I feel is honest in their work. I don’t like songs with no socially redeeming value. Such a waste of talent.
Can you tell us about your latest release and any upcoming music projects?
My newest release, which is available for pre-sale until September 30th, expresses my feeling about the music business. But, in a larger sense, it’s about leaving a person or situation that’s abusive. The music business can be very abusive. That’s why I’ve always taken the independent label path. When you own the label you end up abusing yourself though. LOL. I have a future-house version of “I Don’t Want To” that will be released in a few months also. I’m really excited about that too.
If the term “modern renaissance man” applies to anyone, it most definitely applies to singer, songwriter, producer, musician, mixing/mastering engineer, publisher, recording company owner Tony DeShawn. Yes, he wears many hats. However, it took a long time to develop the knowledge and skills to wear those hats well.
After leaving the Air Force, Tony enrolled at Los Angeles City College majoring in music composition where he studied piano, music theory and business. After earning an Associate in Arts degree he applied, and was accepted into the Music Arranging & Film Scoring Bachelor of Arts program (through Cal-State Northridge) at the Dick Grove School of Music in Van Nuys California. Tony says, “It was the place that taught me about “Hollywood music” and the people who created it”. Tony recalls his proudest moment after conducting his debut big-band arrangement performance. “Dick Grove pulled me aside and said, 'You’re a rough-cut diamond'."
After completing the coursework at Dick Grove School of Music, Tony set off to work on his musical destiny. My first single “Hard Attack” was released on our label Parrott Records in 1985 (named after the street Haim lived on in San Mateo, CA), which we later changed to Amazon Records because there was already a Parrot Records”. Tony credits Darnell with introducing him to the “real” music business and Haim for actually launching his recording artist career.
Tony dives further into his successes with his partnership with Haim Zion through Amazon Records. “Well, we scored kinda big with my first dance single “Hard Attack” in 1985. Radio nationwide picked it up in a lot of markets and the clubs loved it. The next single was “The Roof Is Burning Up” which we never really released. I was busy songwriting and producing new songs along with playing live locally with the band we formed called “DeShawn”. We released three more singles, “Get A Real Job”, then “Oh Girl” and “Real Lover” . The last two were remixed by popular bay area DJ Cameron Paul. I was sad to hear about his passing. Rest in peace Cameron my friend”. Tony paused a few moments then continues, “ We released my first full-length album in 1987 called “Real Lover” and the title track debuted at #92 on the “Billboard Hot Black Singles” chart. It was a great time for us. Local radio would constantly run a contest, seems like it was weekly, putting my song “Hard Attack” up against Slick Rick’s “Children's Story”. We would always tie from the call-in vote tally even though Rick had a much bigger hit, coming out of Def Jam and all”.
So tell me about this new song you’re so pumped about. "I once heard Quincy say in an interview that you always need to leave space in the studio for God to walk through the room. And I believe God walked through my bedroom ‘cause I woke with this song in my head. I grabbed my phone, opened the Notes app and typed the lyrics to this song with the melody already in my head. After I finished, I rolled over, woke up my fiancé Paula and sung it to her. She said she loved the song but was curious why I wrote it and seemed a little taken aback by it. Once you hear the lyrics you’ll understand why. So I said, the song is about my relationship with the music business. She looked relieved when I told her that However, in a broader sense, it's about leaving a person or situation that's abusive".
So what’s the name of your song? “It’s called 'I Don’t Want To' and it’s a dance track with a Ibiza/House kinda feel. It’s at 124 BPM so it’s definitely a club joint. That’s all I’m going to say about it now. You be the judge.
Tony DeShawn's latest single 'I Don't Want To' is scheduled to be released September 30, 2019.