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music: Against the Odds

Local R&B hopeful Twavé will do anything to make it in the music biz.

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He even performed at a fashion show at Daddioz recently, where the attention was squarely on the models, not the music, and his only complaint was how hard it was to follow Lola after she had come out in a bikini and stiletto heels.

Secondly, in addition to his positive attitude and tireless work ethic, he is professional — returning calls promptly, following up, an taking full advantage of any opportunity. While talent helps, success in the music industry is often determined by these non-musical attributes.

And finally, the man's got talent. He wrote, arranged, performed and produced almost everything on his debut album.

It took a few people, and a terrible car accident, to get him where he is, with the determination that sets him apart from many of the other aspiring singers in this area.

First, there was a preacher who busted him at 12 for lip-syncing in choir when his voice was changing. Not allowed to get away with it any longer, Twavé got past his discomfort with a changing voice — and that proved to be a valuable tool.

Next, a middle-school math teacher impressed with an original rap Twavé had done for a homework assignment, entered Twavé in the school talent show. Required to perform the Michael Jackson number "Man in the Mirror," Twavé won the contest, and that victory inspired him to set out on the R&B path and steer away from rap.

When Twavé's was 17, his father, who was only 35, died. The advice he left with the oldest of seven children was to "Go for it, son." Twavé vowed to continue with music, but the career choice really hit home in 1995 after Twavé's car was struck when he was leaving an event at the Richmond Coliseum. Twavé suffered broken bones, a severe concussion and lapsed into a month-long coma. When he awoke, he couldn't even remember his mother's name. But when he was asked who his favorite singers were, the response was automatic. The names came out rapid fire — Babyface, Stevie Wonder, Brian McKnight, Prince. "I nailed that," Twavé recounted. "And from that point I knew what I had to do. I thought: What if I don't have another chance to do this?"

Before the accident he had visited an enticing — but financially out of reach — keyboard every Wednesday for months. After the accident, armed with a financial settlement, he walked in and bought the Ensoniq TS-10 Digital Sequencer, and he used it to record all the instrumentals on nine of the tracks on "Jeopardy," his first full-length recording.

With a CD to showcase his songwriting and vocal abilities — he wrote, arranged and produced nine of the 12 tracks himself, handling all instrumentals and backing vocals, Twavé now has his sights on a recording contract. Of his will to succeed, Twavé is not boastful, but rather one who has faith, backed up by works. "I'm real determined. I'm super focused. Once I get a plan, I stick with it, against all odds. Whatever it takes." S



Twavé will perform Thursday, Sept. 26, at the Captain's Grill, 101 N. Fifth St. at 10 p.m. Tickets cost $5. Call 225-9100.

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