By JR Valrey, the Minister of Information
Reminiscent of the great crooners like Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and Donny Hathaway, Ty Astor is a very talented vocalist that I met at D. Wiggs’ Small Stage Sesh, on a Monday, in East Oakland. Ty Astor stood out to me, because besides being just a medium, he actually has something to protest and teach. He has pieces dedicated to love and lusting like most artists of the genre, but I was intrigued by a RnB artist with a passion for more than just singing for pearl. Like the great African musician Fela Kuti once said, “music is the weapon of the future”. Whoever controls the music, controls the rhythm of the Black community, whether their message is good or bad. That is the reason why I put my energy behind pushing an artist that is constructive with his words like a Ty Astor. Check out this up and coming voice from our community, in his own words.
JR Valrey: In the era of rappers, what inspired you to become a singer? Who were some of your first favorite vocalists?
Ty Astor: Tupac is my greatest influence but Jodeci, Mint Condition, and Tony Toni Tone were my RnB influences, growing up. I would wake up on Saturday mornings, and hear my mom and dad playing music and singing, it caught on. But I have also been playing the drums since I was 4, so music has always been in me. I was really shy growing up, but I always wanted to be the lead singer. We would have family talent night almost everyday. We had to make our house fun, because I grew up in a neighborhood that wasn’t so good. So music was the outlet my whole family was into, music in some type of way. So those artists are the reason that I’m doing music now. Their music was at the center of my childhood.
JR Valrey: What pushed you to write political lyrics in some of your songs?
Ty Astor: Most times, singers sing apolitical songs. I’ve always been a historian. My grandmother would sit us down, and give us history lessons about African American history, and stuff that I never learned in school. I take pride in my people, and I push the truth. And my music is my truth. I have no set genre, so when I make music, I make it based on the feeling of the day, rather than whether it’s good or bad. I try to make my truth, my truth. And how I feel, I put it in my music.
JR Valrey: What do you want people to get from your music?
Ty Astor: To gain a genuine ear… I want people to fall in love with my song topics. I touch on a little of everything in my music. I have over 200 quality songs recorded. I sing about me, my life, and my family issues. So I want my fans to know that everything is genuine. It’s a new sound. I pour my heart into my craft, so when people listen to it, I want them to feel such a connection with my topics that they can use it to help the mood they might be going through. I just want to gain genuine people organically.
JR Valrey: What are you currently working on?
Ty Astor: I’m currently pushing my first three albums “About Last Night Vol 1-3”, and planning concerts for the summer. I have a show on July 9th at the Compound, owned by D’Wayne Wiggins. I thank him for giving me a platform during the pandemic, where I can work on my craft. Also I have some big placements coming out this year, it will be big, God willing.
JR Valrey: How has COVID affected your creativity over the last year and a half?
Ty Astor: I feel like covid killed my in-the streets grind. It was so hard to push in the streets, and that’s what I’m used to doing. So not being able to perform, hurt me, but I still was in the studio making hits, and I was able to collaborate with some big names in the industry. So it worked out in both ways. I’ve been just grinding wherever and whenever I can, no matter what time it is. I have never been more focused about my craft. It’s only the beginning, and I’m not stopping ‘til I’m on top. I just want to represent the Town right, and make sure that I’m doing my part, to uphold Town history with the music.
JR Valrey: What do you have planned for this summer musically?
Ty Astor: Just to put out more videos, drop more music, and do shows. I need all my fans to come out and see me on July 9th at D’Wayne Wiggins’ Compound. The doors open at 630pm, tickets are $10 dollars. It’s going to be a fun event, and I want the Town to show up, and show out with me.
JR Valrey: What is your biggest accomplishment as a singer?
Ty Astor: Just being able to do what I love honestly. I live for – waking up, and being able to say I’m happy doing music, and making a living. I’ve been in many rooms, and shook hands with greats. I have so many experiences with the music I grew up on: Too Short and E-40, and it was dope that me and my brother got to work with them, when I put out my first single “Stay the Night”. I won the Home Turf competition. My first single hit kmel, and I shot the video with Emmy award winner Desmond Gumbs. It took off. The video touched over 50 thousand views in three months. Everything was up from there. I have some more accomplishments that haven’t come out yet, so I don’t wanna jinx them, but that’s by far one of my biggest accomplishments.
JR Valrey: Where do you yourself as a musician in the next 5 years?
Ty Astor: To have a Grammy and a few platinum records, fingers crossed. I have been putting in so much work I feel like something is gonna pop off for me, real soon. I’m staying humble and prayed up. I know God has something big in the works for me. So in the next five years, I want to be retired relaxing on an island, with my children. I see myself doing a lot for the Oakland community. I can’t ever forget what made me.
JR Valrey: How could people follow you online?
Ty Astor: Follow me on everything @ty_astor