Thomas Dawson arrived on this world with music baked into his soul.
His mom handed him a small electrical toy organ when he was a toddler rising up in St. Francisville, La. It was December, and he tapped out “O Come All Ye Trustworthy” with out a single lesson.
“She stated, ‘How are you going to do this?’” he says. “I don’t know. It was one thing that was instinctive. I knew innately learn how to do it.”
There was by no means a query concerning the scope of his life, says Dawson, a Colorado Springs resident. The size and breadth of it will be wealthy with music.
Presumably you’ve heard of the boy band Dawson’s been a member of for 3 many years and counting — the Commodores. Sure, the Grammy Award-winning funk and soul Motown band well-known for songs such because the played-at-almost- every-wedding-reception-ever “Brick Home,” “Three Instances a Woman,” “Nightshift,” “Simple” and “Candy Love.” The group that brewed R&B singer Lionel Richie till he left in 1982 to go solo.
“Some individuals select to do music, and a few individuals are chosen,” stated Dawson throughout a latest lecture on the College of Colorado at Colorado Springs, the place he’s a school member within the Visible and Performing Arts Division.
“And if you’re chosen, you don’t have any selection within the matter. What I realized from Quincy Jones about music is your music would by no means be any extra or any lower than you’re as an individual. Music comes from an expression of your being. It’s why two singers can sing the identical tune and one’s sort of cute and the opposite blows you away.”
However Dawson’s innate expertise doesn’t culminate as keyboardist with the band of males he now calls his household. Ask anyone who is aware of him and the reply is invariably the identical: He’s a musical genius.
“He was born with that,” says one in all Dawson’s mentors, Benjamin Wright, who was musical director for Gladys Knight and the Pips and The Temptations, and likewise has achieved string preparations for Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake and Earth Wind & Hearth.
“Thomas has been blessed. He’s utilizing his blessings each day. When God provides you one thing, you might have to have the ability to give to others and that’s what he does. He’s a giving individual. It goes past the music.”
Dawson doesn’t see music as purely a car for leisure, however as a option to join humanity. You’ll be able to hear it when he talks about performing, not solely as a part of the Commodores, however because the leisure director at Springs Orleans restaurant, the place he usually performed piano for the final eight years till the pandemic roared via.
“I miss the interplay of taking part in for individuals at eating places,” he says. “I’m sending vibrations to them and so they’re sending them again. It’s a dialog we don’t notice we’re having, however we’re. Music is the common language. At concert events we’re feeling the vibrations of the viewers and that creates a sure excessive that takes hours to come back down from. That’s our souls talking to one another.”
That musical vibration can also heal, he believes. Six years in the past, Dawson and his good friend Dr. Bambi Nickelberry co-founded the Los Angeles-based Heart for Harmonic Well being and Therapeutic, the place they work collectively to deal with medical situations via resonant frequencies embedded into Dawson’s unique compositions.
“He can’t assist however create one thing superb and delightful,” says Nickelberry, who’s medical director of the middle and likewise a household drugs physician in Inglewood, Calif.
“All he has to do is sit there (on the piano). To say what that’s, who is aware of. Nevertheless it’s there. It’s highly effective.”
His early years
When Dawson gazes again to childhood, it wasn’t funk and soul, however nation music that first pierced his coronary heart. There have been hours watching “Hee Haw” and listening to Johnny Money and Charlie Satisfaction as he acquired prepared for varsity each morning. And neglect about toy vehicles for Christmas; there was nothing however toy devices on his want record.
In fourth grade, he began on drums whereas his brother performed saxophone, till Dawson took one take a look at the sax and cheekily informed his brother he may play it. And he did, immediately, very like the toy organ as a toddler. Similar factor occurred with the trumpet in fifth grade when he requested to borrow one other scholar’s instrument. By highschool he was taking part in a trifecta: piano, trumpet and bass guitar; he went to Southern College and A&M Faculty in Baton Rouge, La., on a trumpet scholarship.
“He’s an unbelievably proficient and modest individual, and his stage of expertise is sort of otherworldly,” effuses one other Dawson fan, Perry Sanders Jr., a neighborhood legal professional and actual property investor who owns the downtown Antlers and Mining Change motels, together with Springs Orleans and The Well-known eating places.
Sanders and Dawson return greater than three many years to Baton Rouge, the place the businessman, and likewise musician, heard Dawson play bass in a band. Sanders owned a recording studio on the time, and was in search of a companion to do jingles. He invited Dawson to the studio, the place he impressed along with his keyboard expertise. Quickly sufficient, they have been writing as much as 5 jingles a day.
“He’s my favourite individual to do music with,” Sanders says. “He has a knack and a present for having the ability to work out what works, what’s actually musical and suits the style you’re attempting to do.”
After transferring to the Springs from L.A., Sanders invited Dawson to go to, with the hopes he’d tackle the Springs Orleans job. Dawson, who lived in L.A. on the time, wasn’t positive about dwelling within the Springs, however one go to and he fell in love with the town. That was a decade in the past.
“There’s a sure therapeutic vitality for me right here that Colorado has,” he says. “I needed to be right here for that a part of my life to evolve — the music therapeutic a part of it. I don’t assume it will have occurred in L.A. There’s a sure calmness right here. You’re so wound up in L.A. I’m going again to L.A. and return to driving and return to superaggressive mode to outlive.”
His Commodores days
Dawson had a factor for the Commodores even earlier than he joined their ranks within the post-Richie years. He realized to play their music in highschool and attended one in all their concert events in faculty, the place he skilled a imaginative and prescient of himself taking part in keyboards on stage with them — which was odd, as he was principally taking part in bass guitar on the time.
After transferring to Los Angeles along with his new spouse in his mid-20s, Dawson was dwelling an unfulfilled life promoting Steinway pianos. He knew he needed to give music a full-time likelihood, so he leaped. The universe caught him in a giant means. By likelihood, the Commodores have been on the hunt for a brand new keyboardist and a good friend really helpful Dawson. He didn’t have the expertise of the opposite auditioning musicians, however what he lacked on paper, he made up for in persona. He didn’t even play for the group throughout his audition. He acquired the job based mostly on dialog alone.
“I stated in case you give me a tape I’ll study it, and in case you’re in a bind I’ll already know the present,” says Dawson. “I feel it was humility and being humble.”
Together with his faculty imaginative and prescient unfolding in actuality, Dawson was excited, however nervous. He’d heard the intercourse, medicine and rock ‘n’ roll tales concerning the music business and didn’t need to do something to dishonor his mother and father or his personal values. These fears have been unfounded. After his first live performance with the group, they wound up chatting about their church buildings and pastors, and he knew he’d discovered the suitable match.
“The Commodores, even after they have been beginning out, they all the time had an anti-drug coverage applied within the band,” Dawson says. “I felt proper at dwelling. They got here to be like older brothers to me. They have been an excellent set of mentors.”
After Dawson had been with the band half a dozen years, they promoted him to musical director, the one that supplies music route and steering to the group.
“They trusted me with their music early on,” he says. “To have that honor and accountability, I don’t take that frivolously. I’ve realized a lot of my musicality from them and listening to their data. I’m the gatekeeper to ensure we’re all the time honoring the music the best way it was created initially.”
Musician, heal thyself
There are two days in an individual’s life which are most vital, in keeping with Dawson — the day you’re born and the day you discover out why you have been born.
His why manifested within the type of a 9-year-old boy with glioblastoma, a mind most cancers. Via a sequence of auspicious occasions, Dawson was led to Regina Murphy, a Las Vegas therapist who treats illnesses with tuning forks, like “acupuncture with sound,” he says.
“Every thing within the universe is vibrating. It has a resonant frequency,” Dawson says. “If all the things has a resonant frequency, each cell within the physique has a resonant frequency. Medical doctors found what illnesses are prone to illnesses and pitches. It may possibly destroy a most cancers cell if it’s the resonant frequency of the cell.”
Murphy infused Dawson’s music with the frequencies of glioblastoma and gave it to the boy, whose mom had taken him off his drugs as a result of it was making him so sick. She was ready for him to die. The other occurred. A while later, after listening to Dawson’s music, the boy’s most cancers was gone. 4 years later, it nonetheless hasn’t returned.
Individuals informed Dawson his music healed the kid, however he takes no credit score, solely saying maybe the music helped facilitate therapeutic, together with chemotherapy and radiation. However the expertise steered him down a brand new path in life.
“It was affirmation,” he says. “The takeaway was each live performance I ever performed, each tune I produced or wrote, all of them paled compared to I’m doing one thing that saved a life. That lined up with my function. All of us have a small half to play if we settle for the accountability and problem. As people, all of us have a accountability for the betterment of humanity.”
When he’s not working in his recording facility on tasks by large musical names, reminiscent of Beyoncé and Jennifer Lopez, or mixing and doing post-production work on music for movie and TV, he composes music for vibroacoustic remedy on the L.A. middle he shares with Nickelberry. It’s a sound remedy that passes pure low-frequency sine wave vibrations into the physique via a tool with embedded audio system. A few of his music might be discovered on-line at youtube.com by trying to find Thomas Dawson Jr. or Regina Murphy.
“We design on your explicit medical downside,” Nickelberry says. “The music genius that Thomas is, he composes the music to go together with the frequency and he composes it based mostly on frequencies so all the things is harmonic. The music turns into therapeutic. We’ve had nice success with it.”
Whereas most of us endure fixed ideas working via our heads, Dawson all the time hears music. It was one thing he was afraid to speak about till he realized different musicians had the identical inherent potential. He doesn’t know the place it comes from. Solely that it comes when it comes and his solely job is to catch it and permit it to have an effect on individuals in no matter means it’s meant to.
“It’s one thing that passes via me. It’s of a non secular nature. It comes from God,” he says. “I used to be put right here to do that. I’m the supply man, the postman. My job is to ship the bundle, to not change the bundle or content material, however to ship it the best way it’s given.”
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