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, Louisiana. It was December, and he tapped out “O Come All Ye Devoted” with no single lesson.
“She mentioned, ‘How will you do this?’” he says. “I don’t know. It was one thing that was instinctive. I knew innately how you can 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.
Probably 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 Occasions a Woman,” “Nightshift,” “Straightforward” 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,” mentioned Dawson throughout a current lecture on the College of Colorado at Colorado Springs, the place he’s a school member within the Visible and Performing Arts Division.
“And while you’re chosen, you don’t have any alternative within the matter. What I discovered 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 type 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 among Dawson’s mentors, Benjamin Wright, who was musical director for Gladys Knight and the Pips and The Temptations, and in addition has finished string preparations for Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake and Earth Wind & Fireplace.
“Thomas has been blessed. He’s utilizing his blessings every day. When God provides you one thing, you may 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 automobile for leisure, however as a strategy 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 often performed piano for the final eight years till the pandemic roared by.
“I miss the interplay of taking part in for individuals at eating places,” he says. “I’m sending vibrations to them they usually’re sending them again. It’s a dialog we don’t notice we’re having, however we’re. Music is the common language. At live shows we’re feeling the vibrations of the viewers and that creates a sure excessive that takes hours to return 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 pal 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 by 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 in addition 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 Pleasure as he bought prepared for varsity each morning. And overlook about toy vans 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 instructed his brother he might play it. And he did, right away, very similar to 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, Louisiana, on a trumpet scholarship.
“He’s an unbelievably proficient and modest individual, and his degree of expertise is nearly otherworldly,” effuses one other Dawson fan, Perry Sanders Jr., a neighborhood lawyer and actual property investor who owns the downtown Antlers and Mining Trade 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 in addition musician, heard Dawson play bass in a band. Sanders owned a recording studio on the time, and was on the lookout for a companion to do jingles. He invited Dawson to the studio, the place he impressed along with his keyboard abilities. 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 with the ability to determine what works, what’s actually musical and suits the style you’re attempting to do.”
After shifting 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 certain about residing within the Springs, however one go to and he fell in love with 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 suppose it will have occurred in L.A. There’s a sure calmness right here. You’re so wound up in L.A. I am going again to L.A. and return to driving and return to super-aggressive 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 discovered to play their music in highschool and attended one among their live shows in school, the place he skilled a imaginative and prescient of himself taking part in keyboards on stage with them — which was odd, as he was largely taking part in bass guitar on the time.
After shifting to Los Angeles along with his new spouse in his mid-20s, Dawson was residing an unfulfilled life promoting Steinway pianos. He knew he needed to give music a full-time probability, so he leaped. The universe caught him in a giant method. By probability, the Commodores have been on the hunt for a brand new keyboardist and a pal advisable Dawson. He didn’t have the expertise of the opposite auditioning musicians, however what he lacked on paper, he made up for in character. He didn’t even play for the group throughout his audition. He bought the job primarily based on dialog alone.
“I mentioned if you happen to give me a tape I’ll be taught it, and if you happen to’re in a bind I’ll already know the present,” says Dawson. “I believe it was humility and being humble.”
Along with his school 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 dad and mom 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 at all times had an anti-drug coverage applied within the band,” Dawson says. “I felt proper at residence. They got here to be like older brothers to me. They have been an incredible set of mentors.”
After Dawson had been with the band half a dozen years, they promoted him to musical director, the one who gives music course and steerage to the group.
“They trusted me with their music early on,” he says. “To have that honor and duty, I don’t take that flippantly. I’ve discovered a lot of my musicality from them and listening to their information. I’m the gatekeeper to ensure we’re at all times honoring the music the best way it was created initially.”
Musician, heal thyself
There are two days in an individual’s life which can be most essential, based on 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. By means of a collection of auspicious occasions, Dawson was led to Regina Murphy, a Las Vegas therapist who treats ailments with tuning forks, like “acupuncture with sound,” he says.
“All the pieces within the universe is vibrating. It has a resonant frequency,” Dawson says. “If all the pieces has a resonant frequency, each cell within the physique has a resonant frequency. Medical doctors found what ailments are inclined to ailments and pitches. It could 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 instructed 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 objective. All of us have a small half to play if we settle for the duty and problem. As people, all of us have a duty for the betterment of humanity.”
When he’s not working in his recording facility on tasks by large musical names, corresponding to 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. heart he shares with Nickelberry. It’s a sound remedy that passes pure low-frequency sine wave vibrations into the physique by a tool with embedded audio system. A few of his music will 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 primarily based on frequencies so all the pieces is harmonic. The music turns into therapeutic. We’ve had nice success with it.”
Whereas most of us endure fixed ideas working by our heads, Dawson at all times hears music. It was one thing he was afraid to speak about till he discovered different musicians had the identical inherent means. 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 method it’s meant to.
“It’s one thing that passes by 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 package deal, to not change the package deal or content material, however to ship it the best way it’s given.”
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