The cab of a semi-truck isn’t what most people might think would be the most ideal place for a recording studio, but for Tommy D DVO, it was the only place he could create his music.
As a young man who had made some mistakes – in-and-out of jail and fathering a son while in his teenage years – Tommy D found himself facing the decision that all men face: to grow up and make better life choices, or continue down a path that would likely see him incarcerated for the rest of his life. With the support of a patient wife, he chose to take responsibility for his actions, and one of the first steps was getting a full-time job so that he could support his family.
After a few years working in management for a restaurant chain, he shifted to truck driving – often spending as many as 11 or 12 hours each day in the cab of his truck. And it was during those hours in the truck that he would work on his first true love … music.
“I’ve been doing music since I was 20,” he said. “I come from a musical family. My dad was a self-taught musician. My mom has been singing and playing piano since she was a little girl and performed in a band that was well known around the region. My brother is the lead singer of a band and my sisters both played instruments in high school. Everybody in my family has something to do with music. I was kind of the poet of the family, and it didn’t take much for that poetry to turn into a love for writing music. But when you have to work every day to make a living, you don’t have time to pursue music. So, when I was in the truck I’d plug my cell phone into the truck radio with my auxiliary cord – because I used to keep beats on my phone – and when I wanted to write I’d just let the music play and I’d think of lyrics and hooks to all the verses and record them on my digital recorder. It became a habit. I’d do it every day – sometimes for a couple of hours, sometimes all day.”
Out of that work came the archive of music that now 17 years later he’s ready to release to the world. At age 37, his son is grown and started a life of his own and the music career that he had hoped to pursue in his early 20s is now something that he can commit to full time. It took some convincing for his wife to get on board with the idea, and he’s self-aware enough to admit that it’s a steep hill to climb for a 37-year-old in the hip-hop industry. But he stands by his music and knows that he has the chops to make it big in the music industry if fans will give him a chance.
And they’re already starting to do just that. His most recent single, “2 Grown 4 That,” has been making waves throughout the South and Midwest and has caught the attention of some of the industry’s bigger music moguls. It’s a single that he said appropriately showcases who he is as an artist and where he’s at in his life, but also serves as an anthem for a lot of people in the world today.
“I dedicated it to all the people who are too grown for all the petty stuff going on in life and social media today,” he said. “There’s a lot of petty stuff going on, and I’m at that phase in my life where I’m just 2 Grown 4 That. This song is an anthem for grown folks. My music is about empowerment. I used to be a street cat and I would do whatever it took to make money by any means necessary. When I was a teenager I started walking down that path of self-destruction and poor decisions and I suffered the consequences. When you’re a teenager it seems like the consequences are far off, until you hit rock bottom. I’m blessed and grateful that I came out of that. It takes the people who love you to tell you about yourself and hold that mirror up to see where you really are in life. When that happened to me, I had a desire to make a change. I’d seen some dark and low places and I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. My friends and family gave me suggestions, and I acted on them and it made all the difference in the world. Hopefully my music shows you that if you want to change your life, you’ve got to change three things: your play mates, your play places and your play things. I’ve found that to be very true in my life, and I know that a lot of young people today need to hear that and avoid that same path of self-destruction.”