UP CLOSE WITH JEANIE by Jeanie Summerville
Whatz up, babies?
I hope, that all is well with you and yours, as we get to know each other better on our journey of love. As for me, I’m fantastic! Because believe it or not, Up Close with Jeanie, is celebrating it’s second year anniversary the 27th of this month. And, it pleases me to say that I‘ve enjoyed every minute of shining the spotlight on you and all that you do, in the name of love. I have also enjoyed bringing some Specialty and Inspirational pages to you because you’re special, worthy and so much fun. On that note, let’s enjoy and feel the love, beauty, joy and happiness as we get to know Ty better and this is what he has to say.
“Hello, Frost Illustrated readers. I’m Ty Causey and I’m happy to come to you in Frost Illustrated as always and I want all of you to know that the American Legion Post 148 is very special to me. The Legion is one of the first places where I really started performing with my live band and it felt great. It gave me the feel and the vibe that I needed, like the old school singers used to be, the Marvin Gayes and the Donny Hathaways. And, it felt good to perform here, in front of my audience because I know and grew up with most of them and the ones that I didn’t, I know some of their extended family in some kind of way. So, to perform in front of them and have them respect what I do is phenomenal to me and that makes me happy. It also makes me happy that they take my profession totally serious, they buy my CDs and follow me wherever I’m playing. But when it comes to the Legion, they’re here no matter what the circumstances may be, so I have a special place in my heart for Post 148.
“How it all started: I was raised in the church and starting singing in the choir at True Love Missionary Baptist Church when I was about 15 years old and this is when it was on Pontiac Street, next door to an ice cream shop. At that time, I didn’t play any instruments but I did have the desire, yet I never took the time because I was in sports a lot. It’s real funny to me because I was kind of thrown into the situation to learn how to play once I really took music seriously, enough to start recording. So, I started seeking out musicians that were skillful enough to play for me but unfortunately they didn’t have the time and maybe they didn’t take me seriously since I was just starting off and was always playing sports, or some wanted money that I didn’t have at the time.
“So, my mother was the one who inspired me because she saw that I was going around trying to find people to play for me in the coldest, icy days of winter and whenever somebody would say I could come over to their house and do some stuff, I’d jump in my car and I’d literally stay over there until the music was done. My mom saw my dedication and said, ‘Ty I’m going to take you to the music store and I want you to pick out a keyboard for yourself’ and I said, ‘Mom I don’t know how to play a keyboard.’ She said, ‘I believe in you and you’re smart son, so I know that you’ll figure it out.’ I said, ‘but Mama you don’t have $3,000 to spend on a keyboard,’ then she said, ‘I’ll put it on my credit card as my investment to you.’
“When we got there, I was so embarrassed trying to pick out a keyboard because I didn’t even know how to turn them on. Then my mom said, ‘son just pick out everything that you need’ and since she believed in me, that inspired me to say, ‘okay I’ve got to choose a keyboard and get what’s called a work station, which will allow me to just play one or two notes and make it repeat itself over and over’ and that’s what I did. I made the drums repeat forever and then I found little cords that I could play and then I started singing to it. From that point on, I started being creative on the keyboards and I made my first album and called it ‘Loop Holes.’ Actually, it was just a demo but so many people wanted to buy it and they gladly paid $10 each so I really started taking it seriously and that’s how I got started. GOD just blessed me from that point on, as I took advantage of that window of time that HE gave me and things just started happening. And now, people don’t know my music unless I’m doing it myself because if someone else does it for me, they know that something else is going on since it doesn’t have that Ty Causey feel.
“What do I mean by that Ty Causey feel? Well, I was inspired by Donnie Hathaway so much back in the day because he had that smooth voice along with Peobo Bryson, Brothers Johnson and Marvin Gaye. Those guys were just awesome singers and I always loved jazz and that jazz element, was just kind of filtered into that beat thing so it became an R&B, jazz kind of thing so that’s how the Ty Causey feel became what it is. So me and WR decided we wanted to get out and start performing and, unfortunately, people in Fort Wayne, don’t have a lot of budget to hire a full band. So we scaled it down to the two of us and we targeted the Thirsty Camel and told the guy to let us come down and do a set and if he don’t like us, then he didn’t have to pay us and he agreed. After that talk, we got out there and advertised and the place was packed and became an everyday thing until we went to The Blu Tomato. When I’m performing, I love to joke and interact with my audience because I like to get them involved since it’s more personal this way and we enjoy it.
“Now to let you know what I’m doing now, I’m performing at a lot of different places and actually, I’m going on a couple of cruises to do some major work, with some major artists—the first one being The Super Cruise that’s out of Fort Lauderdale. I’ll be on the ship with Najee, Charlie Wilson, Average White Band, Stephanie Mills and there’s like 40 of us for eight days. I actually had a guy from the Jazz Fest in Washington D.C., come here to Fort Wayne to see me perform because he heard my music and he liked it and once he saw me perform, I was booked on their cruise ship for this year. Then I have another cruise in February, from a radio station, out of California for seven days, and I’m being featured as one of the main acts there and it’s phenomenal how GOD is blessing me. So when I get these opportunities it just inspires me to keep pushing on.
“Also, I got a new album coming out this fall and it’s called, ‘Cool In My Skin’ and I don’t want it to come across like I’m cocky or anything but I am who I am. And, I make my presentation to the world, my community and to everybody, for who I am because I’m not trying to be like everybody else. I can do a lot of things that would totally destroy me, my career and my dignity, if I just wanted to get out there but I’m not doing that, I’m not selling myself like that. I feel like, whoever wants to hear Ty Causey, I’m happy to sing for you so check it out. Najee is also featured on it with a song that I wrote called, ‘The Other Side of Town.’
“I’m having so much fun but it’s hard work though, even like doing this album, I’ve been working on it maybe a year and a half now but people don’t know that because I’m still here performing. I’m still going everywhere I can to perform, so it’s hard for me to program music like I want to and I’m working on original music, which keeps my career going. People hear my music all around the world actually and I was No. 1 on the U.K. Soul Charts for about three weeks with my album, ‘False Faces.’ Then I was No. 3 on the U.K. Soul Charts for my gospel CD, ‘The Gospel Truth’ and so I’ve had some accolades and have had some great opportunities to talk with some major people.
“I don’t say a whole lot about what I do because there’s still a lot of work to be done and once the work is at a place where I can see a constant thing, then I’ll share it in detail with my family, which is Fort Wayne. If you look on my album you’ll always see, my huge biggest thanks to my biggest fans which, is Fort Wayne, Indiana and I never forget where I come from because these people have built me up. The only reason I can get on these cruise ships and go to these places like New York is because you have given me the foundation to perform in front of people and the biggest hill was performing in front of my peers and the ones I played basketball with and used to go head to head with, in total competition. But look where they are, they’re right here supporting me and now we can tell each other how much we love and respected one another even back then, but we couldn’t back then because being in competition, the competition wouldn’t allow that.
“I just want to say thank you to everybody and I really want to thank Frost Illustrated, Michael Patterson and you Jeanie for this spotlight. Michael, thank you because you believed in me right from the start and when I went out to Oakland to do a demo project, when I first met Najee, you listened to the work that we did and said, ‘Ty I think you can do your own music and I think you can do it to suit what you do better. Even though this music is good by Najee and what you guys did,’ and that inspired me to keep moving towards making my own music. And I thank Frost Illustrated again because you gave me a platform years ago and obviously you’re still giving it to me now and Frost has been my main thang and I really appreciate the opportunity to speak my voice and let people know what I’m doing and I just say thank you Frost and Fort Wayne.”
So now, I’m taking it to the people to see what some of them have to say about Ty:
“Hello, Frost Illustrated readers. My name is Marilyn Wimbley aka Niecie and I’ve been knowing Ty for years and he’s a personal friend. His performance is outstanding and I’ll follow him anywhere.”
Then Scottie Ferrell had this to say:
“I think that Ty is unbelievable! He’s been a good friend of mine for about 35 to 40 years and we grew up playing basketball against each other and not until I got back from college I didn’t know he could even sing. So it’s a thrill listening to him and it’s amazing and I can’t compete with him anymore because I can’t sing and the people love him. Every time he performs here at the Legion, the people are always here, to hear him sing and they follow him wherever he goes. He and WR are great.”
“Hello Frost Illustrated my name is Michael (Smitty) Smith and I’ve known Ty for a lot of years we went to high school together and he’s always done a great job every time I’ve seen him and WR play together and I have no complaints and much success to him. He’s a very smooth brother but he’s always been a smooth brother, so I always look forward to seeing him.”
“Hello Frost, my name is Michael Brock and I’ve known Ty a few years and he’s a good friend of mine and I couldn’t support anybody better than him. He always puts on a good show and people really love listening to him and I couldn’t expect anything better, so check him out and really listen to his music and I know you’ll appreciate it and his CDs.”
Now in closing I say, Wow! Thank you Ty for bringing us some more fun and excitement and I’m so proud of you, keep up the great work and thanks to Marilyn, Scottie, Michael and Michael for your wonderful input. So until next week, you’ve been Up Close with Jeanie. Bye, bye babies.
P.S. If you would like The Spotlight shined upon you or someone that you know, all in the name of love, just send me an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from ya.
This article originally appeared in the July 24 print edition.