Street Symphony is well-known for producing music for artists such as Ludacris, Wale, G-Eazy and many more but what most people don’t know about him is that he has a scholarship program at the very own university he attended. In an effort to help students with funding towards their tuition, the Grammy award-winning producer has created a program for those hard-working students who can have the best of both worlds. We sat down with Street Symphony to get an inside look at why he decided to create this special program and what
Tell us about yourself. What made you want to get in the music industry?
My name is Torrance “Street Symphony” Esmond. I’ve been producing and been involved in music since I was a kid. It’s kind of all I know. I went to school at Middle Tennessee State University and was in their recording industry program. To be honest, if it wasn’t for that program, I probably wouldn’t have even gone to college. 9 times out of 10, I feel like people go to school for all the wrong reasons. I knew that I was in love with music and that this is what I wanted to do. When I found the school that was closest to where I was living, it was like a perfect match.
I’ve admired people in hip-hop. From the lifestyle to the creativity to art and fashion. It was appealing to me. I watched somebody like Diddy, who was a younger version of a Quincy Jones.I watched him build Bad Boy when I was a kid and he, in a way made producing cool. I idolized that and knew that it was something that I would love to do.
You’ve worked with numerous projects. Is there an artist that has left a mark on you?
I would definitely say, Meek Mill. I say that because his story of tribals and tribulations and continuously coming back is like the ideal or Cinderella story of an athlete or team that keeps losing or keeps getting hurt. When I look at my career as a whole, from working and different genres, I think me working with Meek really embodies the whole Street Symphony brand. I’m that kid that grew up in, I guess you can say, lower-middle class, single mother family. My father died when I was young. I was raised in Nashville, all my cousins grew up in the hood. I know that world and I understand it but at the same time, my mom whooped ass. Disrespect wasn’t tolerated, my grandmother made sure we were in church on Sundays, and I grew up with sense and real morals. One thing education does really well is that it shows possibility. When you go to college, you meet kids from all over the world and you start to say, “Hey, I can do this and be that.”
One thing that is really important to me, especially in music is to have relationships with artists and creating projects that aren’t following the norm. I did a record for Meek Mill called, “Young Black America,” that arguably is one of the most anticipated albums getting ready to come out. Everything he’s gone through with injustices and dealing with the prison problem speaks and is brought to life. I felt like I was apart of that and I think that’s impactful for me.
I would like to say that I believe in teamwork. I have a great team; from my publicist to the producers and writers. It’s important to build a business alongside a brand, using education to get the most out of my career instead of giving up the most.
You are an alumna of Middle Tennessee State University! Tell us about your mission to celebrate urban creative arts and the music community with students.
Well, at Middle Tennessee State University, I have a scholarship that I have been doing for three years now. It is called the Street Symphony scholarship. It is for students who may need additional funding. I did that because I remembered when I was in school and I had all these dreams and aspirations. I worked a part-time job and had to drop my hours down so that I could have the time to work. I had a single mom, if I had funding, I could’ve pushed through.
I started thinking about all the students that want to go to school. I wanted to start a scholarship and give back because Middle Tennessee State University has given a lot to me.
I’m actually up for an alumni award where they pick and alum who stands for the pillars of the school and has done a great job. I’m probably one of the youngest in the running for two years(laughs). It’s been cool!
What can we expect to see from Street Symphony in the future?
You can definitely expect to see me continue to do music and try to continue to impact multiple genres. I was nominated last year for doing a kids project. I took on that project to make it positive, the group is called Alphabet Rockers. We were nominated for a Grammy. You can not only see me building in Atlanta but also in Nashville. In Nashville, the owner gave me my own day which is March 7th. We do a big weekend by giving back and going to the metro schools. We have a music business panel and we also do a celebratory lunch which helps fund the scholarships as well. You’ll continue to see me do more things in the community outside of my music but making sure I use my brand for the betterment of the culture as a whole.
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All images provided by Tamiko Hope