6 minute read

Tony Exum, Jr.

Interview by The Heat Seekers

Saxophonist & National Recording Artist

Colorado’s own national recording artist Tony Exum, Jr. is a contemporary jazz, R&B and funk saxophonist, songwriter and performer with a smooth, sultry and soulful sound. In 2019 Tony released his single “My Name’s Tony” receiving international airplay, charting on the Smooth Jazz Network top 100 chart for 12 weeks. In addition, the My Name’s Tony Spring/Summer 14 city tour, included performances at the San Diego Smooth Jazz Festival in San Diego, California, Spaghettini’s in Long Beach, California, The Soiled Dove Underground in Denver Colorado, Jazz in The Park in Prattville, Alabama and the Winter Park Jazz Festival in Winter Park Colorado to name a few. He remains a staple in the national contemporary jazz circuit with performances across the United States.

Tony is taking 2022 to new heights musically and professionally with an unrestrained passion and impeccable work ethic that is second to none. Performances in 2021/22 already include the Taste of the South Festival, 30th Annual Berks Jazz Fest and the 2021Jazz Legacy Foundation 8th Annual Gala Weekend, Stockton Jazz Fest, San Diego Smooth Jazz just to name a few. Tony’s catalog consists of two critically acclaimed albums, “Finally” and “The One” and 7 singles including two Smooth Jazz Network top 100 charting singles “Brighter Days (with David P. Stevens)” and “Get At You” feat. Desmond “Motown” Washington which also reached #1 and #4 on the Billboard/BDS Smooth Jazz Airplay Most Added charts respectively.

Beyond work as a recording artist Tony embarked on a career in radio hosting in 2017 on Colorado Springs FM Station Jazz 93.5 FM (jazz935.org) with over 20 hours per week of on-air time. In addition, Tony entered a business venture in late 2019 with Kastell Vodka as their Global Brand Ambassador. In late 2021, Tony signed his first recording contract with Sony/The Orchard/BSE Recordings and released his current single in summer 2022 “Everything” Produced by BSE CEO Lou Humphrey, labelmate R&B Pop singer songwriter Arika Kane and producer/multi instrumentalist Jasmon Joyner reaching #19 on the Urban Influencer R&B Soul Chart in the 2022. Tony refers to his music as “Rhythm N Smooth”. 19 years ago Tony was the 1st place winner of the 1st Omega Showboat and is honored to return to the 2022 Omega Showboat as a judge.

The Heat Seekers: How long have you been a performing artist?

Tony Exum, Jr.: I started performing at 18.

THS: What made you decide to be serious about music?

TEJ: I had this fascination with the music industry since I could read. I got serious when I realized I had some talent and a gift that others noticed. Once I gained a little confidence and discipline I knew it would be my life’s journey.

THS: Who has had the most influence on your music career and why?

TEJ: So many that I could name who influenced me. I fluence however can manifest in many different tributaries flowing into the same “river”. Grover Washington Jr I identified with first as a saxophonist. His sound was mesmerizing. My uncle USArmy saxophonist Larry Francis Jr (rip) was the one who I wanted to be like when I decided to become a musician.

THS: What would you say is the #1 key to success in the music industry?

TEJ: Patience!! Lol. The number one key is turning that passion into action and utilizing the strongest and most consistent business practices to achieve your goals. Many moving parts to success.. overall never give up!

THS: Talk about the biggest failure you’ve had. What did you learn from it?

TEJ: My marriage was a complete failure. I learned to never involve myself with whose trust and heart is not in you, but in their past.

THS: What advice can you give other individuals who want to follow in your footsteps?

TEJ: Learn the business of music, it’s 90% business and the rest is your development of talent and gift. IMHO Network. Build and cultivate strong relationships with key individuals in your genre and outside of it. With individuals whose skill set can help you. No one artist can do this alone. People are your biggest resource outside of your content and/or skills as an artist. Be diligent in maintaining those relationships and do right by them. Eliminate distractions be it personal or professional. Distractions are the enemy of forward motion. It can be the death nail to a promising career or detrimental to your progress. Be disciplined. Be patient. Be ready. Be faithful. Be humble. Be careful. Be intentional. Be original. Be you!

THS: What does a typical day in your week look like?

TEJ: Waking up between 9 and 10A.M. grabbing some coffee, planning my day i.e. emails, phone calls, personal errands, daily practice, prayer, schedule radio programming time (I’m a radio host as well in Jazz 93.5 in Colorado Springs) social media (which I may do too much some days) and working on new music. Some days are busier than others. Exercise is in there too. While on tour flight, hotel, rehearsal/soundcheck, back to hotel, show, back to hotel...airport.... repeat. Sometimes I don’t see my room until after the show lol. Other times I don’t even get..just get back on a plane come home and run to the shower...lol! That’s rare.....very rare however.

THS: What keeps you going when things get tough in the business?

TEJ: Self motivation. I’ve always had this burning desire to never fail. I always see resolve and also have learned to accept the trials and disappointments as opportunities to be a better businessman, musician or human being. I pray. I exercise my faith muscle and continue moving forward. Somethings are harder to get past than others and I do have moments of doubt, trepidation and I’ve questioned my purpose at times.

THS: What’s next for you? New music? Shows?

TEJ: Some end of years tour dates in December in GA, Indy, and Houston, lots of woodshed on sax and flute before the end of ‘22 God willing, continued radio push with my current singles on BSE Recordings “Everything” and “At Your Best” (You Are Loved) with my labelmate Arika Kane. New single and EP in ‘23.

Please list your website and/or your social media platforms.

IG: @texumjr FB: Tony Exum Jr Music Twitter: @misterexumjr Website: www.tonyexumjr.com

THS: What’s your all time favorite song/artist?

TEJ: New Edition...and all spinoffs. That’s the soundtrack to my life. Not a particular song.

THS: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?

TEJ: I am trying to make time for golf. It’s my new hobby....

Booking: Gina McCain at www.majorscalemanagement.com Label: BSE Recordings Lou Humphrey lou@bserecordings.com