Antonio Darryl Underwood is not an unknown name in the world of classical music. He has been composing and producing professionally recorded music under his own label, Tone East Music LLC, since 1994. An expert Tuba player, he is behind the unique musical sound that distinguishes the label from any other independent music label in history.
Antonio’s long list of achievements over the years as a musician, jazz educator, and scholar cannot be overlooked. He is an alumnus of the prestigious Yale University and was presented with the Yale School of Music’s Alumni Award for outstanding contribution to the Yale environment. He was a Fulbright Scholar in Serbia, where he worked hard to promote Jazz music education.
Perhaps his most significant accomplishment is to rise to such heights of respect and honor in a field that is prone to white supremacy. The street kid rose from the shackles of poverty and believed in his dreams to pursue his passion for classical music and prosper. Though extreme sounding, it isn’t an understatement.
He credits his ability to trust all that he believed in to be the primary motivating factor throughout his struggles. Luckily for him, he realized pretty early in life, when he was just a music student, that he had to learn how to think on his own and develop self-worth in order to succeed.
According to him, the biggest difference between successful and unsuccessful people is not intelligence, nor the amount of opportunities they get. Its the unfaltering belief in themselves that enables them to make their goals happen. He always knew his path would be challenging, but he was well prepared for the grind. The community prepares you.
As a young music aspirer, Antonio worked uphill to get to college. He picked any top job he could get- from warehouse to office and security to dishwasher- to fund his music education. Despite being warned by his luminaries, Anotonio earned a degree in Classical Music, majoring in Tuba, and set out on the path to achieving so much in life. Almost leaving college to go on the road.
While having an unwavering belief in one’s ability is one thing, being tough enough to bear all pitfalls and failures thrown at you is another. Antonio mastered the ability to understand all rudiments of learning and, from the start, never favored shortcuts. Throughout his struggles as a black musician in America, he aspired to see things evolve with trust, faith, and perseverance. “Not so easy when you fail like I have many times, but that’s when it has to kick in – all that philosophy you tell yourself you know about!” shared Antonio while outlining his life’s struggles and all that kept him going.
The legendary musician manages the acclaimed production company Tone East Music, LLC; it has emerged as the perfect platform for young artists, giving them the space to nurture skills in music and life in general.
The veteran musician continues to make his mark in the world of music as a Jazz educator, raising funds for global workshops that aim to promote classical music beyond borders.