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Black Tuba Guy: Amir Tubad Gray

Updated: Mar 3, 2021

1. How long have you been playing your Tuba instrument? I started playing tuba in 7th grade. Which would mean I’ve been playing for 19 years but who’s counting. Since then I’ve picked up plenty of instruments though including Keys, Drums, Trombone, and the most recent is Trumpet. 2. Were you ever in a band? I’ve been in plenty of bands. Too many to name in one article. In college I started a band called Ill Intentions and since I’ve been out of college I’ve ran two bands: Gray Era Brass when I lived in Chicago and Tubad & The Kings of Nola when in lived in New Orleans. Gray Era Brass was feature on Fox’s Empire. My other band The Kings of Nola played on Bourbon Street at the Bourbon Street Drinkery and we were featured on MTV’s Are You The One. Besides that I’ve had the opportunity to tour with such acts as Sir The Baptist, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, and Glen David Andrews to name a few. Now that I live in Dallas I lead a band under my name Tubad. 3. What made you move from chicago? I love my city but I hate the cold. Lol nah but really, I just wanted to live in a new place. I had lived in Chicago my whole life and wanted to see some different cultures. What more different could I find than the cultural heartland of New Orleans. 4. Where do you live? I currently live in Dallas, Texas. I moved here about a year ago right before COVID. 5. Where do you see yourself going in the future? I see myself (GOD willing) making more records, touring. 6. Do you consider yourself a superstar? Nah I’m just. Another Kat who is a fan of art. I just make music that I would love to hear. 7. Do you play as a headliner in Clubs? Yeah. I headlined the 2020 Dallas Tuba Festival. I also play clubs under the name Tubad both solo and with my band backing me up. 8. What type of music do you play? I’m classically trained and have played professionally in everything from Jazz, Hip-Hop, Ska, Funk, & Soul. Currently I make very Hip-Hop/Jazz based music. I rap, produce, play keys & play Horns (Trumpet/Trombone/Tuba). 9. Who encouraged you growing up? I was very lucky growing up my mom was super supportive. She helped my fundraise to get my first two horns and she would drive me to lessons all over. At one point I was taking lessons with a guy all the way in Sturgis, Michigan. My mom would drive me 2hrs from Chicago to get lessons with him every week. A lot of the drive I have now in music comes from her and my dad. 10. What is your favorite song on the Tuba? This is a hard one. My first introduction to Tuba was watching Sesame Street at my Nana’s house. It was a song by the Name of Jelly Man Kelly by James Taylor and Howard Johnson who ended up becoming a friend/mentor when I met him at the 2006 ITEC. I was sad to hear of his passing not too long ago. Besides that I loved listening to Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Young Blood Brass Band. The first time I got to play with Dirty Dozen I got to play along side they’re founding Tuba Player Kirk Joseph and I really got to see why those records were so instrumental in my growth as a tuba player. His bass lines were so solid that night. It has been a pleasure being able to have him as a mentor and friend.

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