In the world of music and sound production, artists and audio engineers usually have L.A., New York and Nashville at top of mind. These entertainment hotbeds are legendary breeding grounds for artistic expression through sound—but they’re not the only launching pads for successful careers in the industry.
Culturally diverse cities such as Washington, D.C. often provide the just right situation for development into impressive, fulfilling careers. Here is a list of some truly successful producers, musicians and bands that got their start in DC:
Marvin Gaye, Singer
With several world-famous singles including “Let’s Get It On,” “Heard It Through the Grapevine” and “What’s Going On?” Washington D.C.’s Marvin Gaye was one of those artists whose music transcended both generation and genre. As one of the most influential artists of the 1960s and ’70s, Gaye used his platform to commentate on the racial and political turmoil of his time.
Andros Rodriguez, Music Producer
Since graduating from American University, Andros Rodriguez has kept himself busy producing tracks for artists such as:
- Justin Timberlake
- Leona Lewis
- Christina Aguilera
- Ben Folds
- Whitney Houston
Duke Ellington, Composer & Musician
Better known as “The Duke,” D.C. native Edward Ellington brought his big-band jazz music to the masses for decades. A pianist, bandleader and composer, the bulk of The Duke’s music was popular in the early and mid-20th century, although elements of his work continue to influence music to this day. He is one of the most iconic artists in American history.
Tyler Osborne, Video Editor & Filmmaker
Tyler Osborne is putting his film and audio production training from AU to good use. He has edited TV programming for Discovery Channel, A&E, TLC and BET, among others. And, yes, he has helped put together shows for “Shark Week.”
No list of influential music industry leaders from D.C. would be complete without Wale, who calls himself the, “Ambassador of Rap for the Capital.” With a diverse resume of collaborations and an ever-present desire to be unique — he gained attention for giving away his music early in his career — Wale has managed to keep his art firmly in the public spotlight. Earlier this year he earned an impressive designation: the first rapper to open for a State of the Union Address.
Robert Tozzi, Radio Producer
Robert Tozzi, who has a degree in audio technology from AU, continues to provide a great example for how to combine one’s talents and work ethic to accomplish big things in sound production. Today Robert serves as manager of NASCAR programming for Sirius XM Radio, overseeing all weekend programming and operations — including analyst shows and race broadcasts.
Tori Amos, Singer/Songwriter
Always one to do things on her own unique terms, Tori Amos founded Martian Recording Studios years after leaving an indelible mark on the alternative rock scene with songs such as “A Sorta Fairytale” and “God.” She was raised in D.C. before eventually touring the world.