Hailed by NBC News for making “…the guitar sing like it was invented only to be in his hands,” native Oregonian Tye Austin (age 31) is a classically-trained solo guitarist, vocalist, and composer currently based in the Rogue Valley of Southern Oregon. Within a decade of picking up the instrument, Tye has performed solo all over the world from NYC’s Carnegie Hall to London’s Royal Albert Hall, Spain’s Andalusian Cave Theaters, Shanghai’s Lidoway, the US French Embassy, and many other prestigious venues. In October, 2017, he was invited to perform for more than 300 world leaders at the United Nations Headquarters in Manhattan, NY. One year later, Tye was asked to perform for the former Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, on the 73rd floor of the World Tower, located on the UN Plaza. Tye has been interviewed by NBC News, National Public Radio, The Boston Guardian, and Psychology Today. He has won first prize in numerous international music competitions including NYC’s American Protege International, the Forte International, and London’s Grand Prize Virtuoso International.
In addition to his solo guitar work, he frequently collaborates with his Latin jazz trio and string quartet. Tye performs a wide range of music genres from classical to flamenco, bossa nova, jazz, Top 40 pop, reggae, folk, hip-hop, original compositions, and many more. He also sings in English, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Native American while accompanying himself on the guitar. As a prodigious composer with more than seventy original works and several commissions to his name, he is dedicated to expanding the classical guitar repertoire. As a prolific singer/songwriter, he often writes about love, nature, philosophy, and his concerns for the future of humanity.
Tye bought his first guitar at a pawn shop after attending a Spanish guitar concert for the first time in 2007. “I will never forget that magical night. I witnessed one guitar being played like a quartet of guitars simultaneously. An epiphany washed over me and suddenly I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I had found my passion and my best friend,” says Tye. Unaware of his Spanish ancestry at the time, Tye recently discovered his thrice great-grand uncle, Jean Lafitte, was the most famous Pirate of the Caribbean in history. They also share the same birthday separated by two centuries. Lafitte was born in Orduna, Spain (a small region near Bilbao and Barcelona) on September 25, 1780. His family joined a gypsy caravan and fled to Bordeaux, France to seek refuge during the Spanish Inquisition. Eventually, Lafitte, joined by his family and a band of gypsies, set sail off the coast of Southwestern France, and charted a course for New Orleans, Louisiana, where they settled and ran a successful smuggling operation for several decades during the early 19th century. Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop & Bar is still the oldest standing structure in the US today. Lafitte developed a passion for the Spanish guitar from his early caravan days. His crew always included at least one flamenco guitarist during his oceanic exploits. Tye’s first cruise ship contract with Royal Caribbean International will sail through the South Caribbean Islands, the same territory his great-uncle once sailed.
Within six months of formal guitar lessons, Tye was accepted as a full-time music major at the Oregon Center for the Arts at Southern Oregon University (OCASOU) in the autumn of 2008. After completing his Bachelor of Arts Degree in classical guitar performance and music composition at OCASOU, he received a scholarship to pursue his Master of Music Degree in classical guitar performance at the New England Conservatory (NEC) in Boston, MA in 2014. While at NEC, Tye studied with Andres Segovia’s last direct pupil, Eliot Fisk. Tye furthered his classical guitar studies with Grammy-winner, Sharon Isbin at The Juilliard School. He also studied flamenco guitar performance for a summer with David Martinez at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Granada, Spain.
His debut studio album, Andalusia: Spanish Guitar Music, was released in December, 2017 as an homage to his solo journey across Spain in the summer of 2015. His sophomore album, Syncopado Americano, will feature obscure Latin guitar music and is set to be released this Fall, 2020. In his spare time, Tye enjoys reading, traveling, surfing, whitewater kayaking, visiting hot springs, fishing/hunting, and making love in Oregon’s old growth rainforests.
*In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Tye is performing pop-up concerts staged on the hood of his Nissan Xterra at various hot springs, waterfalls, campgrounds, gardens, guided rafting tours, hunting/fishing trips, and many other wild environments throughout the Pacific Northwest. He is also teaching remote and in-person lessons in music (all instruments and genres), yoga, surfing, whitewater kayaking, bushcraft, hunting/fishing, homesteading, foraging wild edibles, and organic gardening. If you’d like to book your own wilderness concert or lesson, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.