Hailed by NBC News for making “…the guitar sing like it was invented only to be in his hands,” native Oregonian Tye Austin (age 30) 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, it turns out Tye is the thrice great-grand nephew of Jean Lafitte, the most famous and successful Pirate of the Caribbean in history. The two even share the same birthday on the cusp of Libra separated by two centuries. Lafitte was born a sephardic jew 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. As a teenager, Lafitte set sail off the coast of Southwestern France with his family and a crew of misfits, gypsies, and pirates. They eventually charted a course for New Orleans, Louisiana, where they settled and ran a successful smuggling operation out of Jean’s brother, Pierre’s Blacksmith Shop & Bar for several decades during the early 19th century. Lafitte had an affinity for the guitar from an early age and insisted on employing a flamenco guitarist during his oceanic exploits. Not only was Tye inexplicably attracted to the Spanish guitar despite being raised in a family of country music fanatics, but his first cruise ship contract with Royal Caribbean International will sail through the South Caribbean, the same waters his uncle 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 hot springs, archery, traveling, fishing/hunting, and hiking through Oregon’s old growth rainforests.
*In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Tye has decided to convert a Nissan Xterra into an overland RV and travel around Oregon to reconnect with his native and gypsy roots. He is performing pop-up concerts at trailheads, hot springs, waterfalls, rafting adventures, and teaching remote music lessons via Skype/FaceTime. He has performed at 18 hot springs and 10 of the tallest waterfalls in Oregon. A new business venture called the Wilderness Concert Series has blossomed as a result. It’s mission is to reconnect people with live acoustic music, education, nature, and each other in safe spaces during the pandemic. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.