Student Spotlight: Tyne Angela Freeman '17
By the age of 15, Freeman was already making the transition from singing for fun to performing for an audience to being an artist. She started her own YouTube channel as an avenue to share her music. She also began to focus more effort on her original work, by cataloguing and recording her compositions.
Last December, Freeman was awarded the Peter D. Smith Arts Initiative Grant, a fund that the Hopkins Center provides to students who initiate their own projects in the arts.
With the help of the grant, Freeman will start producing an album this spring.
“I wanted to create something during my time here,” Freeman said. “I’m very motivated by being able to craft my own course and be given the resources to create something.”
Although Freeman has released two EPs before, this will be her first album.
The album will consist of 13 songs, most of which have been chosen, Freeman said. All of the songs are original. Some of the songs were written up to two years ago, and many of them are poems interlaced with music, she said.
Barbary Coast Jazz Ensemble director Don Glasgo will be an advisor on Freeman’s new project. He first had the chance to hear Freeman’s original work when she sang one of her songs for her Barbary Coast audition. He said that Freeman is “poised” and “professional.”
“She has a kind of quiet style,” Glasgo said. “ But she has an engaging voice that draws listeners and keeps them there.”
Dan Fang ’15, musical director of X.ado, of which Freeman is a member, described Freeman’s vocals as moving and with a personal quality.
“Her music style is one that very easily connects with the listeners, and it’s very intimate and real,” Fang said.
Freeman’s style of music is a cross between jazz and reggae. She said that her childhood was filled with reggae influences from her Jamaican mother. She had not deeply explored jazz until several years ago, but said she quickly developed a love for the style.
“Jazz is vocally challenging but also so free,” Freeman said. “It has so many dimensions, you can’t really run out of things to do with it. You can’t put the music in a box.”
Freeman said she is figuring out the balance of the songs within the album.
“I’ve been trying to finish up the songs, and most of the work left to do is putting the music to the poems,” she said. “That’s just a really fun process.”
Freeman is also finalizing logistical details, such as collaboration with other artists and the location of the recording. She said that she may reach out to artists she has worked with through the Barbary Coast, as well as other students at the College. As for the physical location of the recordings, she is debating between returning home to work in the Jam Room in Columbia, South Carolina — the studio with which she has always worked — or remaining on campus. She said part of the dilemma is her desire to collaborate with students at the College while not compromising the quality of her recording.
Every musical work that Freeman has published so far has tied in with her philanthropic interests. The proceeds of Freeman’s record “Erase My Shadow” supported the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The proceeds of the new album will also be donated, but Freeman said she has not yet selected the charity.
Along with her growing music career, Freeman said she is exploring her ever-evolving academic interests. She was inspired by a class on Caribbean American literature she took last fall, which helped her find an intersection between her academic and artistic interests. She said that she is now interested in the impact that music can have on society, culture and social movements, especially in the context of protest songs.
At the moment, Freeman is considering pursuing research or teaching in the future. What she knows for sure is that she wants to continue making music and performing.
Favorite drink from KAF: Hot chocolate with extra whipped cream.
Favorite study spot: Her bed.