An Exclusive Interview with R&B Historian Tyrone DuBose
We are sharing our recent interview with Iconic R&B Historian, distinctive radio host, motivational speaker, and philanthropist Tyrone DuBose, a R&B Historian for TV One’s UNSUNG and on the air at Sheryl Underwood Radio, a program that is considered the number one urban radio show in America. He has achieved a number of awards for his consistent good work, including America’s number one R&B Historian, Black Music Awards Achievement In Music Award, as well as the People’s Choice Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award from UView Media Group.
Pro Media Mag : First of all tell us about the start of your professional life?
Tyrone DuBose : I began in television and radio by doing public access television in 1985. It was a show that talked about average people and average subjects. I began interviewing people about various phases and parts of their lives. I won over 10 awards, including Producer of the Year, and best talk show of the year. Although I loved the talk show aspect, the truth is, radio was really never far from my mind. I think I was just trying to find my way, anyway of trying to make a dream come true. Eventually, I got a break driving to a city called Barstow California that was about 145 miles from my home every other weekend. It allowed me to learn how to be on the radio, develop a style and get the fundamentals down of being on the air. I drove to Barstow every other weekend for over six years. I was so determined to find out whether I could live my dream, I was willing to do anything.
Pro Media Mag : What was the inspiration behind becoming a historian?
Tyrone DuBose : When I was growing up in Cincinnati Ohio, the radio show American Top 40 with Casey Kasem was a big part of my life. I would listen intently to him as he talked about the history of the artist, and where they placed each week on the charts. He was very calm, soothing, and like a father figure. I really enjoyed listening to him each week. I said one day I would be like him, and as luck has it, I actually did. It was amazing as he told the stories of the history of the artist, about their ups and downs. I mirrored my own radio show Timeless Traxx behind it as well, though my show was based on the top R&B songs over the last six decades according to the national R&B singles charts, and Casey Kasem did the pop charts. Meeting him and telling him about my show was one of the highlights of my life.
Pro Media Mag : Education, experience or something else? what’s the key behind becoming a successful historian like you?
Tyrone DuBose : I quit high school in the ninth grade to pursue a career in baseball, that didn’t go well. So in my heart, I knew I had to continue to try to be something, anything, that was going to fulfill me. I managed to find people who believed in me, and my dream. But I had to make a decision about whether to be an historian of the pop charts, or R&B charts. I thought that the R&B charts would be the smartest move, because it was what I grew up listening to more than pop music. As time went on, Michael Ajakwe, and producers on the TV One Network UNSUNG gave me an opportunity of a lifetime to be on television as an R&B Historian show contributor for the last eight years. My experience came from people just simply giving me a chance. For hours, I would sit in my room in my home and make the time to learn everything that I could to make things happen. Even when others didn’t believe in me. But ultimately the key behind becoming a successful historian is planning your work, and working your plan. Also, simply just making the time to expand your horizons and recognize that you have to be something different than anyone else in order to make dreams come true. I also learned that you have to distinguish yourself from others. If there are 5000 people who do the same thing that you do, what is going to make you different. That’s when I began to become an R&B historian.
Pro Media Mag : Sheryl Underwood’s radio program is considered the number one urban radio show in America and you also won the America’s number one R&B Historian awards, making history. You must be very excited about that?
Tyrone DuBose : Sheryl Underwood gave me the opportunity of a lifetime. My show Timeless Traxx was doing well. But Sheryl gave me an opportunity to take my historian dreams to another level by allowing me to produce a show called A 60 second moment in music history. It gave me an opportunity to talk about any subjects in music, the charts, everything that I learned about being an historian of R&B. I could never thank her enough for believing in me and my dreams. People began taking notice of my work, and the accolades and awards started coming. The lifetime achievement award from UView Media was a night that I will never forget. It reminded me that I’m never too old, and it’s never too late to go for your goals, and reach your dreams.
Pro Media Mag : You also won Black Music Awards Achievement In Music Award this year as well, getting back the fruit of your hardwork?
Tyrone DuBose : When the Black Music Awards (BMA’S) informed me of my nomination, I was joyful. And when I won the first time, it was a sense of validation. But to win months later in the city of Las Vegas for my radio program being the number one show of old-school R&B, it made history. Then, a couple of weeks ago, further making history by winning for the third time within 12 months, the People’s choice award as America’s number one R&B Historian. It was quite a humbling experience but making me grateful more than ever that I never quit and gave up on my dreams. There are times that I really have to remind myself that they could have chosen so many others who are worthy of such a distinction, but they chose me, and I am appreciative of the honor.
Pro Media Mag : So what kind of effect all these achievements has made on your personality over all?
Tyrone DuBose : By nature, believe it or not many people don’t know this, but I am somewhat shy to some degree. I’m learning what it’s like to be a public figure, and trying to get used to it, but I can be a bit shaky about that sometimes. Not because I am not grateful, but because when you get in a different place, people look at you a bit differently. Sometimes it’s easier to hide behind social media, and interviews. I am really getting better though, by forcing myself to do plays, and interact with people a bit more. I’m a bit nervous about it, but I think I would be more nervous if I didn’t make it happen. I want to believe that I’m still the same, and I haven’t changed. I want when people speak to me and get to know me to see that I’m still the same. I know that those who know me feel the same. There are days I say “Yes, I finally made it”, and there are other times I think “OMG how did all of this happen”.
Pro Media Mag : Any other particular award or target you would like to achieve?
Tyrone DuBose : Being a voiceover actor, it keys me really busy. I have a lot of work doing national commercials, and I also love doing plays. But I believe to continue becoming America’s premier R&B historian seems like it’s where I’m supposed to be in my life right now. I recently finished two chapters of a book called get out of your own way, that talks about my story, and what others can do to help make their own dreams come true. The first chapter in the book became a bestseller, and I’m really proud of that.
Pro Media Mag: Anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Tyrone DuBose : I’m always asked what advice I’m able to give to someone about making their dreams come true. I tell them that there are 1440 minutes in a day. That they need to be able to spend a certain amount of time each day on their dream. That’s what I’ve done to get here. Also, if you’re not ready for people to talk about you, you’re not ready for success. And after over 35 years, I went back to High School for 4 years to get my High School Diploma, proving it’s never too late for a new start. In my life, I have made mistakes, I have made amends where I can, and now, I have made history. My Mother would be proud.