by Kaye Bennett
If you think it’s hard to break into the music world, just try doing it solely between the hours of 10 PM and 1 AM, after the rest of the family has gone to bed, and after a long day toiling in the corporate world. But it can be done and done well, judging by Tim Streeter '94. And Streeter credits his Kalamazoo College education for preparing him well, for both his night job as a music producer, and his day job as chief operating officer for recruitment at Accenture, a global consulting technology firm with 250,000 employees.
For the past two years, Streeter and his brother Thom, calling themselves T Street Players, have been releasing studio albums, with music they describe as “pop, rock and soul, with a little bit of uhhh.” But Tim Streeter’s story starts much earlier than that.
A native of Kalamazoo, Streeter graduated from Loy Norrix High School and the Kalamazoo Area Math and Science Center in 1990. He decided to come to K, he says, because he loved to play soccer and because of the foreign study opportunity. An ever bigger draw was the Heyl scholarship he’d been awarded.
At K, Streeter majored in economics and minored in math. He played soccer, and his study abroad program was in Spain. Right after graduation, he went to work for Accenture, in its Detroit office.
His K education, Streeter says, has proved to be “hugely helpful, though not necessarily in the ways expected.” He believes that the compressed 10-week course schedule at Kalamazoo instilled in him the ability to learn things quickly. And his three months in Madrid gave him the ability to adapt to change and helped him develop the self-confidence and survival skills that have been a big asset through his years with Accenture. The company has offices in 48 countries, and Streeter’s jobs have taken him to more than 30 of them so far. As COO of recruitment, Streeter manages a $200 million budget and oversees the 2,000 recruiters who hire about 70,000 people a year. He’s been doing this job for the past three years.
But Streeter has always had a passion for music. Unlike his brother (Thom has played piano nearly all his life, says Streeter, has played with bands and writes songs for his own enjoyment), Tim Streeter never played an instrument as a child. What attracts him to the music industry is producing, arranging, and writing songs.
Some two and a half years ago, Streeter came across a music production software that provided basic 1-, 2-, and 4-bar loops and a simple interface for “building” songs. The software provided the key for Streeter to unleash his love of music. “You can put together cool stuff that way,” he says, “but it’s hard to build a full song.” That’s where Brother Thom comes in. “I go to my brother to add solos and make existing arrangements better,” says Streeter.
And the music they make? “It’s not one niche or genre,” says Streeter. “It can be mellow or aggressive, pop or rock.” Among his music interests, Streeter credits the diversity at Norrix High School for giving him a taste for rap and R&B. Then, at K, he came to appreciate the alternative rock, folk, and acoustic worlds.
The brothers’ music to date has all been created in studios. Right now, Streeter says, they have neither the interest nor the time to play live gigs. Doing that would require them to include other performers to play the parts that, via the magic of the recording studio, the two of them now handle alone. Especially, says Streeter, to perform live they would need backup singers for all the layered vocals. While neither brother claims to sing particularly well, Streeter says that “with enough filters, layers and takes, I can sing well enough not to be distracting.” Then he laughs: “And my brother is probably a worse singer than I am.”
Tim Streeter lives in Ann Arbor with his wife Jennifer Girvin Streeter ’94, and their 10- and 7-year-old sons. Thom, three years older than Tim, lives in St. Johns, Michigan, where he teaches physics at St. Johns High School.
Streeter describes the way T Street Players works. By purchasing usage rights to a production library, the brothers can use its sound samples of instruments they don’t play to complement the ones they do and ultimately create their own
"I can sing well enough not to be distracting."songs. “It’s similar to how a chef gathers the best ingredients and cooks them in their own special way,” says Streeter.
Marketing the finished product calls on Streeter’s business experience. By using the services of a group called TAXI, an independent artist and repertoire company, the brothers are able to tap into the skills of music professionals. TAXI’s experts, former executives at major labels, critique the lyrics, vocals, engineering, musicianship, and marketability of submitted songs, says Streeter.
Then TAXI promotes the group by forwarding selected songs to music supervisors for music labels, film, television, and gaming. Streeter says, “Music supervisors solicit material from TAXI because the quality is high and TAXI screeners are good about only forwarding the best.”
Thus far the Streeters have had some success in getting their music played on internet and FM radio stations. Like any good entrepreneur, Streeter has set specific goals for the business:
· Year 1 (2010): Goal: Get one track forwarded to an outlet. Outcome: Met. (They got two tracks forwarded.)
· Year 2 (2011): Goal: Get multiple tracks forwarded. Outcome: Met. (They got six forwarded.)
· Year 3 (2012): Goal: Get a placement deal. Outcome: In April T Street Players had its first placement! “One of our songs was used on Episode Three of the TV series “Southern Nights” on the CMT Network,” says Streeter. “It aired April 21.”
Streeter says he’s thoroughly enjoying making music with his brother. While he says he’s unlikely to quit his day job and become a full-time musician, he vows to keep at it “as long as it’s fun and we’re progressing.”
Learn more about T Street Players and sample their music.
Photo – Tim Streeter (right) and his brother Thom.