Fishman Artist // Tariqh AkoniThe wonderful thing about my profession is that I get to learn something new every day. It’s this joy of discovery and insatiable thirst for knowledge that continues to lead me to seek out instruction and study other styles of music.
You have to understand that my childhood home was filled with music from a myriad of genres, from Carlos Santana to Mac Davis to Sly and the Family Stone.
My father was a college educator and my mother was a counselor and “grand communicator”. It was in this fertile environment that I discovered how to learn, and that the key is not the destination, but the journey.
When I first picked up the guitar, I felt overwhelmed. At 16, you could typically find me with my nose buried in books on harmony and theory. Music is the first thing I felt passionate about, and I followed my “North Star” to Boston and the Berklee College of Music.
Though I originally moved to Boston for school, I learned more by practicing all day and playing all night than in the classroom. In the clubs of Boston, I was exposed to everything from blues to jazz to rock. This is where I found my voice. Under the tutelage of jazz saxophonist Walter Beasley, I was introduced to sessions stalwart Gerald Albright, who encouraged me to move to Los Angeles.
I’ve always thought that competition drives us to excellence. Since moving to Los Angeles in 1997, I have had to meet the challenge of competing against the top players in the world. I have been blessed to work with artists ranging from jazz legends George Duke and Tom Scott, to R&B icons Chaka Khan and Whitney Houston, to pop sensation The Backstreet Boys.
Looking back, I can still remember my first time on stage in front of a live audience. I was so nervous that I couldn’t find Middle C if it bit me in the ass. At the same time, I was intoxicated by the experience, and I have never looked back. Since first discovering the guitar as a teenager, I still get a charge every time I pick up my instrument. I don't think that I could, or would do anything else.