THE DESTINY CENTER STUDIOS
Nurturing and guiding musical talent
by Candance Moore
Taylor and DJ Davis
Del Davis never knows what will come into his studio next. One day he's helping a gospel singer record her grandmother's favorite hymns. The next, he's meeting with a filmmaker who needs a dramatic scene scored. After that, he hears a pitch for a new podcast from a passionate philosopher. Whatever it may be, if it's good art- and it can be captured through sound- Del wants a chance to work on it.
His clients have vastly different artistic goals, but their current situations are often similar. They have a great life in Hampton Roads, don't want to move to Los Angeles to chase a dream, but they remain committed to their artistic ambitions. Many Hampton Roads artists were frustrated by a scarcity of high-quality production values locally. Del's studio finally crosses that divide, allowing local talent to compete with the big guys technically.
"The talent is here," Del affirms. "The ideas are compelling. I hear them every day. Thanks to modern technology, production barriers are dropping fast. Also, it's more socially acceptable for working professionals to have a side gig. Many of my successful clients are ordinary local citizens who built a large following on a very reasonable budget and schedule."
At The Destiny Center Studios, where he meets with clients of all ages or backgrounds, Del emphasizes the unique strength of each person's talent. There is no pressure to conform to a mainstream sound, no lectures on how it's done in New York. There's only the pursuit of technical excellence with an experienced, respected producer who wants the best for each artist.
Del is a Chesapeake native who loves his community, a worship leader at church, and a family man in business with his wife, Taylor. One can feel her touch of hospitality in Destiny's lounge, where she enjoys helping new artists get acquainted with the studio. Seasoned performers will quickly feel at home in the professional setting, while nervous amateurs will appreciate Taylor's sisterly support. Del's easygoing friendliness belies his impressive technical background.
Up and coming Christian Hip-Hop artist, Quran Young, records in front of
custom-made wall art by artist Taneshia Young (Instagram Lighthouse.Artistry).
The art is a waveform of an actual recording of DJâ€™s voice reading Bible verse Isaiah 48:17.
The verse is one of DJâ€™s favorites and is part of the companyâ€™s creed.
He's worked in big-budget studios under major producers where he sharpened his ear for detail. As a music theory instructor, it was his job to turn talent into disciplined success. He knew he was in the right field. Yet, while he thrived on the excellence produced in that environment, he couldn't shake a sense of unfairness. It seemed that a wall existed be-tween his professional world and the people he sat next to at church. So he broke free to make that technical quality available to everyone. Taylor prayerfully sup-ported him as they opened their own studio in 2018.
It instantly attracted untapped local talent disinterested in the corporate music model. Family-oriented artists, dismayed by what they heard from certain record labels, were drawn to a studio that actually embraced their values.
"Parents bring their children to us all the time in search of a safe atmosphere," Taylor notes. "Destiny is a professional studio that acts as a friend to artists. We're not here to influence them, only to give them a chance to express their love for art. We've come to see there's a huge demand among artists for this kind of resource."
"Destiny empowers artists and creators
to go as far as they feel comfortable
in the pursuit of their craft."
- Del Davis
Del is a classical pianist who can teach the fundamentals to a youngster while chatting about the future of experimental sounds. The studio offers music and voice lessons for beginning singers, as well as rehabilitation for damaged vocal cords among more seasoned performers. Young artists learn to responsibly respect the craft as they learn how to develop their unique voice. When the time comes to record, all production is done in-house at Destiny, resulting in crystal-clear digital acoustic perfection. With a finished product in hand, Del can even offer advice on how to gain traction online.
At the mention of social media, Taylor pulls up a music video produced in the studio. A musical duo has recorded a lovely soft guitar piece, which brilliantly comes to life through professional videography and flawless sound overlay. The entire process happened at Destiny. Now the video is earning views on YouTube.
DJ Davis, right, with former student and local producer Jon Schools, aka Deph Voice,
work together to produce top-notch professional recordings.
Clients with a vision for a short-term project can access Destiny's technical knowledge to produce it. For those who dream of producing a series, production classes are a valuable investment. While home equipment may be easy to purchase, there's a very real learning curve to get the most out of it. Del explains that a few weeks of training will dramatically improve the sound of a program recorded on the same equipment. His classes and workshops are available even to the hobbyist with a day job.
For musical artists who want to pursue the live concert experience, Del is cultivating a network of venue connections. There are more opportunities for live music, especially at the local level, than artists tend to think of, and a fresh sound from an undiscovered gem is always in high demand.
"Essentially, Destiny empowers artists and creators to go as far as they feel comfortable in the pursuit of their craft," Del relays. "Some of our clients are introverts who just want to capture something beautiful for their loved ones. Others are charismatic performers looking for an audience. Each client, regardless of their skill level or long-term plan, receives the same personal attention. As soon as you step into our door, you're an artist with a message."
Even those who aren't performing artists can benefit from production training. Audio engineers at churches, dubstep dabblers on SoundCloud, and college students working on a multi-media thesis are all perfect candidates for education in production basics. Del says it's an increasingly valuable skill that can pay dividends in more than one career path. Classes are flexible and casual.
Destiny is hosting an open house event in December for creators to learn about their options. Music lessons, production classes, and studio time are all available. For those with a new experimental idea, Del says he'd love to hear it.
"We all have a message in our heart," he says warmly. "I want to help everyone in Hampton Roads get their best message out there."
The Destiny Center Studios
1224 Executive Boulevard
Chesapeake, VA 23320