Tisdale Strikes Chord in Music Business
BY Jimmie Tramel
Sep 14, 1993
12/11/08 at 10:32 PM
WAYMAN Tisdale and basketball always have made beautiful
music together. The same can be said when he has an electric
bass in his hand instead of a Spalding.
The Sacramento Kings star, formerly of the University of Oklahoma and
Tulsa Washington, apparently can jam with the best of them on and
off the court.
The bass player and his Fifth Quarter Jazz Band have opened
for the likes of Natalie Cole and the Yellowjackets. His
six-piece ensemble was a featured musical attraction at
the NBA All-Star Jam Session in Salt Lake City last year.
"That was a thrill because all the players in the NBA,
all the All-Stars, all the retired players and the Hall
of Famers were there," said Tisdale. "Isiah Thomas came
up to the stage and told me it sounds great, and that meant
a lot. I really felt honored to even be asked to play at
the NBA All-Star game."
The eight-year NBA veteran is trying to become an impact
player in the musical field. He created Tisway Productions
from scratch four years ago and the gospel music label seems
to be gaining momentum. At a recent event billed as the
country's biggest Christian talent search, Tisdale's stable
recorded four prominent victories, boasting the overall
winner (Trey Harris) and song of the year.
"Basketball no doubt is still first and foremost," said Tisdale, a 6-9
forward who averaged 16.6 points last season. "It's something that I love.
But I also love music and I feel I can deal with (both of them). I'm going
into my ninth year and it's good for me now to start thinking, hey, it's
time to branch out and see what I want to do after basketball."
Other pro athletes are not so future-conscious and often
crash to reality when their playing careers are over.
"I want to be able to use my leverage and contacts while
I'm still a name," said Tisdale. "A lot of younger players
think, hey, this thing's going to last forever and when
I'm finished playing, they'll still want me. Well, some
of us know a little better than that."
Because of a hectic 82-game regular season, Tisdale cannot devote himself
year-round to his label. His wife, Regina, takes up the slack.
"I'm mainly doing it during the summers," said Tisdale,
who visited relatives in Tulsa on Monday, then left to attend
a music-related meeting in Nashville. "Once basketball
starts, I'm mainly just writing and putting songs on the
shelves and going from there."
Tisdale wrote the Sacramento Kings' theme song ("Runnin'
At Ya!") last year along with Raphael Wiggins of the musical
group Tony, Toni, Tone. Tisdale co-wrote a song for the
female trio SWV as well as music for the Winans' single,
"Pay Day." A Tisdale tune is pending on an upcoming Robert
Tisdale got his musical start in Tulsa, playing at the church where his
father was a minister. Tisdale wants the Christian messages from Tisway
Productions to reach youths, thus his artists have strayed from pure gospel
to incorporate secular music styles. The group I-ZAYA, for instance, does
"Everything is going to be positive that I do music-wise
and we want to reach a lot of people, especially the youth,"
said Tisdale. "We'll do traditional gospel also because
that's where we all came from."
Tisdale's band recorded a song ("Don't Give Up") about setting goals and
working hard to achieve them. The NBA selected the piece to air with a
national public service announcement.
He also has launched Team Tisdale, a project which aims
to spread a message of peace, respect and education among
Sacramento area youth.
"I love going and speaking at high schools and talking to kids about my
success and my formula I used growing up," he said. "My parents told me I
wasn't going to be given anything and I had to work for it. For a young
basketball player in Oklahoma, you have to make a lot of sacrifices to be
known nationally. But it can be done and that's what I try to tell people
all across the country. I don't consider myself having a normal high school
life because every summer I was gone playing basketball. But it paid off."