Part of an Observer series on outstanding high school graduates in the Charlotte area.
One day several years ago, Tony Jivers misbehaved, and his mother sent him to his room.
Jivers’ mother, Tiffani Harris, didn’t realize that, by doing so, she may have launched a show business career.
While confined to his room without television or electronic games, young Jivers decided to write poetry. He found he enjoyed it.
Later, the poetry turned into rap and hip-hop lyrics, and Jivers became interested in the music business, meeting an influential friend along the way.
Jivers, 18, who graduated June 13 from Mallard Creek High School, is headed to Full Sail University, a prestigious entertainment-related school in Florida, on a scholarship.
“It went from being a joke to being serious,” Jivers said of his song lyrics. “A friend told me I should pursue this.”
Jivers’ lyrics were good enough for him to be introduced to Brandon Chisholm, known in the music business as “Coach Basic.” Chisholm is an Atlanta-based national figure in the production of R&B, hip-hop and rap. Through Chisholm, Jivers learned to create “beats,” which he now sells to other performers.
“Beats” are the background soundtracks used by rappers in their performances. Beats can include percussion and, legally, up to 10 percent of a previously recorded song.
Along the way, Jivers has learned to deal with copyright laws and other legalities.
Pursuing a music career and working to be accepted to Full Sail University forced him to concentrate much harder on academics.
“It’s a tough school, and I had to change my life when it comes to academics,” he said. He improved enough to win the Creative Spark Scholarship from Full Sail.
Jivers said he sees himself becoming a music producer, engineer and possibly a performer.
He said he already has learned some of the production side of the business by creating “beats.” At Full Sail University, he expects to learn more about engineering and how to become a well-rounded figure in the entertainment industry.
Jivers said he finds it remarkable how music changed his life.
“I was an unhappy person,” he said of the younger student sent to his room. “I thought I would be an athlete. My grades were bad.
“But music brought me back. It improved my grades and gave me a direction.
“I know that music will be my life.”