We had the good fortune of connecting with Tabari Lake and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tabari, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I was born and raised in St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands. My upbringing and background on the island impact who I am in many ways. My journey as a musician began in about second grade. I played the steel drums, clarinet, and finally settled on the bass guitar
as my primary instrument. Every teacher I had while in grade school had a hand in shaping who
I am a musician, each in their own way. I learned classical music theory and scratch music
(one of our local forms of music) from some, and the importance of professionalism from
others. Along with my school experience, as a teenager, many of the local jazz musicians
began to call me for gigs on bass. This is where I got to hone my musicianship because I
had to hang on the bandstand with some of the best musicians on the island.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I play electric and upright bass. After graduating from Berklee College of Music in 2017, I moved to Atlanta for a few months and I was active on the local jazz scene. I got to do some recording as well. In 2018, I moved to Los Angeles where my career began to pick up. Over the years, I’ve performed with artists including Terrance Blanchard, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Pharoah Sanders, Sting, Tia Fuller, Snoop Dogg, and many others. In 2019, I was chosen as the Make Jazz fellow at the Santa Monica 18th Street Art Center sponsored by the Herb Alpert Foundation, where I got to premiere a body of my original work. This was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had because I’d never put together a complete show of all new and original music. Throughout my experience as a professional musician, one of the most important things I’ve learned is to make time for yourself, the people, and the things that you love. It is very easy to become focused solely on how you’re doing in your career but making time for yourself makes the whole experience a more pleasant one.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
My favorite spots in the city are
Rose Cafe- Venice
M & M’s Soulfood Restaurant-Inglewood
La Caña Rum Bar- Downtown
Manhattan Beach (the actual beach)
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My family, friends, and the Virgin Islands community as a whole for their support in my growth and career over the years.
TABARI 06 and TABARI 08 taken by Jacob McCaslin