We had the good fortune of connecting with Tony Craddock, Jr. and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Tony, any advice for those thinking about whether to keep going or to give up?
I don’t believe in “giving up,” but rather, “pivoting.”

My first step is to look inward and be honest about how I feel regarding whatever is in question. Do I really want to press onward? Or do I feel pressure to continue because of external expectations and/or or internal guilt? For instance, since the age of eight, I had planned on becoming a broadcast meteorologist. I fell in love with the field through watching The Weather Channel, and ironically, the smooth jazz in their local forecast segments inspired me to pick up the saxophone at age 11. I eventually earned a degree in Atmospheric Science from Cornell University, but deep down inside, I knew music was the passion that burned stronger inside of me – I could never stop thinking about it. But, I never imagined a future for myself as a professional musician and I was fearful to embrace the unknown.

My second step is to look upward and pray. I’m a follower of Christ and I communicate with Him through prayer to get direction and understanding. He revealed that I didn’t have to abandon my love for weather to pursue a career in music, rather, I could combine the two. A little over one year after graduating from college, I launched my independent music label, Cold Front Music, LLC. I found that my purpose was to uplift the minds and spirits of listeners – like a cold front lifts warm air – through songs that use weather as a symbol of hope, and a sound that blends jazz, gospel, and soul.

Once I’ve gotten the gotten the “green light” through prayer, my final step is to move forward and take action – whether that’s to “keep going” or pivot, as I did from meteorology to Cold Front Music.

I’ve learned that direction is more important than distance. What a shame it would be to go far in the wrong direction!

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I view Cold Front Music as an uplifting breeze of inspiration.

My purpose is encouraging listeners with songs that use titles, sounds and/or accompanying lyrics that connect the natural realm (weather and/or everyday circumstances) with the spiritual (Kingdom of Heaven). Whether it’s describing the radiance of a sunrise or the invisible force of wind, every song I write paints pictures that communicate hope, faith in Christ, and love.

Additionally, every concert I perform has an inspirational story that’s custom-made for my audience. Even if I’m presenting the same songs from show-to-show, I take the core messages of the songs and adapt them into an uplifting narrative that I believe will resonate with that particular audience.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
The DC, Maryland, Virginia area (DMV) has so much to offer!

For food: Being that I’m from Northern Virginia, I definitely recommend some spots here, including restaurants in Old Town Alexandria and Tysons Corner. The National Harbor in Maryland also has great food.

For fun:
The Capital (Ferris) Wheel at the National Harbor and Lucky Strike in Georgetown.

For music: National Gallery of the Art’s Jazz in the Garden (during the summer), and City Winery DC and Bethesda Blues & Jazz (year-round).

For culture:
The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) is a must-see for both the historical experience and amazing food.

For scenery:
Again, the National Harbor. A walk on the National Mall down to the Tidal Basin during the evening around sunset. And a walk/hike through Great Falls, Virginia.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have had countless mentors who have poured into my life and music career. But, I’d like to dedicate two shoutouts to some of the people who helped me get my start as a recording artist.

First, I want to shoutout my parents (Rev. Dr. Tony Craddock, Sr. and Stephanie Craddock). When I was uncertain about my future after college, they purchased a new soprano saxophone for me under one condition – I had to use it to record an album. Prior, I had only played alto saxophone. Without their motivation and support, I likely would not have released my debut Christmas album in 2011 or any of the other albums and singles that have followed.

I also want to shoutout Mark and Dee Dee Ball, the owners of A2G Music, a music school and recording studio in my hometown of Woodbridge. My first two albums – Christmas in the Air and Convection – were recorded there, and would not have been possible without their support and patience with me as a young recording artist. They retired and closed the studio in 2020, but the imprint they’ve had on my music will continue to follow me!

Website: www.tonycraddockjr.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/tonycraddockjr

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/tonycraddockjr

Twitter: www.twitter.com/tonycraddockjr

Facebook: www.facebook.com/tonycraddockjr

Youtube: www.youtube.com/tonycraddockjr

Image Credits
Page Gordon (CCP Photos)

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