When you see Dre on stage you’d never imagine that she wasn’t meant to perform. Dre Towey used to shiver when she heard herself sing, “Just getting comfortable with the sound of my voice took some time. But how did she end up on stage with a guitar in her hands? Dre’s journey began in New York City where she taught at an all boys school and studied art education at Parsons. After taking a few years off when children prompted a move to the suburbs, she began teaching again, this time, an art class at a local community center.
Throughout her life, Dre’s creative side always dominated and her own children inspired her, “While I was teaching, I started writing stories for kids.” When asked to illustrate a friend’s songs, Dre jumped at the opportunity and not only did the drawings for her friend but also turned her own stories into music. She picked up a guitar and received her first lesson while pregnant with her second child. One day, Dre followed her friend to the local library with her guitar, where she put on a real performance for a small group.
Dre loved being on stage and was thrilled with the response from the kids and parents,she knew this was what she was meant to do. Writing more and more of her own music, she gathered enough material to self-publish her first CD in 2001. Her lyrics reflected her present and past, touching upon everything from the neighbor’s dog to losing a balloon. She soon found a following and was asked to perform at local venues for kids. Promoting herself and her new band, Sugar on Top, Dre has become a sought-after artist. Dre won the Parent’s Choice Award twice and just released her third CD, Just Cause I Love Ya. She’s known as a modern pied piper with a Sheryl Crow vibe. Who knew singing for your children would lead to a career?
Not one to sit still for long– what came next? Dre never dreamed of combining her love of teaching art with her music, but one day while driving by a commercial space in South Norwalk, CT, she had an idea, “Maybe I could.” Dre admits to being a control freak, always wanting to be in charge, but having her own business seemed overwhelming. When she first walked into the space, she thought, “I have to try.” With a name that says it all, JAM (Junior Art and Music) was born.Offering fresh, sparkley, fun in a hands-on, nurturing environment where judgment is left at the door, JAM is a one of a kind studio inspiring budding artists and their parents.
Opening in the Fall of 2010, classes are available for ages 2 – 16, with the mission to allow the child to tap into their creative side. There are even parent and child classes. Dre says, “Every child that walks in is inspired to create; they realize they can go in any direction they want.
Dre says her three children, ages 7, 10, and 12, have a love/hate relationship with mom’s new venture but that her husband is her number one fan. “It’s incredibly challenging to be there for them and run a business at the same time, but I know they are proud. I immersed myself in what I love and found I was personally more productive as an artist.” The cool vibe found at JAM makes everyone want to get messy, create something new and sing along with Dre.
Don’t be afraid to try something new and combine it with an old talent or love.