Tevin Studdard

Gamal Williams | September 20th, 2021
Tevin Studdard

Tevin Studdard

A young boy sits with his family as they watch television. On the screen, the results of a nationwide talent search unfold. They hover in anticipation, hoping that their favorite contestant is declared the winner. When the results are announced, the family erupts with glee. The boy, while elated, saw something more. He saw someone that looked like him, someone that chased their dream and reached it. His mind opened to a world of possibilities. The boy saw his future.

Hold that thought.

Tevin Studdard was born to Donald and Lynn, two hardworking, loving parents. The family spent time in two of the roughest areas in Indianapolis, IN; Haughville on the west side, Martindale-Brightwood on the east side. Donald, a photographer, always had a camera in his hands. He loved to capture his favorite subject: his family, whether taking pictures or recording family videos. It was in front of that camera that Tevin found the comfortability to perform. It was there that Tevin began to blossom.

“I was eleven years old and started doing talent shows in church and school, but when I started playing football, I got the opportunity to go to a really good school. While I was on the team, I ended up writing my first jingle. It was a song about our team called ‘Irish Nightmare’ and they played it during the game. Just to be in high school and hear my song over the loudspeaker while I was playing was crazy. What got me though, was when the other team started singing it. It got me hype. I realized I could start writing songs for other teams.”

During his senior year, Tevin sent some of his songs to then WNBA power forward and 2020 Basketball Hall of Fame Inductee, Tamika Catchings. Ms. Catchings loved them and wanted Tevin to write a song for the Indiana Fever. There was only one stipulation the brazen high school senior demanded: if the song got played at the arena, HE would get to perform it. Ms. Catchings and the Indiana Fever honored his request.

Tevin’s songs’ growing popularity led to a scholarship to Indiana State University, for which he also penned a song. Next, a song for the Ball State University softball team in Muncie, IN. The song was so loved, every team in the Mid-Atlantic Conference wanted one. By the end of his freshman year at Indiana State, Tevin had written and performed a unique song for over 40 colleges, including the University of Southern California, Ohio State, Baylor, Florida, and Kansas Universities.

“I would take the team roster and write raps that included all of their names. Everyone loved it. I booked my own shows, so I would have class on Tuesdays and Thursdays, then Friday through Monday I would be on the road performing.”

In 2016, Tevin took a break from writing songs and began working as a substitute teacher. He also taught an after-school music program, and once again, music poured back into his life.

“We wrote a song called ‘I Can Change the World’ and recorded a video for it. The local news station picked it up and did a story on us. After that, I was offered a local radio show. I focused on the high school kids; some were athletes, some musicians, but almost exclusively high schoolers. They were the most consistent and loved being featured. I think in that first few months, we featured over 400 kids throughout the city.”

In May 2021, Tevin started The Tevin Studdard Show on the All INDIANA Podcast Network. Since doing so, he expanded his guests to include local high school students, athletes and community activists, business owners, artists, medical professionals, and religious leaders from all over Indiana and beyond. On September 1st, Tevin opened Tevin’s Vision in Washington Square Mall. The Black Vendor Expo highlighted the grand opening, and featured 136 vendors, and packed the mall.

Tevin’s Vision is an all-inclusive, multimedia facility that features a full television studio, complete with a kitchen to highlight local, Black-owned restaurants and catering companies. There is also a digital publishing suite to develop a magazine to highlight high school athletes and coaches in the Indianapolis area, a recording studio, and an audio/video mentorship program to teach children how to be in front of the camera and behind it. Tevin is committed to seeing the youth of Indianapolis chase their dreams.

Speaking of dreams, remember the little boy that saw his favorite contestant win? That little boy was Tevin. The contestant? The winner of American Idol season 2 and Grammy Award Winner, Rueben Studdard, Tevin’s older cousin. But long before Rueben’s win, his father, Donald, laid the foundation for his greatness.

“Rueben’s win exposed me to something different at a pivotal age. It showed me that I didn’t have to be the negativity I saw around me. My dad has always been there for me. He’s the reason I work with kids so much because he was there to love and protect me. He had my back. My dad has a servant’s heart. He says ‘Your arm will get tired if you pat yourself on the back.’ He told me to go put in the work. HE is why I work so hard. Some kids don’t have a father figure as I did. I can be that for them.”

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