Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for clarity.
On a sunny Friday afternoon, I was hanging out on the quad, talking to my brother and his friends as I waited to interview Terrance “Terry” Bouyer for this column. Bouyer is a freshman computer engineering major who commutes to MC who writes and produces his own music. He and I had been going back and forth for a while trying to schedule this interview, so I was excited that we had finally settled on a date, time and place.
The quad was bursting with life: there were students throwing a frisbee, others having a chill jam sesh, others reading and doing homework and still others were just taking it all in.
When I finally met Terry, his personality matched the atmosphere on the quad: fun, laid back and super inviting. I had been hoping to do the interview and listen to him sing on the quad, but since there was so much noise outside, we moved into the chapel.
Sitting down in the chapel, Terry and I got started but the interview felt more like a conversation with a friend. It took a couple tries to get the right video for the column, but in between there was laughing, casual chatting and figuring out how to work the camera.
When we were wrapping up, I felt like I had made a new friend. Terry is just like his music: open and honest and definitely worth getting to know.
The Quadrangle: So, to get started, do you have a stage name or go by your name?
Terrance Bouyer: Yes I do. It’s TX.
TQ: Where did that come from?
TB: I made it up. I was in the shower thinking of different names. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do a fake full name like “Bryan Adams” just because I feel like a lot of singers use their name-name like Phillip Phillips and Ed Sheeran, like a first name and a last name and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be known like that. I feel like when you have a nickname, you’re a little bit more cool. So I did TX cause I felt I could do a little bit of both. I feel like when you say “TX” you don’t really know what to expect but I feel if I was like “Terrance Richards” or something like that, people would be like, “oh, he’s a singer.”
TQ: How did you start making your own music? When did you start writing your own songs and how did you end up where you are now?
TB: Well I was told by my sister that I’d always make up songs when I was two or three years old. But in my own memory, I would watch Hannah Montana at like six years old and I thought her life was so cool. I love all her songs, my parents would get me every CD and after the first one with “I’ve Got Nerve” and “Who Said” and “Best of Both Worlds,” I just started writing my own songs in my school notebook. At the time, I didn’t know instruments or know chords or keys or pitches or what those things were but I have this thing where a certain pitch puts a color in my head so that’s how I would remember how the songs would go. Underneath each lyric, I would write the color so I could remember the key or how to sing it. A lot of them sounded like Hannah Montana songs. My sister would hear it and be like, “did you copy Hannah Montana’s song?” and I’d be like, “well, I was inspired.” I wasn’t creative enough to do my own thing. I never stopped writing songs, but I didn’t really think about it too much until high school. I mean in middle school, my dad got an iPad and that was like the coolest thing ever, and on the iPad there was GarageBand, so I would mess around with that, but I wasn’t writing songs. High school came around, and I actually had a hard time at home, and I had a crush on someone at school and they were manipulative, which put me in a really dark place. I started to like cut myself and get these suicidal thoughts and stuff, and I was talking to my friends saying, “this is the only way I know how to express myself and relieve my pain” and they were like, “you need to find a new way” so I started writing songs. The first song I wrote was very, very sad and I don’t know if I’ll ever release it. I love the song, and I think it’s beautifully written but I don’t want to contribute to anyone’s depression. That’s when I started writing my own songs. A year after that, during my sophomore year, I was like, “I want to start making music again” so yeah. There’s a song I wrote called “Believe In You” and I got on GarageBand and put some piano to it and that just went on and on. After a while I realized I loved this; I loved making the instrumental, writing the songs. TX, where that came about, was when I wrote a song about relationships with my parents and my family and stuff called “Chocolate Ice Cream” and I put that on SoundCloud just to see what people thought, and I just put my name as TX. Wait, no, actually, I put out a minute or so song before that just to see how people would react and everyone in my high school loved it and I got 500 plays and at the time that was more than expected. Then, I put out “Chocolate Ice Cream” and I put out a few other songs after and they got really good responses.
TQ: Who would you say are your musical influences?
TB: Ooh that’s a tough one, there’s so many! I have different people for different things. When it comes to songwriting, the people I look up to the most are Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith – I love his lyrics – Adele is another big one. When it comes to actual music and instrumentals, it depends on what kind of music I want to make. If I want to make more of an R&B, rap kind of sound, I’ll listen to Metro Boomin or Big Sean or blackbear. If I want more of a pianoish type song, Adele again because Adele is always sad. Biggest [influences] vocally with singing, Ariana Grande, Sam Smith, Adele again. Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith and Adele, I look to for most things.
TQ: Do you have plans for your music or is it always going to be a side project of yours?
TB: I would love to see it go somewhere. In terms of plans, right now it’s hard because of computer engineering, so I took a break from it. I put out a couple songs in early January, but I haven’t put out anything since then because school became crazy, especially with Calc 2. Plans though, I have a lot of plans, whether they actually happen, I don’t know. I’d love to put out an album; that’s what I’m actually working on right now. I don’t know when it’ll come out or if it will because it’s so much time that goes into it and I’m still a beginner and I’m still learning everything. It’s very complicated, especially with the technical stuff with recording and making it sound professional. But I do plan to put out an album, hopefully, before the end of this year. I’ve been working on it, almost every day now that school is ending, I’ve been back into it. Other lans, I would love to perform with other artists, like my friends from high school, there are other SoundCloud artists and rappers and singers and we all still keep in touch. So I would love to collab and perform with them. I’m not sure where I see this going; I do this because I love it. I’m not trying to become famous but, of course, that would be nice. I’ll be content either way if only a couple friends heard my music or the whole world heard it. I mean I’d love if the whole world heard it but I’d still be happy if only a couple people or Manhattan College or my high school class knew my music. Right now, it’s a side thing or it always will be, at least until I graduate. I always tell myself, if anything I have computer engineering as a backup in case music doesn’t work out.
TQ: Do you have a favorite lyric you’ve written?
TB: Ooh, that’s hard because I’ve written so many songs. I think in 2017 I wrote about 100… I think the song I like the most is a song I wrote called “Beautiful.” The lyrics are “You move the caterpillars out my mind to where they’re safe from crowded thoughts and can metamorphosize” and I thought that was pretty creative because people say butterflies in their stomach. So it’s like the caterpillars in my mind are the attraction and you move them away from my crowded thoughts, because I overthink everything, and can metamorphosize, well, into butterflies… I think that pops to my mind because it’s overall a beautiful song; it’s not talking about sex, not talking about drugs, it’s just about love, about wanting to spend your life with someone. Sometimes songs will just come to me and I won’t always relate to them or they won’t come from experience because at the time I had never had a relationship. I thought it was very poetic and had a lot of imagery
TQ: Do you play a lot of instruments? How many?
TB: I play none.
TQ: How many can you like pull off when you’re recording?
TB: With making music, it’s a virtual piano and you can change the sounds to be a violin, a trumpet, a flute, a drum, anything, so that’s how it is. So I don’t know an instrument and I just know what works well together and I have good musicality. I do know the trumpet, but I never see that being useful in my music.
TQ: Saxophones got big on the radio in music for a while a few years ago but now they’re gone again. You never know.
TB: True, true. I do know trumpet, I learned in middle school. Guitar, I know one thing on it; I tried learning for a whole year but I literally just could not get my left hand to obey me because I use my right hand, my dominant hand, to strum. Piano, I could learn if I wanted to but I never have the time to sit down and practice. I do want to learn piano, guitar, violin and drums, not even because I like the drums but because I feel like it would be cool to say “Yeah, I know the drums.”
TQ: Anything else about your music that you want to share?
TB: Check it out and I hope the songs relate to the people that listen to them.
His music can be found at https://soundcloud.com/isthattx/tracks.