August 15, 2021 (updated)
Charlotte-based singer and rapper Tecoby Hines has released his latest project, Days Under Sun. The three-song EP is a soulfully contemplative project that reflects on making the most of life and demonstrates his personal growth as a musician.
A life of music was not in Hines’ plans growing up. Basketball was his first passion. “I was more into sports, [but] completely terrified of crowds, so didn’t want to be in front of people. I didn’t want to be in the forefront. Literally, my nerves would get the best of me,” Hines said.
An elite basketball player at his hometown high school, Rocky Mount Senior High, his aspiration was to play professionally, so after high school he spent time at Lenoir Rhyne and Guilford Tech Community College trying to make his dreams a reality through the junior college route.
Although basketball took center stage, music and writing were always supporting roles throughout his life. His father, a singer and musician, introduced Hines to many of his gospel, R&B, and soul musical influences. Although Hines briefly sang on his church’s praise team, he still preferred to be out of the performance spotlight. However at 16, Hines took the first step in conquering his fear when he sang at a local talent show.
“Somebody [held] my hands and I had to close my eyes for me to get through the show. There are certain words in there that I clearly got wrong, but I won, wrong lyrics and everything. I [believe] everybody was more shocked that I was singing and not playing basketball,” he said.
Hines grew into his artistry naturally, after taking his music career seriously almost five years ago. Since his 2017 debut single “Ready to Grow,” Hines has experimented with his sounds, writing style, and flow as he figured out who he wanted to be as an artist.
Hines began Days Under Sun in February as an album before ultimately deciding to consolidate it into three thought-provoking songs. The first track “Days Under Sun” begins with a melodic piano-forward hip-hop beat with softer 808s complementing Hines’ velvety vocals. He speaks on the importance of finding ways to remain grounded and seek balance with lyrics like, “It doesn’t cost me / It only gives me life, to slow down and be present in this life.” The message is one he’s had to learn himself on his journey.
“Everybody has dreams, but sometimes we get a little too caught up in them to where we forget what actually matters. [This] song is me talking about me with a desire of making the most of everything,” Hines said. “My wife will tell you I get really obsessed with my dreams. And so, I have to find ways to stay grounded and be great at what I do.”
Hines gives us a taste of his rapping cadence in “Days in 400.” The song begins with distorted, punchier drums and a concentrated baseline with an intermittent rhythmic guitar. Inspiration for the song came from the recent photography interest he picked up.
“With Portra 400, you can’t shoot it in the dark; you have to shoot it in the sun. It flows with the idea of days in 400, about taking in the sun being able to receive it for what it is,” he said.
This is an EP about “receiving life as it is” instead of trying to force it to be as you would like. With Days Under Sun, Hines finds balance through the many hats he wears as a musician, husband, and father, understanding that he has to define his own path as an artist. He reminds us to receive life as a gift to be enjoyed and shared with others, and highlights the importance of remaining present in the one life we’re given.