I had the unique opportunity to be present at a single-release party, for an artist, by the name of Von Middleton. I was initially introduced to Von via his manager, Ted Gustus, commonly known as “Coach-Ted”, a very popular High-School & Collegiate Basketball-Coach, with nearly 4-decades worth of coaching experience to boot. I was originally informed about Von being a vocal talent, as Ted told me that he took Von under his wing, as a personal mentor, then, as a manager, taking Von with him, to perform at various venues all across the United States, particularly singing the “American National-Anthem”, at sporting events, etc.
As Von’s voice became more popular, he naturally began to be noticed by others, for having a good voice, a good skill for singing. Eventually, both Von & Ted were called upon to appear at many more events, so that Von could display his vocal skills. This spiraled, actually, into Von attempting to break the “Guinness Book of World Records” record of the most sung American National-Anthems, by one single individual. By the time I had first crossed paths with Von, he was already well upon his way to achieving his very ambitious goal, which would obviously help to propel him to vocal stardom.
Honestly, prior to actually hearing him sing at this event that I was invited to, I had never heard him sing before. However, after hearing him sing for the very 1st time, both his first single “Puzzle” & the National-Anthem, I must say that I was fairly impressed by his skill as a singer. The song “Puzzle” is about people, just like you & I out there, who just can’t seem to find where we all fit, in this world, in our respective families, communities, societies, etc. I was even more impressed by his general positivity, goodwill, focus, drive. After getting to know him prior to hearing him sing, it actually makes sense why I was so impressed with hearing him sing for the first time around. Hearing him sing for that first time not only gave me confidence that he could pull his record-breaking attempt, but, it also gave me confidence that he could really take his singing career fairly far.
I have with me, at this time, both Von Middleton & Ted Gustus. We will be interviewing them both, to truly get a more authentic glimpse, from looking into their lenses, from their vantage-points, of what they hope to both professionally, as well as personally accomplish together, as a team.
G.B.: Coach-Ted, how did you & Von Middleton meet and how long have you two known one another?
T.G.: I first saw Von and his group Sidetrack Boys, singing at the annual Brownsville Oldtimers Day, 2 years ago. I later met him at the Atlantic Terminal Street Festival, where we actually talked with each other. The group said they could sing the National Anthem, I invited them to sing it Madison Square Garden. Once that happen the relationship blossomed.
G.B.: Von, what was your 1st-impression of Coach-Ted, and has that perception increased in a more positive way?
V.M.: My first impression of Coach Gustus was very different. He was always open to give his assistance and counsel to me with his intentions of improving my abilities. Since that first impression, I have been enlightened that he has been like this for all people, most importantly the young men in our communities. He has a passion for the youth being successful.
G.B.: Coach-Ted, when did you begin to notice that Von’s voice as something worthwhile to invest in & take seriously?
T.G.: When I heard him sing at the Brownsville Oldtimers. I had an voice and entertainment expert friend check him out one on one, and he gave me. The thumbs up!
G.B.: Von, how did it make you initially feel, when Coach-Ted extended his hand, to assist you in getting your singing-career off the ground?
V.M.: I honestly couldn’t believe it because I was always guarded by people that appeared to want to assist in developing my career. After learning that he is a respected legendary Coach and basketball player I knew that my career would change forever.
G.B.: Coach-Ted, at what point did you guys incept the idea to attempt to break the National-Anthem singing-record, and which one of you came up with this idea first?
T.G.: Actually that idea was introduced to me by another artist out in Atlanta Georgia. I thought is was a great idea and so did Von. I thought it would be great way to get Von in front of many people to hear him sing this far it has been working very well.
G.B.: Von, what do you want most from this entire venture, that you’ve invested so much of yourself into?
V.M.: I want to inspire all people that anything s possible with the right work ethic, the right support groups and the right heart. I want to reach many people through my art and what I create. I also feel that I’m getting what I want, which is to not only go through this process but to “grow through” this process. I wanted to enjoy the adventure of things while getting a chance to grow. In the past I’ve always anticipated the the outcome of things so much that the process would be a big blur to me. With Coach Gustus’ coaching and mentoring, I am developing many skills to assist me my evolution.
G.B.: Coach, where do you see Von Middleton, 5 to 10 years from now, as an artist?
T.G.: Von possesses diverse and versatile talents. I see him fully developing his talents and eventually being known world wide as an entertainer, business man and humanitarian. His zeal and desire to use his gifts to improve the quality of life for others will ultimately be his legacy.
G.B.: Von, where does Von Middleton see Von Middleton, 5 to 10 years from now, even beyond, as an artist?
V.M.: I see myself having joy and peace in my heart. I see myself with Grammys, touring the world and reaching many people that I look to inspire and change. I see myself being an innovative, revolutionary artist that gives back to the human race especially to my community. I see myself being able to connect to all people mature and younger than me in helping to change their lives.
For more info. about Von Middleton: