Darrius Flowers wins emerging artist grant

The North Carolina Arts Council has awarded teenage multi-instrumentalist, Darrius Flowers, of Pilot Mountain, NC, a $5,000 grant for emerging artists. Known for his fiddle work, the 18-year-old also plays guitar, mandolin, banjo, and bass. He sings and dances as well.

Darrius explained his interest in the fiddle and the bow. “I used to do Irish Dance for several years. The fiddle was used numerous times, and I was more drawn to the music aspect as opposed to the dancing.”

“God has blessed me with the ability to pick up music quickly. While I’m mainly self-taught, I have had lessons through the Traditional Arts Program (a series of free music lessons provided by the Surry Arts Council). When workshops became available, I took lessons from those instructors. That helped me progress in music.”

Flowers was also recipient of the Wayne Henderson Scholarship, which allowed him to take private lessons from Jim Vipperman, a TAPS teacher.

While Flowers’ earned the grant for his musical prowess, he first had to go through the application process and meet multiple requirements.

“I submitted three different songs that I recorded. On one of those songs, I played five instruments and sang lead and backup vocals,” Darrius explained. “I had to respond to a lengthy questionnaire that detailed my music background and future goals. I was awarded the grant to help develop my songwriting and music production abilities.”

He expressed his gratitude… “I am thankful the arts council reaches out to young people learning how to play and carry on local traditional music. They also help young people to realize their dreams, and are willing to help and to encourage them along the way.”

“I’ve been very blessed to receive the honor of this grant to help further my music career. I’m very thankful to the Surry Arts Council, the TAPS Program, and all of the people who have helped me along this journey. There are too many names to name, because I would leave someone out.”

Flowers sings and plays in his church, plus he performs with several local bands, including the Catawba Bluegrass Band.

Dobroist and band mate, Linzey Ham, shared, “Darrius Flowers is a prodigy. He is one of those musicians that can take a bluegrass band to another level. Darrius is a team player, cheering for and supporting his fellow band members.”

Flowers hopes to start a recording studio with the grant money and one day, open his own radio station.

Where does the talented music maker aim to be in ten years? “I see myself playing, producing music, and songwriting,” he stated confidently.

Remember the name Darrius Flowers, his music will continue to bloom.

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About the Author

Sandy Hatley

Sandy Chrisco Hatley is a free lance writer for several NC newspapers and Bluegrass Unlimited magazine. As a teenager, she picked banjo with an all girl band called the Happy Hollow String Band. Today, she plays dobro with her husband's band, the Hatley Family.