EWU alumnus pursues his dreams


By Rebekah Frank

Small produces music in various genres, including hip-hop, rap, rock and country. Image courtesy Dominique Small

When students order drinks at Tawanka Beverage, Bakery and Bistro, they are probably unaware that their barista, Dominique Small, has a few hidden talents.

Small graduated from EWU in August 2013 with a marketing degree and a decent reputation as an artist. While at Eastern, Small produced his own music as well as the music of two other Eagles, Cameron and James Fleming. He plans to move to Seattle, with hopes of producing music professionally.

Small started making music in the eighth grade with a $15 microphone. His main genres are hip-hop and rap, but he also has produced some rock and country. He said his sound quality was not the best at the time, but he still enjoyed making it.

Small came to EWU winter quarter 2010 and got a job at the Guitar Center in Spokane in 2011. Piece by piece, he used his discount at the Guitar Center to build himself a recording studio.

“It is tough to get the good quality unless you have the resources to do it,” said Small.

Small said it took him about five to six months to build his studio so he could get the sound quality he was looking for. He then used his studio to record his songs with both live and computerized instruments.

“It’s cool. You just build it all and stack on sound after sound after sound until you have a song,” said Small.

In his studio, he writes and produces his own music. Each song takes him about a week to produce. “My goal is to make it radio quality,” said Small.

Small also uses his studio to help produce songs for his friends. He works with Cameron and James Fleming to create music. Small says he would like to do it professionally some day.

Cameron Fleming, who is a junior, says Small is very helpful when it comes to producing music. “He’s great to work with. He is open to try things, which is super nice, especially making music,” said Cameron Fleming.

“There’s so many artists I’ve found that are really talented, but they don’t have the ability to find a studio and to actually record. Almost all of them, when you ask, ‘You’re really good, have you ever recorded?’ They’re like ‘No, I don’t even know where to start.’ That’s what I would like to do,” said Small.

After he is done in the studio, Small occasionally performs his music live, usually at Rokko’s Teriyaki, which is owned by David Hall. Small has performed at Rokko’s a handful of times and has also had gigs in Spokane at the Knitting Factory and the A Club.

“I think it’s fabulous. I think he is probably one of the most talented people around. … All of the stuff he does is probably the best stuff. I’ve seen probably 300 or 400 artists in my life, and he is as good as anybody I’ve ever heard,” said Hall.

If one goes into Rokko’s Teriyaki, they will most likely hear Small’s music playing. Hall said they are playing Small’s new CD and are usually playing his online songs too.

Hall said that Small has the whole package: his rapping, his ability to go beyond rap, his writing, his charisma and his stage presence are all excellent. Small even uses the knowledge he learned during his time at Eastern to help his music.

“He uses his marketing skills, and his ideas on how to market are fabulous,” said Hall.

On and off the stage, in and out of the studio, Small is a nice guy. “He is soft spoken, the kind of guy you want to listen to. … He is a great guy to be around,” said Hall.

Small’s music is on SoundCloud under the username HolidayHipHop.