Tyrone or Ty Alexander is also known as Ty Alexander Huynh (pronounced "Whin"). His family was part of the first wave of Vietnam War refugees in 1975 after Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) fell. Vietnamese culture was not a large part of his childhood, though, as his family quickly adopted Western and American lifestyles. He considers himself to be a typical Urban American Midwesterner after growing up and spending most of his life in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis & Saint Paul, Minnesota).
Unlike Asian culture, cooking and Vietnamese food were a large part of Tyrone Alexander's life. His mother is a great cook and his family opened the first Vietnamese restaurant in Minnesota during the early 1980's. His parents' restaurants are now long gone, but his family continues the tradition in food with his brother's career as a chef running his own cafe restaurant.
Tyrone Alexander always had a creative side. He spent much time building models and painting figurines in his youth, but he most excelled in creative writing throughout school and college. A high school English teacher even encouraged him to submit a short story to a publisher, but after a rejection and criticism he did not try to publish again for many years, though he continued to enjoy creative writing and dreamed about being an author as he focused on other pursuits.
Tyrone Alexander's scientific, logical side was where he had more studies and success. It didn't inspire him into a career, though, and he didn't even think about going to a four-year college. But his high school counselor encouraged him to apply to the University of Minnesota Institute of Technology because of his good grades.
However, at the time, affording college was a concern because his family had closed all their restaurants and had financial trouble after his mother's divorce. But through the help of his high school counselor, he was able to get into the U of MN with a partial scholarship from the Alan Page Foundation and government grants.
Tyrone Alexander started in the Architecture program since he had experience as a draftsman in residential architecture. However, he quickly switched to Computer Science after realizing his poor marketing skills and mediocre designs would not make him a successful architect. After a few years of success in the computer program, he found some abstract, theoretical concepts in computer science and mathematics too difficult to grasp and decided to switch to Psychology, which was his minor to complement studies in Artificial Intelligence.
Tyrone Alexander was doing well and even made the Dean's List as a Psychology major, but he was far behind schedule for graduation after six years and switching majors so many times. He found that two more years of classes were needed to graduate. The scholarship and grant money also ran out, so after evaluating things, he decided to leave college in 1996 to start a business in graphic design and keep working as a software engineer at his job at the time.
His first career job was in computer software systems engineering and web development, and his first business was in page layout and graphic design. His creative work never took off, though, as he juggled the business and job. The business failed in the first year, but he was able to keep his computer job to pay the bills.
However, after decades of working in computers and only working creatively as a freelance artist and designer on the side, Tyrone Alexander continued to long for a successful, creative career on his own. He found himself stuck in a job he had grown tired of. And even though his job was moving into methods of programming he was not good at, he felt he had to stay because of job security and heavy financial burdens.
In 2008, his life took a dramatic turn as unusual events got him to look closer at the spiritual side of the world. He did not grow up as a Christian or was taught in any spiritual belief system at all, but he accepted there was more to the world than could be explained by science.
Late in 2008, amazing signs and revelations got Tyrone Alexander to believe in Christianity. Despite needing financial security, he was inspired to minister, race motorcycles, and write, so he left his career in 2009 and published his first book at the end of that year, 3rd Compass: Navigating Reality and the Last Days.
It was a Christian memoir and scientific discussion about how we cannot understand the world by looking on the surface alone. In the book he shared the amazing experiences and other testimonies that led him and others to believe in Christ.
Since then Tyrone Alexander became very active as a Christian minister and was ordained in 2015. He also became certified as an End of Life Specialist in 2016 to minister to hospice patients.
It was during his new life as a Christian that music and singing became very important to him. Through making music, he discovered it to be the language of the soul, which conveys emotion much better than words alone. Before this time, Tyrone Alexander had only dabbled in music during high school through general music classes, a keyboard and organ at home, and music software on his computer.
However, he found it impossible to read sheet music and still cannot read it. And much like the advanced concepts in science and math, music theory simply baffles him. These difficulties, as well as a lack of encouragement and inspiration kept him from going further in music earlier in life, much like the lack of encouragement in writing kept him from trying to be a professional writer.
However, in a new Christian life Tyrone Alexander found much inspiration and drive to learn song and music seriously. This new strength with Christ helped him work through the struggles of divorce and feeling trapped and unsuccessful in dead-end jobs and circumstances.
Inspired to learn music, he picked up a cheap acoustic guitar in 2012 and started strumming and singing. It was a struggle to coordinate his hands and voice to the guitar. The difficulties made him remember almost failing a music class in high school and sheet music continued to look like a jumbled mess of symbols. But like Elvis and jazz great, Erroll Louis Garner, who also couldn't read music, the disability didn't stop him from trying to make good music.
Now music, especially traditional Irish Celtic music, is a large part of his life. He fell in love with Irish culture and started learning Irish Gaelic. He often uses Irish and Celtic song and language in his creative writing. His first novel, Aching Prosperity, features a lot of Irish culture and language in its metaphorical Ireland.
Making music has many difficulties for Tyrone Alexander, but he was surprised his 2013 amateur recording of his original song, "My Heart Is In Dublin" won Best Ballad in a monthly music contest. The blessing inspired him to do more with music and reach a worldwide audience with it. Soon afterwards, he started using the stage name Cantaire Dé (pronounced "Kahn-tahr-reh Jay") for releasing music.
After some years with the acoustic electric guitar, Tyrone Alexander added other instruments to convey the melodies of his spirit. His instruments now also include the Irish bodhrán drum, mandolin, and electric keyboard/piano.
Aside from ministry, writing and music, riding and customizing street bikes used to be a favorite past-time for Tyrone Alexander. He toured a lot of back country roads in the United States and Canada on cruiser and sport motorcycles for nearly two decades. He even earned a road-racing certification for motorcycles and raced for three years at Brainerd International Raceway.
Tyrone Alexander is a writer for everyone. In his experiences he found it's difficult to see how much more there is to the world and our place in it, if you're limited to only one or two ways of seeing things. His varied background helps him share experiences that relate to many different types of people no matter where they come from or their level of knowledge.
More about Tyrone Alexander's music can be found at CantaireDe.com