It all started with a man and a woman who fell in love. Birds and bees and no more details please! As a result, Michael David Thorsby Jr. was born in 1979. Fast forwarding to the summary of the next 20 years, Michael loved all kinds of creative arts and many genres of music. He spent many years performing in choirs, dancing in show choirs, acting in plays, singing in church, writing poetry, building/engineering creative things, helping with the band, restoring things in an artsy fashion and dabbled just enough to be dangerous in many other areas of creative arts. Somewhere along the lines, in the mid 90’s, a high school friend taught him how to play a few simple chords on guitar. The first songs he learned how to play were from Jewel, Green Day and James Taylor. Odd mix! He used that REALLY raw talent to begin converting his poetry into love songs! It wasn’t pretty! It was sappy and sweet but it would have been much cuter if it was Alfalfa from The Little Rascals instead of the captain of the soccer and track teams! His jock friends were confused because he hung out with the choir, the band, the cheerleaders, the dancers, the jocks, the nerds, the artists, the skaters, the surfers and everyone in between. Instead of picking just one group, he felt led to engage a little with everyone because they each had uniquely creative talents and treasures that he could observe, appreciate and learn from. That led to him knowing a little about everything and a lot about nothin’. Note - That still applies today to help give him a well-rounded, jack-of-all-trades and apostolic-type of anointing. Back to the music... little did he know that writing love songs for the ladies would eventually turn into writing love songs for Jesus! That carried over into college as he led worship on various worship teams in campus ministry, at church, and in a few bands along the way. During his first year of college, his dorm was next to the art building so he had to walk past crazy sculptures outside on a daily basis and engaged with many art students for years to come. He didn’t really understand some of the art (or some of the unique artists) but there was still a healthy appreciation for the creativity. His first few years of college were adventurous to say the least as he invested as much time in the bar and dance club scene as he did the church scene. After all, bartending and dancing were part of the arts too... and even better when mixed together! Yes... he liked the movie Footloose!!! Even though it was a hypocritical season of his life as he was serving two masters, it turned out to be a great experience for future ministry opportunities.
In 1999 (20 years after that glorious baby tadpole race), his life got wrecked by an encounter with God that took him from a season of going through the motions of religion and knowing about God to having a relationship with God that set him on a mission to change the world! He felt the Lord calling him into music ministry which he continues to passionately pursue. He led with many worship teams and bands from that point forward and shifted from just singing songs about God (more on the entertainment side) to singing songs to God (fully engaging in the lyrics like when he wrote love songs). However, he still enjoyed using his God-given talents (and supporting others) for many other genres of music. He managed a roller skating rink and had the privilege of being the DJ quite often so that helped fuel the musical fire. He also used to love shuffle skating, which is dancing and choreography while on wheels, so that was a win-win in the arts world! Even though he was getting his mess right with the Lord and felt convicted to quit drinking for about seven years, he still enjoyed casual bar settings to listen to bands, dance, do karaoke, or even play a few family friendly songs on guitar every once in a while. The diversity paid off as he ministered in various settings over the years. He even won a talent show while working at Disney World among thousands of US and international college student interns by playing and singing an original song to bring home the bacon. The bacon was a $100 gift card to WalMart which was much needed since he basically made minimum wage in an Advanced Management Internship. After leading in many settings for many years for FREE, he understood the struggle of the “starving” artist and hoped to one day be able to find creative ways to help support the creative arts community. The Lord gave him a vision of a Creative Arts VenuE (CAVE) around 1999 and he began drawing up mock plans and dreaming of what it would look like. He had the opportunity to rent and even buy multiple places over the next few years (which he heavily considered) but he felt like the Lord was asking for him to be patient and trust the right timing to present itself. He humbly submitted multiple times but the fire of that vision was burning hot inside of him. Even though he was working a full-time job and essentially doing full-time ministry, his continued to dream about what the CAVE looked like. In 2003 he met an amazing woman named Sara and after four years of courtship while she was in college to be a nurse, they got married in 2007. He shared his vision with her early in the dating stages and jokingly (but kinda seriously) told her that she may have to be his sugar momma for a season once he launches the venue because businesses generally tend to take a few years to bring in income in the beginning stages and they cost a lot of initial start-up money… especially for this type of dream! She somewhat agreed to those terms. Sara had similar past musical experiences with marching band, choirs, various worship teams, crafting and various forms of arts...etc. This was a match made in heaven!!!
In 2009 (10 years later) - After playing in multiple bands and doing solo/acoustic gigs over the years, Michael decided it was time to get his amazingly talented wife engaged more so they officially started the band “Thorsby”. They decided to launch the band as a business to get to ball rolling to build the business structure for the future creative arts venue so Thorsby Jams, LLC (TJ’s) and www.thorsbyjams.com was born. Michael loved working with many of the talented musicians he was able to play with, but it got logistically tough to book gigs, practice together, and travel since they were all in different cities and phases of life. Instead, they booked many acoustic gigs at their convenience and used their platform to bring in guest musicians to spice it up or even do full-band sets depending on the venue. This gave them tremendous flexibility and an opportunity to play with many musicians. However, there’s something special about having a “band” that can practice, compose, and jam together on a regular basis to keep it tight but still have wiggle room for spontaneous expression. That year they also launched their first acoustic album “Thorsby – The Grounded Project”.
In 2013, they launched a full-band version of the album “Thorsby – The Grounded Project II” with a bonus song and also released some singles along the way.
In 2015-2016 – An opportunity came available to partner with a local venue (The Oasis) to utilize the facility two days a week to test the market with a TJ’s CAVE sampler! Obviously there are restrictions when you don’t have full usage of the venue 24/7 and it’s not yours to decorate with crazy artsy stuff but it fulfilled the goal in that season. They intended to go for about six months with just the venue and art/merch store but decided to extend that season to well over 18 months and added a coffee shop as well. TJ’s CAVE brought in a lot of amazing local artists and bands representing multiple genres throughout that time. They hosted monthly Burn 24-7 New Bern events for about a year there which brought in bands from all over to cover 1-2 hour shifts as part of 12 hour continuous worship and prayer gatherings. The last band to play before it closed was a jazz band and that season finished with a full house!!!
In 2017-2018 – The Thorsby band went back in the studio to record some spontaneous worship songs for their third album, which was released in August 2018. They are hoping that through this project, they will be able to take the next steps towards finding and funding the next venue location somewhere in the New Bern, NC area. To be continued…