Craig Norris Byrd spent most of his formative years in the Gila forest region of southwestern New Mexico. Though raised to be an athlete, he was encouraged to pursue creative writing as an adolescent, and made the move into music and theatre while also feeding a scientific yearning with the study of electronics. Soon he was working sound for local bands while putting poetry to music in private. Hitchhiking to the ‘big cities’ of El Paso, Albuquerque, Tucson and Phoenix, he talked his way into helping set up concert stages in exchange for free admittance.
He was “encouraged” into military service after a brush with law enforcement, and after a year of training in satellite communications repair, he passed a year in the mountains of Korea maintaining communications for a strategic air command battalion. That allowed him to reach an advanced level of accomplishment in martial arts, also providing plenty of time to play guitar, write songs and study religion.
After the active duty hitch, he spent a year in Phoenix getting certified in the construction of stringed musical instruments. He then went back to his hometown and ran into another local musician now known as Elk Thunder. He joined the partnership of the Rocky Mountain Recording Studio while doing legitimate studies in a composite musical, theatrical and visual arts program at the local university. After a few years there, he made a move to ASU in Tempe, AZ to study music, theater and dance and join the fencing team. He kept the stage production work going with a job as technical director of a large road house and crewing for major production companies and venues in the Phoenix valley. He could only take ASU for a year and moved to Sedona then Flagstaff, where he studied arts management, theater and dance while working for the campus classical NPR station as a producer and on-air talent. By the time he left three years later, he was president of the dance club, captain of the fencing team and in the honorary drama fraternity.
The degree program called for an internship in an arts organization, so he applied for and was accepted as a technical intern for Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts. In addition to being his first time in New England, it was an incredibly eye-opening artistic experience. He worked the festival season with world class artistic directors, production managers and lighting designers putting on main stage shows for major dance and performance art companies. He studied the choreographic, production and lighting techniques of the best in the world. This work led to a tour as production manager for a NYC based post modern dance group, Solomons Company Dance. He took this as an opportunity to re-locate to Manhattan.
He free-lanced as a stage professional for a number of years, lighting and stage managing all types of shows in all types of venues. He managed the production of tours and shows for dance, opera and theatre companies, all the while keeping his artistic fire burning by studying modern, ballet and ballroom dance.
This work in the arts world was very satisfying, but not so rewarding financially. He fell back on his technical background and signed on with a company that did high power laser display productions, becoming involved with display work for immense celebrations. He worked on the Times Square ball dropping ceremonies, Independence Day celebrations and installed lasers shooting out over the NYC skyline from the tops of the World Trade Center towers.
When expensive laser shows fell out of favor, he did post-production engineering for a major NYC post house for several years, and then moved to a startup company doing videowall displays. He received recognition from the Audio Engineering Society for a 27 channel technical audio design for the NASDAQ MarketSite. He then moved to a startup digital video development company and was instrumental in the installation of the All-Asia Broadcast Facility (MEASAT) digital content control system in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He was able to further his studies of martial art and ballroom dance during those years, and was known as the top deejay for ballroom dance music in the NYC area. He used those skills to help pay for world class ballroom dance instruction, and achieved a national amateur title as a dancer.
Then the corporate phase began. He was bought, divested, absorbed and acquired for several years as he did lead work on television broadcast systems installations. One job took him to Televisa in Mexico City for 16 months, where he met his wife. Company relocation took him back to New England, where he resided with his wife and two young boys until his job was outsourced. He completed a Masters Certification in Music Business and Technology from Berklee College of Music, and has relocated back to New Mexico to pursue a full time career in the entertainment industry. He will be officially launching as a songwriter in January of 2015.