As a young Santa Barbara City College student, Davis Velarde caught the eye of the music department faculty early on with his innate ability to lead fellow musicians while behind the drum set.
Recognizing Davis for his musical talent is no surprise considering he took an interest in jazz in middle school and various uncles and cousins are known to be excellent jazz musicians as well.
"He loved the artistic freedom that jazz gave him," his father Edwin says.
Davis liked to push boundaries in music, which helped to make him a positive influence and earn the respect of teachers, fellow students and friends. Through diligence, passion, and dedication he was accepted to the USC Thornton School of Music and Berklee School of Music. Between the two, Davis selected USC.
Beyond his passion for music, Davis had a great sense of humor because the young man was known to friends and family as the "Watermelon Man". It was his favorite fruit and he loved the song by Herbie Hancock.
Although he enjoyed other styles of music as he was a classically trained percussionist and played in a rock band, Davis was known for more than just being a consummate musician. Ask anyone that knew him and you'd hear he was a good friend and generous in spirit as he worked to lift others around him.