Toneworld’s music journey started in church, led him to the Grammy’s red carpet

Orlando native is a multi-platinum record producer with 3 Grammy nominations, a Telly Award

ORLANDO, Fla. – Three-time Grammy nominee, Telly Award-winning producer, songwriter and composer Marvin “Toneworld” Hemmings Jr., is no stranger to Orlando. In fact, he grew up here.

His love for music came at a very young age. His journey started with family.

“I got my start in church,” Toneworld said on the set of Riff On This. “My grandmother and grandfather had a church and I grew up there. They would let me beat on the drums until it started sounding good.”

He added that he then went on to play the piano and guitar. Eventually, he researched producing and found his niche.

The Evans High School grad continued to pursue his passion for music experimenting with producing. Toneworld also started playing gigs with his good friend Philip Martin.

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“He (Martin) was like, ‘Let’s make a record,’” Toneworld said. “I was all in. I was like, ‘Let’s do it, but I don’t have the gear.’”

That’s when his friend suggested they go buy it. In fact, Toneworld said Philip bought the computer and the gear in exchange for payment to make the record.

The duo found out quickly the process wasn’t easy.

“I was literally doing everything wrong, but it taught me. That was my school.,” Toneworld said. “I had to troubleshoot everything I had done wrong and I learned a lot along the way”.

After the album was complete, Martin was L.A.-bound, determined to play the music they had created to record executives.

Toneworld in studio. (Marvin Hemmings Jr.)

“He called me and was like, ‘Bro, we got the deal!’ And I was like, ‘What?’” Toneworld said. “My first record got a deal, they were a start-up label, but they were connected to Sony or something like that.”

He was only 18 years old at the time.

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“It was one of those things where we were just like, ‘Let’s try it’ and it turned into something,” Toneworld said.

Toneworld and Martin have done ten records together over the years.

Toneworld hard at work in the studio (Marvin Hemmings Jr.)

Now, the multi-platinum record producer has had the privilege of working with a variety of artists like Justin Bieber, Kirk Franklin, Jessie J, William McDowell and Brandy among others. Toneworld even produced seasons three and four of the TV series Empire and also worked on the show STAR.

In 2021, Toneworld produced the hit “There She Go” for Justin Bieber’s multi-platinum record, Justice Triple Chucks Deluxe, which received eight Grammy nominations, including Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album.

Toneworld alongside a fellow producer KCdaproducer at the 2022 Grammy Awards Ceremony. Toneworld produced “There She Go” for Justin Bieber’s multi-platinum record, Justice Triple Chucks Deluxe, which received 8 Grammy Nominations in 2022, including Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album. (Marvin Hemmings Jr.)

Just last year he was called to produce the score for the box office hit “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” The movie celebrates the life and music of one of the greatest R&B pop vocalists of all time, Whitney Houston.

Hear more about Toneworld’s incredible musical journey and who he has had the honor of working with since “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” on the latest episode of Riff On This. The interview is full of wow moments you don’t want to miss.

About the Author:

Emmy Award Winning Meteorologist Samara Cokinos joined the News 6 team in September 2017. In her free time, she loves running and being outside.