Life dealt Terrence Groom a tough hand. The gay, HIV- positive, recovered drug addict has been in and out of jobs and relationships and been denied by his family, but after spending two years getting his head out of his proverbial butt, life handed him a ukulele — and instead of just surviving, he’s begun to thrive.
Groom, also known as his busker pseudonym Tee Jay and his Amazing Blazing Ukulele, is just beginning his second season on Victoria’s best outdoor live music venue otherwise known as Government Street, but he is quickly becoming a fixture on the scene. With just over a year’s practice under his belt, Tee Jay is ready to give back to the community support group that has helped him so much since his diagnosis seven years ago by being a feature performer at Dining Out For Life, Thursday March 29.
More than 30 restaurants across the city will donate 25 per cent of food bills to AIDS Vancouver Island. Tee Jay is performing three sets (5, 7, and 9 p.m.) at the Ledge in the Bedford Regency Hotel and donating all proceeds to the cause.
“AVI has done so much for me,” says Tee Jay. “I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without them.”
Tee Jay is a regular beneficiary of AVI’s lunch program. “It’s been a God send for me over the last year,” he says. “I can go there and get a complete fortified meal.”
Tee Jay is also ready to release his first CD Better Here Than Nowhere March 31 at a private party at Abkhazi Garden. Better Here Than Nowhere features 18 covers from classic rock to pop and everywhere in between. The CD will be available at Lyle’s Place and anywhere Tee Jay is busking. He starts out each day at noon at Bastion Square, then moves slowly down Government Street to the Visitor Information Centre. He’s also trying out a new spot in James Bay at Menzies and Simcoe.
“I want to inspire people to stretch out and find your voice. What ever you want is there for you, you just have to reach out and grab it.” M
Dine Out for Life
Thursday, March 29
Tee Jay and his Amazing Blazing Ukulele at the Ledge Lounge
at 5, 7 and 9 pm