Sista Otis & Duke "Poppa Duke" Tinnes
The smile on Duke Tinnes’ face lights up at the mention of his daughter's name, although it is not the name he had given her at birth. And amongst musician friends, he will often introduce himself in this fashion. "Hi, I’m Duke Tinnes, you may know of my daughter Sista Otis?"
The unconventional name came about after a gig at a smoky Philadelphia speakeasy. Marie Tinnes had finished her set at the bar and was having drinks with a few fans. One fan was inspired by the Otis Redding song playing on the radio. "Girl, with a soulful voice like yours, you should call yourself Otis,” the fan said. “They will never forget a girl named Otis."
She liked the idea and her new name stuck.
Now living in Myrtle Beach, Duke Tinnes and his wife Mary Ann have settled at the coast after his retirement from General Motors in 2001. The couple has watched their daughter blossom with music since she hit the road with guitar in hand at the age of 19. Now 29, Sista Otis has performed all over the country and played with and inspired many musicians.
"I’m the type of person who believes that your kids should take their own path," he said, referring to his daughter's path to a music career. "But you would hope that they’ll take more of a stable path than music."
During his younger days, Duke Tinnes had hopes of playing music in bands. The responsibilities of caring for a family kept him from realizing his passion on a grander scale. "There was always music playing in our house," Sista Otis said about her younger days. "To me, writing songs and playing instruments, I thought that’s what people did."
Inspired by his daughter’s recent success, Duke Tinnes has returned to his musical roots. He can be seen at many local open mics and jams in Myrtle Beach performing original songs and covers of the songs from his Detroit youth. "I can’t say that I’m unhappy with my life, and I’m thrilled with what I’m doing now."
Fame and recognition are not one of the elder Tinnes' goals. "Things have come around," Sista Otis said about her parents. "I’m really happy and grateful for the sacrifices they made. It’s really cool to see him do what he’s passionate about again - to play music."
Myrtle Beach singer/songwriter Duke Tinnes and his daughter Sista Otis perform a song together for Common Chords.
Singer/songwriter Sista Otis performs her son "Love is Spiritual" for Common Chords.
Myrtle Beach singer/songwriter Duke Tinnes performs his song "Every Drop of Rain" for Common Chords.
Sista Otis will be performing October 21st at Hard Rock Cafe in Myrtle Beach.