BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) — A Brookings man is living proof that age is just a number. Before retiring in 2014, Tommy Edwin was a soybean researcher at SDSU. Now he has taken his retirement to bring back an old passion of his — music.

For most people retiring marks the end of their professional career, but for 70-year-old Tommy Edwin, his retirement was just the beginning.

“With retirement you kind of find time on your hands. I started paying more attention to my music,” Tommy Edwin, musician, said.

Edwin began writing music and playing guitar on the daily.

After teaching himself a few songs, Edwin decided to try out his music in front of a crowd.

“In 2016, in January, I took it upon myself to go to an open mic that they held here in Brookings at the Wooden Legs. It was a weekly open mic and that I have to say was a great experience because each week you get to go in and do three or four of your songs and you learn how to sing and play in front of people,” Edwin said.

For the next few years, Edwin began playing at multiple venues in Brookings. In 2021 he signed on with JD Talent Agency to take his career to the next level.

“This is a hidden passion that he’s had for years and it’s also a message to other people, young and old that you can do pretty much anything you want to do, you just have to want to do it,” said Mike Dempsey, co-owner of JD Talent Agency.

“Tommy decided no there is something still missing from who I am in my life and this is what it is. He didn’t worry about the fact that he is in the second chapter of his career or the second chapter of his life,” said TJ Just, co-owner of JD Talent Agency.

Since then he has produced a record called Fade to Memory with Bassment Rock Media in Sioux Falls and now plays his music at venues all across South Dakota.

Although Edwin has taken to playing in his 70s he’s always had a love for music.

“When I was young- like a lot of other guys- I had the aspiration to become a musician,” Edwin said.

His father was a pilot in the Air Force and as a result, he and his family traveled all over the world.

“When we got down to Taiwan we met some guys who had musical interests and they said well how about you play drums so I bought a set from a neighbor for 50 bucks and we formed some bands there and played the rest of the time I was in Taipei,” Edwin said.

As they traveled Edwin’s love for music grew, which has carried on to his sound today.

“When those people are playing with their grandkids or fishing along the shoreline, he’s saying no I want to get more out of life, I got something I still want to finish, it’s still a passion within me and he went for it,” Just said.

“Everyone should pursue doing what they love. I think if you get in a lot of trouble if you’re just living life just doing things to pay bills. It might cost you, and it might be hard, but if you can do it, really do it, do it,” Edwin said.

You can find Edwin’s latest single “Empty Chair” on Spotify.