TLA is a hip-hop group comprised of three emcees, a female vocalist, and a four piece band consisting of keys, drums, bass, and guitar.

TLA is not your standard three letter acronym. The brainchild of the group's founder, who goes simply by T, and Sean McDermott, who is also the lead guitarist of local rock band Pater Familias, TLA is a hip-hop group comprised of three emcees, a female vocalist, and a four piece band consisting of keys, drums, bass, and guitar.

The group is a recent arrival to Ashland.

"It was really weird the way it all sort of came together," T said as he fiddled with various knobs and faders on a MIDI device used to chop and sample various loops. "Sean and I had discussed performing some of the songs we had been working on together for quite awhile, but it wasn't until I actually got out and engaged the scene that we were able to put this thing together."

The band consists of an eclectic mix of musicians who on the whole consider themselves audio junkies of the most hopeless variety.

The group's lead emcee and producer T has been rhyming and producing tracks since he was 14, currently 26 this man has plenty of experience under his belt.

"I've always loved music," he said. "Although I've never been able to really play an instrument, somehow I can write and arrange music — I'm a bit of an anomaly I think."

McDermott, originally from Bend. came to Southern Oregon University in 2006 with the sole intention of crafting his love of music into a workable career. A music business major, McDermott plays not only guitar, but also piano, drums, and the trumpet.

McDermott said he helped found TLA "to expand upon, and experience a style of music [he] never got around to fully embracing in the past."

Originally from Montana, Jotham Porzio, the group's man on the keys, is a hip-hop addict and avid producer, regularly crafting new and innovative beats implementing live recordings.

"After Jotham came on board," T said. "It really took a lot of the production load off of my hands and allowed me to concentrate on writing which is why I got into music in the first place."

Dilan Danha, TLA's bass man hails, from the Kurdistan region of Iraq and traveled to the United States to escape sectarian violence and pursue his education at Southern Oregon University. Recently Dylan switched his major to music and has taught himself how to play the drums and bass guitar.

Danny Quilici, the group's drummer, is a communication/film major from San Jose who recently joined the crew.

"Coming from a metal rock background, the idea of playing organic hip-hop music was very appealing," says Quilici.

The band's singer Milisa Childress is a native of Medford who has lived in the area her whole life. An actress, she has been performing since she was a child and has taken part in dozens of theatre productions.

"Whether theatre or music," she said, "performing has made me feel lit up since I was five years old. A lot of my favorite memories are on stage."

The group's two other emcees, Patrick Monroe and Gordosha have been rhyming with T for the last three years.

The three met in the dorms at SOU and clicked immediately. Gordosha has been listening to rap music since he was four and his lyrics are influenced by his life growing up poor in rural Oregon and the music that helped him get through the tough times.

"We're definitely socially conscious, but a lot of it is spoken on through the context of individual experience," T said. "I guess you could say we're just products of our environment."

For more information on TLA visit the group's web site at www.myspace.com/tlahiphop.