I noticed on your website that you started out performing at church. How did you make the jump into Led Zeppelin, Bad Company and Van Halen?
While playing in the church was a starting point for me, I enjoyed all kinds of music from an early age. Music has the capacity to speak to soul and hard rock has always resonated with me. I love songs on the guitar, so I was naturally drawn to the bands mentioned above.
Has music always been a passion?
Absolutely! I remember singing at my music concert in 4th grade and loving being on stage and singing with all my heart.
What’s your songwriting process like?
I usually work on several song clips at the same time. I save my song ideas to my iPhone and when I play through the samples, a feeling of the song usually inspires the lyrics. I spend a lot of time making sure the lyrics match the tone of the music. I also try to write lyrics that reflect how I feel and hope this inspires the listener.
What is your intention when you create and perform?
I just want to connect with real people and create a positive experience for everyone involved. I love to meet people and hear about their life. This is the best part of the live performance.
Please talk about For Each Other and its upcoming release.
The EP contains songs that I’ve written and recorded over the past year. The title song “One for the other”Is to be a positive influence and support for those around us. The world has been through such a difficult time and there are so many people who have been affected by the pandemic. I hope if I was in need that a nice person would lend a helping hand – that’s what I try to do in my life. Bring a message of positivity and hope for all.
What made you choose Sarah McLachlan Sweet surrender cover?
It was a song that I have always loved – in fact, it was one of my favorite songs to sing along with in my car. When I was planning on releasing new music, my A&R at Juel Concepts asked me to make a playlist of the top 10 songs I liked and what I liked about each. Among the most anticipated rock songs was the Sweet Surrender gem, which was super different for me, less expected. Naturally, when we started looking for songs to cover, we revisited the playlist and felt that the motivation and message of “Sweet Surrender” matched the message of my EP. When we were together in the studio, we toured it and immediately thought it was an unusual piece. My producer, Paul Fig, often worked with Vincent Jones who is Sarah McLachlan’s musical director and he came to define the main lines and R&B artist, Jessica Childress, also sang the backing vocals on it. I’m so happy with the way it came out and hope others will like the remake of this amazing song.
Knowing that it was recorded under unusual circumstances; during the pandemic, did this influence any of your own compositions?
Yes, a lot of songs have been directly influenced by the pandemic. “Fear Be Gone” is one of those songs. It is about the desire to return to better times, times of freedom and times when people could all be together to celebrate life! The chorus is a proclamation and I love the strength of the words in this song!
I understand that you are a daddy and a “big guy”. Please talk about the impact this has on your job and what it means to you to be a parent and a grandparent.
Having kids is an amazing learning experience – and I’ve had a lot (kids and learning experiences)! You quickly realize that parenting is brutally difficult. Trying to impart wisdom and share values with little people who don’t always appreciate hearing what you have to say is frustrating. Frustration makes everything more stressful, but ultimately parenting is a lesson in sacrifice, unconditional love, and letting go. Now that my kids are having kids, I can sit and smile while my kids say things like, “Daddy, how did you treat the four of us and how did you have the means to take us all to? Disney World and… ”
Although I am shocked at how quickly my children have grown, I am so thrilled to have grandchildren now. Honestly, I feel too young to play this role (I’m 29 on my mind) so I love doing all the fun things I did with my kids again with my grandkids, Lana and Finn. My granddaughter, Lana, is the one who started calling me big dude. There’s nothing better than hearing, “hey big man,” from little Lana. My take on the big guy is someone who is always there to shake things up and get going. I’m not a traditional grandparent in that I fly a motorized paraglider, ride a two-stroke KTM 300 through the desert mountains, and dive off the cliffs of Lake Mead. The day I can no longer do these things, I will probably become “grandfather”, but it is miles from my mind.
You recently drove across America to see your family, how was the road trip?
Crazy fun! Morgan, our youngest daughter, made the NCAA D1 Volleyball Championship playoffs this year and since it was her senior year, my wife Heather and I decided to leave to support her and her team (U of Texas) . Las Vegas across the country following her to the playoffs in Omaha, Nebraska. From there we went to Chicago to see our eldest daughter McKenzie, her husband Sean and our two grandchildren. It was a wonderful family trip.
Does your music heal you and the listeners?
Music for me is the best therapy ever! I believe that music has a way to heal hearts and minds. It has helped me through some very painful times in my life and I hope that will be the case for those who listen to my music.
Does your music reflect your own evolution?
Absolutely yes! My music is always about something that I feel or see in my life, in our culture and as I grow mentally and spiritually my songs reflect what I feel and experience as a human on planet Earth.