Music for making love–slow and sweet. Music for the morning after. Music for the times when you need a reprieve from all else. These are the moments I hope you’ll turn to my music as a source of connection and comfort.
The best American songwriters create tunes that transcend time and space, with lyrics that intimately attach themselves to the lives of listeners far and wide. I try to write songs that cut to the heart and speak with a candor and vulnerability unfound in many American male writers. As with many artists from my generation, I borrow elements from several influences–from R&B to Jazz to Funk to Folk–creating a sound I would call Modern Organic Soul.
Growing up in the heart of Florida’s space coast, I knew from an early age my path in life would be a musical one. I was the grandson of a Baptist preacher, so I was exposed to music early on in the form of gospels and hymns. I was “forced” to study music as a child, so I began with the violin, cello, saxophone and drums before I found the instrument that really made me shine–my voice. I was always more of the quiet type. People were surprised by the soulful voice coming from the shy, white boy.
On the “secular” music front, I wolfed down any edgy piece of pop confection I could get my ears on–probably because it was strictly against my parent’s many rules. I had the privilege of attending a public high school that had a wonderfully rare teacher who was tireless and inspiring. Under her guidance and encouragement, I was exposed to many different styles of music (classical, Broadway, jazz, etc.) and I began winning several awards and honors at the county and state levels.
Now that I had discovered my voice, I found I had a lot to say and had a new venue with which to share it all. At first, I wrote lyrics and melodies to others’ music ideas or tracks. In my senior year in high school, I wrote what would become Astronaut High School’s class song of 1994′s senior class, “Memories”–the first song I had written entirely. This song, and 9 others written with my stepfather, were included in my first independent release, “Soul Songs”.
Resisting my father’s wishes for me to attend Baptist Bible College (like he and his father before him had done), I followed my rebellious heart and moved to Boston to attend the prestigious Berklee College of Music. I had never even been to visit the campus, I just knew intuitively it was the school for me. Thrown into urban life and the veritable melting pot, miles away from anyone or anything I’d known, I was now faced with many new cultures, people, and music. Studying music business and music theory, my sound underwent an overhaul. Still as melodic, rhythmic and vulnerable, I was now able to write all my own music–incorporating many of the jazz chords surrounding my every turn.
Approaching graduation, I had written the material that would lead me back into the studio. I took with me fellow-student musicians, producers, and engineers and recorded my second independent release “Rebirth” with a live band. The songs were sparse, revealing entries in my musical diary of my experiences while attending Berklee.
In the years that followed, I joined the workaday fold, got married, became a stepfather myself, and all but abandoned my musical passions. When that marriage disintegrated, I awoke one morning not recognizing the man described in the paragraphs above. I felt a yearning from the deepest possible depths to reacquaint myself with my truest purpose. I started making strides at bettering my craft again, clearing out the cobwebs, and galvanizing my dreams and sense of wonder. This time my sights are more set on presenting myself in the most musically authentic way possible–with an ever naked heart.
So this is where you find me in my story today–on the precipice of new musical adventures. My hope is you will identify with my music, and get the feeling I did when I first listened to Sade, Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell, Sarah McLachlan, Erykah Badu, Björk or Radiohead. Thank you so much for taking the time to read a bit more about me!