Let's assume we are sitting in a record executive board room...just you, me, and the record label. Now let's assume I bring up the idea of writing my own biography; you know, just to give a little more personal insight into the whole matter. At that point, a strange silence may be observed and then the soft nudges of encouragement away from such an idea. Excuses such as having a third-party writer helps provide objective critique and effective prose may ensue. To me though, I feel the biography is a bit of an opportunity for an artist to connect to not only managers, AR executives, promoters, and agents, but also to the people who, day in and day out, roll the windows down and turn the radio up with my tunes pumping through the speakers. So with that in mind, here it is, the Cliff Notes version (or at least my best attempt at one) of my biography:
From the time I was six years old, the piano took hold of my heart. Well, not at first, but as with wine, it fermented my soul and made it sweet to the very essence of who I am. My aunt and mom were the first to lay down the law and "strongly encourage" me to take up the art of piano. For the first two years, I did everything I could to stray away from practicing and performing. You could not have paid me enough (whether in US dollars or double Stuf Oreos) to play the piano.
However, upon the dawn of shifting to a new piano teacher, a new light entered my life: jazz. My new teacher, and dear friend, took it upon his shoulders to couple classical training with a new sound that vibrated the very depths of my musical soul. He structured my mind to not think of the piano as a burden, but as an opportunity of expression, art, and joy. Over the next 14 years, the paradigm shift pushed me over the ledge and into the beginnings of my musical journey as it stands today.
Fast forward to my second semester at Taylor University, a small liberal-arts school located in the heart of corn fields, fresh air, and seclusion. It was there that I began to pen my first original songs. As I look back on those tunes, which were released on a record no longer in circulation due to my own choosing, I realize now that those were the crawling days of my musical development. I performed as much as was possible given a full school schedule studying sport management and accounting. However, I was maintaining what I now know to be a erroneous perspective of the music industry: that it was all about "me" and that I needed to utilize all resources and people possible to get from point A to point B as fast as possible.
As that perspective left me thirsting for many years, it was the fall of 2011, after a year of marriage with my wife, Amy, that everything changed. A first grade teacher and a heart of gold, my wife happened to stumble upon the realization that she was teaching the daughter of a successful artist and producer, John David Webster. At her parent-teacher conference, she handed him my old record and asked if I could reach out to him at his studio here in Indianapolis, IN. I can still remember that first meeting, an awkward meeting of sorts, as he didn't know what I was looking for and, to be honest, I didn't know either. So we determined to have breakfast once a week to start the process of changing my perspective of music and the goals I have with it.
From that process came my first legitimate EP, The Fallout, a collection of four songs written amidst the backdrop of a new outlook on life and music. Recorded at the Quad Studios in Nashville, TN, the record lays out my feelings on topics such as love, justice, and hurt. The record was a dramatic shift from a "me" perspective, to a perspective of being relational with everyone I interact with (other artists, managers, fans) and uplifting their gifts and encouraging them along the way. It's funny how thinking of others first somehow becomes so addicting, so enticing, so enjoyable that I've even had managers of acts I promote ask why I do what I do. Four years ago I would have said, "I do it for me". Today, I would say I do it to see others' art uplifted, to see others (whether the act I play with or the audience I interact with) connect with music, to see the metaphorical flame light up a room and set the world on fire to drop what you are doing and start changing the world with whatever gift(s) you find you have. I think you'll find once you start living for others, you'll go further than you ever thought possible on your own.
Since the records' release in late 2012, I have had the privilege of opening up locally for the likes of Sixpence None the Richer, Andrew Belle, Green River Ordinance, Phil Wickham, Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors, Andy Davis, and many others. In the fall of 2013, it was my honor to provide direct support for Jon McLaughlin as he toured to cities like Chicago, St. Louis, NYC, Philly, and DC to promote his release, Holding My Breath.
My second official project, Entropy of the Heart, comes out in pieces throughout late 2014/early 2015, and I am excited to share the future with you!