Thanks, Dad

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(me and my brother in our snazzy 90’s clothes…so snazzy)

A few years before I was born my dad was in a rock band. They were gaining steam fast in the late 80’s. Extreme opened for them (Yes, the guys that sing “More Than Words”). In 1985, at the height of their success, my dad shelved his rock-and-roll dream when he found out my mom was pregnant with me (surprise, daddy, raaaaagh!!). When I was only a few years old, I’d hear him playing in his room and listen, entranced by the sounds his acoustic guitar made and wondering what the songs he was singing meant. Even when I was little, I always was so curious as to what things meant…especially the words that I didn’t understand to the songs my dad sang.

When I was about 12 my parents divorced. (The song I sent you “When Hearts Approach the Great Divide” was written about this time in my life.) This was right around middle school when kids are all self-conscious and mean to one another so it was a pretty unpleasant era of my life. Middle school is already a challenging time for kids with self-esteem and everything but being an introvert and a little strange and then having my parents separate made it a very disorienting time. I felt lost. I struggled with depression, anxiety and soon found myself the subject of bullying. I tried to be cool, to dress like the popular kids, but I just didn’t get it. Sometimes I’d sit in my room and write or just play my guitar and it would help me find my little safe world where I didn’t have to deal with people. But I’m glad I went through what I did. It helped me understand suffering and not to take certain things for granted and to not treat people the way I was treated. I myself when I was younger had participated in bullying and this experience made me ashamed of it.

So what did I learn from my early years? I learned that despite struggles I’ve dealt with in my life, I’m blessed to be able to create music. Not everyone in the world has this opportunity. My own father dropped his dream in a heartbeat because he wanted to make sure I had roof over my head. So right now I have the opportunity to make a living with my music because of that. And almost every time I turn on the radio every new artist just seems to be all style and no substance. They can sing and dance sure, but what is their music about? What are they saying? What creeds and beliefs they are passing onto the world? Where is the storytelling aspect of songwriting that used to influence people? Where are the Bob Dylans? Joni Mitchells? Jimi Hendrixes?…Where is the music that makes you examine yourself and ask questions? Where are the songs that tell stories? It seems at some point in the early 2000’s the most important part of music vanished…the meaning and the lyrics….so I want to dedicate myself to preserving that in my own music. I feel like more artists should realize how much of a blessing and opportunity it is to make music and to take care in choosing what we sing about rather than only care about the production value, the number fans you can make and what brand name clothes you’ve got on. My struggles taught me that the things most important in this world are not things. I want my music to reflect that.

PS – Sometimes it’s a bit surreal to think I was just a scraggly teenager strumming chords on my acoustic in my bedroom dreaming of being on stage and now I’m touring the U.S. releasing my own albums and making a living out of this. I’ve worked with Paul Simon, met John Mayer, shared stages with huge acts, gotten featured on radios and blogs across the country…..but the best part about all of this is getting to know people like you. The fact that you are reading this right now means so much to me. I can play music all day long and write stories and lyrics all day long, but if there is no one there to listen, connect and share with, what’s the point? The driving force behind what I do is YOU: to share my songs and ideas with you, get your feedback and hopefully meet you at a live show someday! So in short, you reading this, you taking the time to sign up to my email list means so much to me and you and you alone allow me to have a career.

If you’d like listen to my first album, click here to listen “Second Stories”.

Thank you so much for being a part of this and for making this matter.