How did this new album and overall concept for it come about and what are your ultimate goals with it?
Music at least for me has always been about exciting the senses. When I write a song, itís a lot like cooking, in that you combine all these ingredients and spices and they mingle together. The aroma hitís the air and wow your senses come alive! Each song is like a dish from a different part of the world and collectively the album should take you on a journey and arouse your senses, thatís how it was with Wonderland.
What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of recording a new album
Itís got to be finding new sources of inspiration. That one thing that moves you enough to want to write about it. With me, itís all about emotion. The song should create a mood, exhilarating, sad, sexy, happy. Thatís what music creates. Try watching a sad movie. During the tearing scene and hit the mute button. Itís no longer sad. So finding that constant source is hard. Itís never about trying to top the last album but trying to create a new journey.
Who would you say has been the single biggest influence in your life in getting you to where you are now in your career?
My wife Carla. You know when youíre a kid nothing seems impossible. Your going to go out and conquer the world and when reality and everyday obligations set in, those dreams have to be put on hold. Fast forward to 2007. I met Carla and one day we were going through some boxes of my music and I put in one of my old tapes. She looked at me and said, ďwhy are you not doing this?Ē So with her love and support we put together a studio and well her I am.
What in your life outside of your music drives you in a creative sense?
I love to cook. When I talk about my music, I often reference it to cooking. Iíve always thought that music and food are connected. That they bring people together and for that brief moment, everyone is happy and enjoying each others company. I donít care who or where your from, everyone enjoys good food and good music. They are one of the few things that bond us as human beings.
What aspect of the creative process from concept to market do you personally find to be the most rewarding?
I would have to say the production and the recording process. Since I was a kid Iíve always had a fascination with this. Iím a real gear head. I love the way different preamps add a character to the sound or the way a reverb adds space and color. Again, itís like cooking. Adding different spices to achieve an ultimate flavor. Of course, none of this means squat without a great song but I do enjoy the art of recording.
What is the most important piece of advice youíd impart to a young musician just starting out in the jazz/smooth jazz arena?
Know your instrument and know it well. Thereís a lot of competition out there and with recent advances in the computer technology, every kid imaginable has some kind of studio in their home and a way to get it out there. Also, be original. Find your flavor. There is so much music out there that sounds the same, so try and make it unique. When someone hears your original work, they will go wow, cool jazz! Something different will get them to notice you and you will stand out.