How did this new album and overall concept for it come about, and what are your ultimate goals with it?
The theme came about intrinsically. I wanted to talk about history – the stuff we are all made out of. We are made up of our individual history but also our collective history. Bound by History is about being strengthened and encouraged by your past as well as cautioned. Every step we take needs to be a step forward and you can only step in the right direction if you know where you’ve already been. This goes for the self and it certainly goes for humanity. My goal for the album, is to have many ears listening in and hopefully enjoying the journey with me.
What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of recording a new album?
As with any massive undertaking where you don't want to compromise on production, there are multiple hurdles. Finance is the first obstacle and the nature of finance inevitably limits time and unfortunately limited time maximizes stress and forces compromises. But as an artist out there on your own it's an uphill journey but it's important to remember that any hill worth climbing is worth the obstacles you face on the way up.
How would you describe what inspires you to do what you do?
I draw on everyone and everything around me. Like anyone else I am subject to my sensibilities and I cannot help but react to any injustice, unfairness, cruelty and denigration that I witness. I use my writing as my right of response :)
What are you most proud of at this point in your life and career?
Outside of my music, I am most proud of my family, especially my two beautiful children who are artists in their own right. They are filmmakers (Harvey House Productions) and beyond talented. They have always urged me forward with their support and now here I am, on my third album and they have been here, encouraging me since the first!
What elements do you look for in a song that makes it especially satisfying for you to perform?
I am compulsively drawn to strong, meaningful lyrics and when matched to a well-constructed melody, I get really excited. It’s that moment when it all comes together and the only thing left is to sing your heart out.
What’s your favourite charity or cause you work for, and why?
I support a number of charities, but I will say that the Royal Flying Doctors are a personal favourite. Australia is far and wide, and what would we do without our brave, and generous doctors making sure that our rural country folk are not without the same care as the rest of us.
At what point in your life did you make the decision to become a professional musician and actually record your own albums?
Since the moment I touched a piano AND I haven’t stopped. I’ve written songs that cover the span of a lifetime. However, it was only in 2005 that I found the guts and the funds to produce my own work. I had to wait for technology to catch up with self-funding. Now, its here – and golly gosh you won’t stop me now!
What would be the most important piece of advice you’d impart to a young musician just starting out in the jazz/smooth jazz arena?
Find your sound. Be unique and let the rest of the world catch up with you. Take advice from people you respect but make sure that the advice sits true in your heart. Know there will be challenges along the way and every step you take along your journey is life changing, you should never falter and always be defined by who you are right now.
What do you see as the biggest challenges to the growth of Smooth Jazz in the future?
Ahhh good question. From my point of view it’s about getting heard. We need more platforms like Smooth Jazz getting the sounds out to the masses and offering the alternative to mainstream radio. Or we just need to get more soul and jazz artist’s on to mainstream radio. Lets go for the chicken and the egg.
What would your top “desert island” classic albums be, regardless of genre… the albums you turn to time after time for your own personal enjoyment and inspiration?
Earth Wind and Fire – best of! If you’re on a desert island you might as well be dancing.