Smooth Artist Interviews
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?
The advice I would give is the same advice and encouragement that I wish someone would have given me when I was younger. Specifically, in addition to practicing hard and becoming proficient on their instrument(s), I would recommend building the self-confidence to put yourself “out there” and be outgoing, despite the internal voice that says “I’m not good enough yet”. Also, learn everything you can about digital marketing and spend as much time self-marketing as you do practicing, recording and performing.
What’s your favorite charity or cause and why?
In addition to several Christian charities and missions, I really like to support Smile Train. There are thousands of children born with cleft palate and other facial deformities through no fault of their own. Without the relatively easy surgeries that Smile Train provides, these kids would have a very difficult life, with difficulties eating, speaking, and of course being ostracized by society. I found out about this charity from my sister, who spent her entire career as a Speech Therapist.
What are some of the most important goals you have for yourself in the next five to ten years?
Within the next 5-10 years, my goal is to be a full-time jazz musician who tours the world and shares the stage and studio with the other elite artists and producers I look up to (namely, the household names in Smooth Jazz!).
At what point in your life did you make the decision to become a professional musician and actually record your own music?
I started playing piano at age 6 or 7, and then started on saxophone at age 10. When I was in about 9th grade, I decided I wanted to be a rock star! I joined a rock band in college and we wrote and recorded our own music over a 20-year span, but we all had day jobs, too. I always pined to go after music full-time and be a recording and touring group. After the band days ended, I got serious in 2004 about writing and recording my own material. In 2016, I decided to devote my attention exclusively to the Smooth Jazz realm and have been working on establishing a solo career ever since.
How would you finish this sentence? “I don’t like to go a day without_________?
Exercise! In addition to music, I was an athlete in college and I’ve been active my entire life. I’m an avid cyclist and I’ve done a number of triathlons, marathons and organized bike races and events, the longest of which was 210 miles in one day. I love to ride my bike and go fast!
If you were to choose to learn a new instrument that you’ve never played before, what instrument might that be?
I’ve dabbled on guitar, bass guitar, clarinet and flute and I’d love to have time to become proficient on guitar and bass just to help me in my song writing process. I’d also love to learn how to play drums for the same reason. But to be honest, I feel like I need to get much better on my main instruments, which are saxophone and piano!
Who would you like to collaborate with musically, recording or performing live?
It would be the fulfillment of a dream to meet Donald Fagen and collaborate, record, or perform with him. Ditto with Dave Koz – he’s such a great performer, marketer, and collaborator! I’d also like to work with some “A-list” producers to help me elevate my music. I was very fortunate to meet Adam Hawley and be able to work with him on my “Skyline” album.
What inspires you to do what you do?
I love the creative process and collaborating with other great musicians. It’s fun and rewarding to take an initial song idea and then be inspired to bring it to life and turn it into a tangible song that other people from all around the world can hear and hopefully enjoy.