Smooth Artist Interviews
How did this new album and overall concept for it come about, and what are your ultimate goals with it?
In the last five years my life has done a complete 180. I went from the darkest time of my life to life being brighter than I could have even imagined. I feel I'm being redeemed; spiritually, mentally, emotionally and materially. God is good!
What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of recording a new album?
Honestly, it's being patient at the end during the mixing and mastering phase. After I've written and recorded everything I get anxious for the finished product and want to hurry the mixing and mastering. But that's not a good thing. Thanks God for connecting me with Euge Groove. He has been instrumnetal in helping me with that challenge.
How would you describe what inspires you to do what you do?
The fact that God gave me the gifts and I know He has a purpose for me to use them. I appreciate the gifts and do not want to waste them.
What artists do you feel akin to or in the same tribe with?
Kirk Whalum. Because he also is very open about his faith and relationship with God. And of course, we both play sax.
What elements do you look for in a song that makes it especially satisfying for you to perform?
Groove, melody and message.
Of your touring and gigs so far in your career, do any stand out as being particularly memorable or defining moments?
When I was younger I performed and won at Amatuer Night at the Appollo theater in Harlem, NY. It's such an iconic venue. I watched it on TV for years and to perform and win there with original songs multiple times was an amazingly encouraging experience.
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 father. He would not let me quit playing in 6th grade when I dropped out of the band because I had failed the test on Mary Had A Little Lamb. He put me in private lessons and the rest is history.
What in your life outside of your music drives you in a creative sense?
I always look to the Lord for creative energy. All good and perfect things come from Him. He created heaven and all the earth. There is no greater creative energy than Him.
At what point in your life did you make the decision to become a professional musician and actually record your own albums?
When I was 15. I always new and began recording with cassette decks rapping with my friends.
How would you finish this sentence? “I don’t like to go a day without_________?
Telling God Thank You.
Outside of your musical career, what else in your life gets you excited and fulfilled?
My relationship with God and helping others discover Him for themselves.
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?
Enjoy yourself. Make music that brings you joy that you can share with others.
Going back in your life as far as you can remember, what song or performance is the first you recall hearing and being affected by?
The first jazz song I learned to play was "Mr. Bojangles" played by Sonny Stitt. The beautiful melody, his tone and mastery of the horn just captivated me. I believe I was 12 years old.
What’s your favorite non-music activity?
Spending time with my wife and children.
What’s your absolute favorite part of the World, and why?
I love beaches and the ocean. Growing up in Virginia Beach I've just always been near the ocean and love it.
If you were magically allowed to spend an hour with whomever you chose in history… alive or dead… and really be able to get inside their head, who would that be?
Jesus. For obvious reasons.
What’s your favorite charity or cause you work for, and why?
My church, Faith to Faith Abundant Life Ministries. Our mission is to teach and experience the supernatural power of God. Seeing peoples lives change and watching God do supernatural things in peoples lives is amazing. When you see it with your own eyes its undenyable.
What aspect of the creative process, from concept to market, do you personally find to be the most rewarding?
The end. When it reaches the listener and they connect with what you've done, are inspired and enjoy.