Smooth Artist Interviews
How did this new album and the overall concept for it come about, and what are your ultimate goals with it?
My goal with Love Life Choices was to create a relatable story for what our country (and the world) has faced this past year. I hope that people can connect to my original songs and find new meaning in the older classics, which are as relevant now as they were when originally composed.
The themes that Love Life Choices encompass:
Love: Symbolic for my love story with my husband. We got married amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, and many of the songs represent our relationship past and present.
Life: Illustrating our collective battle against the Covid-19 pandemic, including the politically divisive times in our country. I included songs symbolic of the lives we’ve lost and the humanity we seem to need more of.
Choices: Given these trying times, we have the power to decide how to respond.
What elements do you look for in a song that makes it especially satisfying for you to perform?
My album has an array of musical genres, yet each song represents something personally to me; I related each song to a particular moment or experience in my life. For a cover song, while understanding the original meaning is always important, finding your own unique meaning is the most crucial. If you don’t believe what you’re singing/ playing, then nobody else will. I try to pick songs that I can tell a story with.
What in your life outside of your music drives you in a creative sense?
In addition to being a musician, I am also a certified yoga instructor and aromatherapist. I start every morning with yoga and use aromatherapy to stay grounded and present. Yoga and aromatherapy supplement my creativity and overall well-being by connecting my mind, body, and soul. Starting the day with deep breaths and connecting to the body has had many benefits for me. Especially in stressful times, I find it essential to connect to the breath and find time to de-stress.
What would you define as the most life-changing event so far in your musical career?
The most life-changing event so far in my musical career was meeting my husband, Jonah, while studying music in college. We were both in the jazz studies program; Jonah was a guitar major, I was a vocal jazz major, and our relationship started as a vocal guitar duo. That musical relationship sparked an emotional/ romantic one; now we’ve been together for six years and married for one. My album Love Life Choices is inspired by our relationship; “Just the Two of Us” was the first song we played together as a duo.
How would you finish this sentence? “I don’t like to go a day without...
...taking a deep breath.”
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?
When I was about 7 years old, I remember going to see Thoroughly Modern Millie on Broadway and being antsy the entire performance. I was upset because instead of being a member of the audience, I wanted to be the one on stage. Soon afterward, my parents signed me up for an acting class which ultimately started my musical career.
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 most significant piece of advice I can give is to stay true to yourself. There will always be competition, but don’t waste time trying to be the next (fill in the blank). Focus on being the best, most authentic version of yourself by honing your craft. Be aware of the competition, but don’t let it dictate where you go or what you do, because. . . “there will never ever be another you.”