How did music come into your life?
Growing up, my father was always in a band. Every time I went to visit, he and his friends would be in the "jam room" learning a new set of covers or practicing for a weekend run of bar gigs. It wasn't until I was 13 or 14 years old that I started trying to teach myself how to play. My dad showed me a lot, but I’m a bit hard headed and must learn things my own way.
At what age did you know music was your path?
Through grade school and in my early teens/pre-twenties, I was in and out of a couple projects. We opened for a few national acts locally. I did a small nine month tour, with my buddy Adam, but nothing major or exciting. In fact, we were all broke as hell and when college came around, everyone kind of dispersed.
Instead of a bachelor's degree, I started my first company, Flatline Studios and Live Productions, and started working. There were a couple years where I didn't even pick up the guitar at all. Kind of sad to look back on now, but it was worth it. With that first company, I got to go on tour with Comedian Katt Williams as an AV technician. We also did shows for Stone Temple Pilots, Slipknot, Chris Cagel, and a bunch of others. I learned invaluable road/tour knowledge, and insights into professional productions. I wouldn't change that life decision for anything.
It wasn't until January of 2014 that I put my foot down, quit everything, and started concentrating on a solo career as my primary focus and income. I found myself late in 2013 sitting on the porch for hours, completely alone, playing for no crowd and no money; simply because I HAD to. It was that realization; that I could not make a dime, and I would still HAVE to play music to keep my sanity, that made me really push, sacrifice, and pursue this career.
Who are your musical influences?
Oh man, there are so many. I really enjoy ALL types of music from classical to trap. If I had to name three specific influences, they would be Rob Thomas, Tim McGraw, and Dave Matthews.
Are you a self-taught singer/songwriter?
Yes, indeed. Other than a few master classes with Pat Pattison, and some personal coaching sessions on songwriting and composition, I am self-taught all the way around. I find in doing so, you develop your own "uniqueness" for your sound.
At what age did you start touring?
At age 18, I was touring as a tech for a few acts (mentioned above). But as for touring with my personal projects, it was as soon as I was old enough to get into the 21+ clubs. My friend Adam went with me on my first tour when he was only 19. So, it was always an issue: we usually had to say he was the DD (even though he didn't have a license). Good times.
Do you travel with a band or play with a band?
Actually, I travel with a comedian: my good friend Dan Ellison, The Educated Redneck. For bigger shows, I like to use a full band, but the past couple years, Dan and I have been doing our Laughter & Music show. The show is a mix of comedy and acoustic music. In fact, we are doing a show in Charlotte at The Evening Muse on March 25th at 10pm.
I really like to have keys and percussion back me up, but we consolidate our production depending on the budget of the event/venue. Being a solo artist allows me to do this fairly stress free and is a huge sales point for when I pitch to venues we haven't built a relationship with yet. If you are coming to a show that is east of the Appalachians, you can bet I will have at least a few other band members jamming with me.
How many songs have you written and what inspires you?
We have six tracks out for commercial release at the moment, with about another 20 in the production/writing process. I plan on releasing a new EP in March of 2018!! This year is all about videos. There will be a lot of content added to my YouTube and Instagram in the coming months.
I’m inspired by emotion, by traveling, and by the people I meet in this journey we call life. I’m inspired by the light I see in people's eyes when they are talking about someone or something they love. That's what does it for me!
What is in store for the next year or so? Any new music or announcements?! You mentioned YouTube content?
This year is going to be HUGE! We have two Laughter & Music tours lined up. One for spring and one for fall of 2017! I’m also finalizing all the new material for an upcoming release in March 2018. I plan on doing a LIVE acoustic album this summer and videoing the rest of the songs on the future classic EP. The video for “Everything” was delayed, but it is going to be released shortly! What I am REALLY excited about is teaming up with my friend, Ryan Smart, in Seattle, and FINALLY getting to do the One-Take Sessions I have been planning for over a year now!
Wow! That all sound exciting! Looks like there is a lot on your plate for the year already. For those who aren’t familiar, what is a One-Take Session?
The One-Take Session is a concept I started to implement for my videos. I wanted to produce quality videos of performances without the digital trickery or correction you see in fully produced versions. For these videos, all the audio is live and authentic while revealing the entirety of each take by having no edits to the performance. Hence, One-Take as the name for our concept. It really gives an intimate and realistic look into the artist's performance ability and adds a one-of-a-kind uniqueness to each video.
Where can people find your music and other online content?
You can find my music on my website and all of the major online retailers and streaming services. You name it: iTunes, Amazon Mp3, Google Play, Rdio, Deezer, Tidal. Spotify is a great outlet for me, as well as social media like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and especially YouTube!
You mentioned two tours for 2017. Tell us about your favorite performance?
My favorite performance would have to be when the airline asked me to play for the people in first class on my flight to Seattle. It was a once in a lifetime thing, I think. I got to play a private, unplugged show at 30,000 ft. in the air! And they gave me free drinks too (shhhhhh).
It seems you tend to travel a lot! What is life like on the road?
It’s a magical mad house of disappointment and splendid surprise. I have been let down to my wits end, and I have also seen some of the most amazing beauty this country has to offer and met some amazing people in the process. I wouldn't change it for anything!
There is something that happens to you when you live on the road. You start to take on a nomadic mindset. You no longer want to accumulate things, and it's more about what you can give away and how you can help other people. Maybe that is what has happened to society? We have all become unknowingly sedentary and are missing a huge, priceless chunk of the human experience.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In ten years, I would like to have established a substantial passive income from my works and performances; at least enough to sustain a large extended family.
I would also like to have a few other acts under my belt, helping them and others like me with their artist development and career decisions. Possibly manage/book a few different national acts, while I raise my children(disclaimer, I have no children as of yet haha- no time).
Favorite spot in NC? Favorite place to play in the Carolinas?
My favorite city in NC would have to be Asheville. I know it may be cliché to us locals, but I friggin LOVE that town! The beer, the honey, the music; EVERYTHING!
My favorite place to play in NC would have to be The Evening Muse. (considering the Fillmore hasn't been checked off my list yet). It’s a hometown venue that really pushes for ORIGINAL music - no covers; and it’s a small room. The venue is easily filled and the shows are always so intimate and powerful. Not to mention, the owners Don and Laurie are world class and genuine people. They care about the local musicians, their patrons, and the "scene." Love those two!
If you weren't a musician, you would be...?
Dead. Point blank.