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Exposed Vocals: So tell us your story. Where did you grow up? What made you decide to become an artist?
I grew up just outside of Coatesville, PA. It's difficult to determine a specific point in time, but music has always been a major part of my life since I was born. I began playing my first instrument, violin, at 9 years old. Once I had a grasp on how to read music, I was able to formally write the musical ideas that constantly popped into my head. Way before picking up an instrument, however, throughout my entire life I've been fueled by a desire to create and to express my ideas. I'm not sure it's entirely possible to choose to become an artist, but we do certainly have control of when or when not to put ourselves fully out there. I've always been an open book.
Exposed Vocals: Since everyone was a start-up once, can you give any smaller or local bands or artists looking to get gigs and airplay some tips?
Work ethic and focus are paramount. Networking is a necessary task. Perhaps the most important focus: be a good person.
Exposed Vocals: Do you ever make mistakes during performances? How do you handle that?
Of course! Mistakes happen, but years of cutting my teeth on jazz gigs and playing in other genres at venues where gear didn't work, or there were electrical problems, or anything else under the Murphy's Law umbrella has shaped me in a massive way to be able to respond and react and turn them into something good. A mistake is only a mistake if you follow it with another mistake. Mistakes are often the catalysts for the most brilliant moments of our lives as creators, if not the brilliant moment themselves. My foundation in classical music embedded the necessity to not telegraph an error to the audience. Practice and experience will give you the polish, but when the inevitable "mistake" surfaces, press on!
Exposed Vocals: Do you tour? Anything interesting happen on tour that you think our readers would enjoy hearing about?
I've been fortunate to make a lot contacts and fans through social media. A decade of bar gigs, corporate events and wedding gigs took me all over. the place After several years of playing regionally and spiraling further outward I've been able to put together a touring network. A handful of times a year I'll travel very far from my current loop. Perhaps the most pivotal moment that I've experienced while touring in the past few years was when I saw a wall in Mexico on the way to play a concert last spring. The graffiti featured the phrase, in English, "Hard Times For Dreamers." That image, and its context, struck me so much, and the conversations that I had while outside the US combined with that impact resulted in my new album: "Hard Times For Dreamers." Inspiration is everywhere, and getting away from what's familiar is one of the best ways to find it.
Exposed Vocals: Any planned studio upgrades? What are you working with now?
That's a dangerous question, haha. I'm perpetually chasing the dragon when it comes to equipment, but I'm putting the brakes on new purchases for a short period. I'm using a Pro Tools HD2 TDM setup and pretty extensive list of vintage and modern outboard gear. A Trident 24 or an API desk to replace my current console would be pretty sweet...
Exposed Vocals: How do you find ways to promote your music? What works best for you?
Understanding how to use the way that each social media platform functions to make an impact has been helpful, but the same thing that has always worked is still the best: grass roots, word-of-mouth promo and focused advertising. Relentlessly performing and creating content that resonates with people is huge, especially in a world that moves so fast, bombarding you with perpetual sensory overload.
Exposed Vocals: If you could perform anywhere and with any artists (Dead or Alive) where and who would it be with? Why?
Among the dead: John Coltrane , Freddie Mercury, Charlie Parker, Wes Montgomery, Niccolò Paganini, Stéphane Grappelli. Why? For the constructive criticism, and the mind-blowing experience. Alive, I've been fortunate to play with one of my heroes, Dave Grohl. It would be great to make music or even just have a beer with Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, Tom Morello, G Love, Bill Withers, Robert Randolph (who actually has actively tried to line up a show with me as a sideman), Talib Kweli, CL Smooth, Paul McCartney, D'Angelo, George Benson, Sting, Peter Gabriel, Hall & Oates. It's a big list.
Exposed Vocals: So, what’s next? Any new upcoming projects that you want to talk about?
With the new album finally done and a pretty busy show schedule through the rest of the year, the most pressing task is creating music videos for the songs on "Hard Times For Dreamers." I'm focusing what's left of my "free" time on producing new episodes of my YouTube show "Throwback Thursday" and building up a healthy backlog of episodes of my podcast "Talking With Other People." I've also got an instrumental record I started in 2014 that I'd like to finish tracking, and a Hall & Oates tribute album that's been equally shelved. I'll be writing new music while on tour as well. I don't have any intention of slowing down!
Exposed Vocals: If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing?
Probably no longer breathing. I have a big passion for engineering and art, and I spend time on both when I can. I believe that our purpose in life is to create things from nothing and to learn everything we can about everything.
Exposed Vocals: What should fans look forward to in the next year or so?
Lots of new videos and a an even more elaborate stage show!
Exposed Vocals: Any Shout-outs?
An endless thank you to everyone that has helped me along the way. No one does it on their own.