What's your story? Tell us a little about yourself.
Well on Mondays I clean cat litter, Tuesdays are for tacos, Wednesdays I cut checks for a corporation, Thursdays I wanna see the sun, Fridays I fetch my vino, Saturdays the music's begun, and on Sundays I disco.
What brought you to music and How did you end up in Nashville?
I have had a love for music since day one. Really, I came out of the womb singing PYT (Pretty Young Thing). Didn't actually start writing songs though until I moved to Nashville five years ago. It was a random decision to come to Nashville, really. Thinking I was going to be on the business side rather than the creative side of music, I asked a college professor of mine what he would recommend for an internship and he suggested I check out Bug Music (which is now BMG). So I ended up looking them up and getting an internship at their Nashville location for the summer between my Junior and Senior year. I really loved the energy of the city and decided to move back after graduation. And here I am, five years later, still enjoying myself!
Your music and personality are so rich in old roots. Did you grow up listening to older music?
You bet I did! And I listen to that good old stuff daily. I don't think I would have the same songs or melodies going through my head had I not been brought up with music from the 60s and 70s. Some of my favorites as a child were Elvis Presley, The Beach Boys, Roy Orbison, and The Turtles. I tested the waters as a young one by singing at church. Then in school I would sing jazz and choral music. But I think what made the biggest impact on my songwriting was the fact that I was raised listening to a wide variety of great songs from the 60s and 70s. Some of my biggest influences besides the artists I listed above are Paul Simon, Harry Nilsson, The Beatles, Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and ELO.
When making your last record Fables, what were some of your favorite highlights in the recording process?
Michael and I recorded the album at his home studio. That allowed us to take our time and try different things. I enjoy recording that way. Because you never know what might pop in your head a week later and the addition could be crucial and really beneficial to a song. Everything was within our control and no one else could alter our opinions. Great records are made in 1 or 2 days with the right people involved. But I believe when you record an album patiently and at your own pace, it can give your songs enough space to breathe and make them right. It’s always awesome fun recording with Michael. It works out great because we are very like-minded. J We were always hanging about with his brother, Samuel, who plays drums and percussion. Part of recording at your own pace, can help create different sounds or ideas of different instruments. Samuel built a wooden handle chain stick specifically for snare hits on “Fables” and it truly helped make the sound we were going for on the chorus. It was extremely special to have my talented friends come in and play on the project—Brett Resnick on pedal steel featured on “Hometown” and “Open Roads,” Amy Marx on flute featured on “Open Roads” and “Take Me To The Country,” Travis Terrell on violin featured on “Sly Stranger” and on piano on “Treat Her,” Christian Sedelmyer on fiddle featured on “Open Roads” and “Take Me To The Country,” and Melodie Morris on cello featured on “Yer Gonna Be (My Lovin’ Man).”
The music business is hard as I’m sure you know. What keeps you going strong?
Well I have to have a full time job in order to make it out alright. So that pays my bills. Other than that, I guess I just have love for music, instead of looking at it like it’s an investment. I am realistic with what it means to be a songwriter / artist these days -- though I still strive for writing the perfect song that will touch people. And I continue to strive towards my goal to communicate a feeling or a message perfectly with film and music.
Photo credits: Stephen Stonestreet