How and where did you get your start?
Well, if we're gonna be specific, I was eight. My dad was a piano player and taught me how to play my first piece of classical music. I started writing songs that were really bad, but I loved playing. Fast forward ten years or so, I released my first album in late 08' that spread pretty well on Facebook and Youtube. I got featured on the YouTube homepage and my album made the top-40 on the iTunes pop charts. I started touring based on that initial online fan base.
At what point did you feel that what you're doing now became a full-time career? Providing that's how you feel about your music.
After I released my first album I was working a day job and kind of sitting around in my apartment waiting for something to happen. I soon realized that I had to be touring and growing my fan base outside the online world to really have a future in music. I was able to support a few bigger artists on some east-coast tours due to the support I had from fans online. I started building it one fan at a time. What really made it full-time was when I put the word out about my first house concert tour two summers ago. I couldn't believe the response. I did around 60 house concerts in the span of two months, often doing two shows a day on Saturday's and Sundays. I started selling out of CD's and merch at these shows, and I was traveling solo so expenses were low. It turned into a full-time thing.
You've been playing annual house tours; what were some experiences you'd like to share about them? How do they differ from other types of shows and tours you've done?
House shows are different in that there are no rules. They can be as basic as no amp, totally acoustic, just 25 people squeezing together in a living room.. or it can be 200 people in a backyard. I leave it up to the fans who book me how they want the evening to be. It's usually very loose, and you can connect with your fans on an even more personal level. Whenever I'm back in their town playing a venue show, I find that the fans I made from the house concerts are always in the front seats.
Your music has been used in shows like Ghost Whisperer and The Real World. Those honestly seem very different from each other in terms of genre and the audience they're reaching out to. How did you and your music get involved in these shows?
Most of these placements are the work of 3rd party licensing companies that work directly with these shows and provide music. If the music happens to fit a specific scene, you might get lucky and get a placement.
Your relationship with your fans, whats it like? Do they influence your music to some effect or is your sound coming solely from you?
I'm very thankful to have the support of my fans and have been able to put out a couple records now. Through outlets like Twitter and Facebook posts, my fans play along well and are very responsive. I'm always excited to hear feedback or read tweets from them, and hopefully they are happy to hear from me too on a daily basis. Influences for songs can come from all over, but I just want to write good music that moves me and hopefully will move a few other people too.
What would you say to someone who has never heard you before? How would you get them to listen?
I would kidnap them in a cop car, lock them in the back seat, and play my record over and over.
If you wouldn't mind, what has been one of your embarrassing on-stage moments? And in contrast, have you had any "Super Star" stage moments that you'd like to share?
I'm lucky I've never had any really terrible embarrassing on-stage moments yet. I think the worse was a big show in New York City at an up-scale venue called City Winery. It was a sold-out crowd opening for Howie Day, I walked on stage, and of course, the battery in my guitar felt like giving up. I had to entertain the crowd with jokes while we looked for a 2nd guitar. However, I cracked some kind of joke like "I like to start every show like this…it's all good." I find if you're real with the audience, they will most likely forgive you and cheer you on. A recent super-star moment was a 100 or so fans in Corpus Christi, TX singing along to the chorus of my single "Counting On You." I was so surprised they all knew the words and sang out loud.
I keep asking two part questions, my apologies, here's a single one. Whats next up for you and your music?
That's like one and half questions. I'm currently writing a lot of new music, and I'm touring pretty often through the Summer. The song I mentioned earlier "Counting On You" is right now #41 on the Hot AC charts. I'm hopeful that song and my new album Constant Motion will continue to grow so I can tell you more super-star moments next interview.
How would you say you've evolved as an artist from your first entry into the music industry to now?
I think whatever career you pursue, you just naturally get better at what you do on a daily basis. I think I've improved in all areas of music, from the songwriting process, to recording, performing, and the business side.
How has your most recent album Constant Motion been doing; Has it met your expectations?
I think it was the right album for me at this point in my career. My first album, Change Again, was a slower-paced, moody album, and Constant Motion is a bit more of an up-tempo pop album. My fans have been reacting really well to it, and radio has been playing the first single, so I'm happy with the response so far.
On whichever mp3 player you may own, who do you find yourself listening to the most? Are they an inspiration to you?
I usually do Pandora cause I like to go for runs and not have to create my own playlist. Lately I've been putting on Fitz and the Tantrums. Great songs and I love the throw-back 70's vibe.
Are you spontaneous in song-writing or is it something you work on slowly until you approve?
I think it's a combo of both. If there is something I come upon and it's "wow this can be all mine," I'll probably go with it and finish it on the spot. Due to all the touring I've been doing though, that isn't as easy now as say when I used to sit in my college dorm room avoiding doing a paper.
In the time between touring and composing, what do you usually find yourself doing for fun?
I was joking with my friends the other day that I've become pretty boring. It's always nice to see my friends and family back in NY, but even if I have a weekend off and I'm home, I won't really party too hard with my buddies, cause right now I'm so focused on my career and I don't want to risk losing my voice on an off-night for a show the following Wednesday. So for fun I like seeing movies, running, drinking coffee and reading the paper. Real rockstar-ish.
Since we've already talked about your fans and their support, what would you say to anyone who speaks negatively of you?
Thanks for taking time out of your day to talk about me.
Final question, who do you think would win in a fight, Cordell Walker aka Texas Ranger or Bruce Lee?
Texas Ranger, every time.