What do you take extremely seriously when it comes to your music?
I think the one thing I take seriously is authenticity. The feel, delivery and vibe have to match the vision in my head. It doesn’t necessarily matter what I’m singing about, just as long as the energy is right. If not, it gets scrapped and reworked or recreated. That being said, I’m always walking a fine line between perfection and progress. Sometimes, the perfectionist in me paralyzes the latter, so I would say that’s the only drawback to taking this aspect of my music seriously . We are our own worst critic sometimes.
What can you be lax about when it comes to your music?
Songwriting I’m pretty lax about. For me, it doesn’t matter what the song is about as long as it comes across as authentic. I’m also pretty lax about experimenting with different instruments and sounds. If it works it works and we go with it. When I perform my own music live or even covers, I never perform them the same way twice. And this goes beyond just doing a vocal riff differently here and there. Sometimes, I’ll change the key of the song, speed it up or slow it down depending on my mood. I think the approach to making music should be pretty lax anyway.
Who is the most demanding about your music?
Outside of me would probably be my wife and mom. My mom is pretty honest about something I’ve done that she didn’t like. My wife appreciates good music, knows my voice and knows when I’m bringing the right energy to a song. She’s often there listening during the creation process so she knows what fits my sound and what doesn’t. They both keep me grounded and I’m grateful for them both.
What demands do you make of yourself when you need to keep on the right track?
Sticking to a plan is probably the biggest one for me. In this business, you don’t really progress without a system in place to get things done. That goes for songwriting to recording to performing. I also try to make each song I release ‘technically’ a little better than the last. Meaning, I try to introduce some of the guitar licks or leads I’ve been practicing into new songs. I’m really trying to improve and develop my guitar technique and there’s no better way to do that than to hear how it sounds in the context of a recorded song.
How do you figure out what needs to change rather than just adjusted?
Oh man, good question! It really just boils down to how it feels when I sing it, the melody and arrangement of a particular part. If it feels wrong then I scrap it and rewrite if I need to. Sometimes, a line or note might not jive with the rest of the song, so in those cases I might adjust a word here or there. Then there are those unexpected ‘happy mistakes’ that I’ve kept and been really excited about by the time the song is done.
Coming from your hometown, how does it influence the music you make?
Most of my family is from the south (North Carolina & Georgia) and being rooted there for generations certainly influences how my songs are created. Growing up listening to gospel music, and going to church definitely influenced the soulful flare I like to add to my music. Every singer I grew up listening to in church, and later in school always sang ‘from the gut’ as I like to say. Thinking it was the only way to sing, I adapted and I’ve been singing that way ever since. Growing up in that environment meant that when I discovered other styles of music I liked, my mind was blown. It was always such a stark contrast to what I’d been used to.
Are there any other influences you pull from?
Some of my other influences come from the soul singers of the 60 and 70s like Otis Redding and Donny Hathaway. I love the energy and vocal delivery behind the songs they sing. I love the way they were able to connect with listeners in a visceral way. It’s the way music was meant to be experienced and why I’m happy to try putting others in the same headspace.
How are you trying to make sure you do the right thing for yourself and your art?
I think it’s important to just listen to your gut. Sometimes that means stepping back from a project and returning with a fresh perspective. My gut has, and always will be the proverbial compass in how my music is created. You also have to advocate for yourself in this business. It’s especially true in a business where the product is so subjective and there’s no clear indicator of what’s right or wrong. In any art form, the lines are always blurred which is why it’s vitally important to know who you are and what you want.
Give us all the details of how to support you!
Absolutely! You can find my music and more at the links below. Thank you for having me, the pleasure was mine.
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End of Interview