Could you share the story behind your latest song and what inspired its creation?
This is actually quite unique. Very recently, a friend reached out to me to say he was
getting divorced but wanted to try to save his marriage. He asked if there was anything I could write that would help him do that. I asked what happened, penned some words, sent him a demo recording and he loved it. Time will tell if it accomplished his goal, but my wife and l love the song, so we will likely release it someday. It’s currently titled Don’t Let Go.
How do you approach the process of songwriting, and are there any specific themes or
emotions you tend to explore in your music?
I try to use songs as a response to a human condition or current situation. When I feel
something powerful, I try to capture it in a song. I have many songs about love, life choices,
stories, and human emotion. It’s what we all live with, and I see myself as sort of a scribe to
record the happenings through music.
As an indie musician, how do you navigate the balance between creative freedom and
I will let you know when I figure it out. Mostly, I just realize anything I try to do that is
dis-ingenuine will be noticed by the audience and rejected. I have a small audience that already likes what I do, so to change to be liked on a broader scale might alienate them, and I won’t do that. Really, I think you have to believe if you are doing what you’re supposed to be doing, this world is big enough for us all to find a place. No one needs to change to fit some arbitrary standard. Do you and do it well.
What do you find most challenging about being an independent artist in today’s music
The hardest thing for me is not feeling that I can sell hard copies of music. Yes, I know
some people still buy CDs and vinyl, but for the most part, the phone or satellite radio is how people are listening to music. That means, for the most part, they are streaming, which means we aren’t getting paid…at least not the way it used to be. An indie artist has always made their money on the road, but some of that money used to come from the purchase of music. It’s impractical now to payout to have enough hard copy to sell and carry it from show to show. We’ve had to figure out other ways to A. get the record in front of people, and B. make up for the lost money. It’s tricky, but doable.
Can you talk about your experiences collaborating with other artists or musicians? How does it influence your creative process?
I co-wrote my first song a few years ago and it was a fun experience. Being able to
openly communicate ideas before they went into a song allowed for us to come up with the
BEST ones, not just the only ones a person could think of. I think if you’re with the right people, it will fuel your creativity. If it squelches you, you need to get with some other people.
What role does technology and social media play in promoting your music and connecting with your audience?
Technology and social media play a crucial role in promoting music, unfortunately, it
does that for everyone so it can also become a saturated media where only the folks with the biggest budget get through. It seems like a level playing field, but the misunderstanding is that the platforms are for the users benefit. They are for the platform’s benefit, which means the richest advertisers will get the biggest notice. In that regard, it’s no different than the outlets that existed before the internet…whoa, how old do I sound?
Are there any particular artists or genres that have had a significant impact on your musical
Someone influenced every musician, no matter what they say. My major ones are:
Counting Crows, Paul Simon, Eagles, Billy Joel, Marc Cohn, Monte Montgomery, RUSH and
Indie musicians often have a close relationship with their fanbase. How do you engage with
your fans and build a dedicated community around your music?
I’m always trying to be creative when it comes to connecting with my fans. On the video
for my last single Better With You, I asked people to send pictures of the people who make their lives better and I put them in the video. It was well received based on the viewing numbers right out of the gate. I’ve also invited my fans to the studio to sing on a record. We do all kinds of social media voting and so on.
Could you describe a memorable live performance experience or tour that has had a lasting
impact on you and your music?
Most of my impactful memories come from playing private house parties. Some of these can get a little wild and they’ve caused us to have to set a great number of rules for when we agree to go to someone’s house. We don’t mess around when it comes to partying. We want everyone to be able to do it again, and again.
In an era of streaming platforms, how do you feel about the changing landscape of music
consumption and its impact on independent musicians?
As I said before, the streaming platforms cut out the need for the listener to own a hard
copy, which cuts into tour income. It also means it’s as easy to listen to a major release as it is a local or indie release so there’s not the same feel of listening to a local when the next song can be from a major label. Lastly, it really hurts the idea of making a record as opposed to making singles, because they’re all just basically singles once they’re streaming. Whether this is good or not is not up to me. It has and will cause people who choose to make a living making music to have to figure out a way to do it, but that’s not new. Every generation has their challenges in that area. I personally feel that streaming disconnects the music from the fans a little bit, but it also makes the world’s music, from all time, available to them at the click of a button, so who knows what can happen?