Hello and welcome to Melodic .net . How are you?
Hi, thanks for having me :) I'm doing pretty good actually...busy...between being a father, a husband, a full time music producer at the Fish Tank Recordings, as well as a vocal artist, I find little time to relax. But I fully enjoy all of my roles, and feel blessed to have them.
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I'm the first U.S. born person in my family. My three older sisters were all born in Italy. I grew up in New England but moved to St. Augustine FL in middle school...boy, are those some awkward years. But I actually found a pretty good music program in high school and blossomed in it. It hasn't been all "success overnight" or anything, but started off pretty good and have been blessed enough to make an honest living while working my booty off always excited about the next step :)
I started playing bass and singing harmonies...mostly cuz I was the only kid who could actually DO harmonies. Haha. I always loved rockin out and learning hard bass parts, but melodically always resonated more deeply with all the 80's pop songs I heard in the back of the car as a little kid. I actually even toured as the bassist for A Flock Of Seagulls in '98. It was a fun first touring experience.
I've always been a writer, and after recording my first song in a studio, I had my first bit of radio success at an active rock station in Jacksonville, FL that added me. The song blew up and all of the sudden I found myself being courted by major labels, layers and managers. I got shuffled into signing a deal with EMI as a band called Monkey The Fish but never released a record.
In 2003 I started a band with a drummer friend and called it StorySideB. We serviced a radio single and it immediately caught fire. We went on to release two records on Gotee records and in a 5yr period we played for hundreds of thousands of people all over the country and reached fans worldwide. We had a number of hits at radio and one single, Be Still, was awarded BMI's top five most played song of 2008. In the beginning of 2009 our best friend and bassist, Ron McClelland, passed away, and three weeks later, our manager, David Lipscomb, also died. The band shortly thereafter broke up. In this time, my marriage failed, and I was back to square one. It was a time of struggle and heartache for me.
It was right around that time that I met my amazing wife Savannah, and we couldn't wait to start a family. We have two young children. Eowyn, our 2yr old daughter, and Rumi, our 17mo old son. It's been the most amazing and enriching experience I've ever had. I love being a daddy :)
How would you describe your own music?
I come from a rock background, but I've always resonated with singer songwriters. I'd say this record is more on the intimate side of me. Very much vocal and acoustic guitar based with hints at modern folk, acoustic rock and pop. Melody is the most important thing to me. Lyrically, it is mainly driven by my love for my wife. It feels good to say that.
You have a new album out, what can you tell us about that?
I'm very excited about it. I've always wanted to do a record like this. In the past, I chased modern rock, which I like, but I always wanted to do a more melodically, vocals-driven record rather than riff rock and power drums. The more intimate songs I wrote always found themselves by the wayside when I played with rock bands. I always hated having to sing over instruments that were too loud. So this time, I didn't. I did music that I love and would want to listen to myself. This way, Even if you don't like it, I do ;) (but I hope you like it) I'm not saying I'll never do another rock record, but this one is dear to me.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
I'd say the big singers and writers of the 80's have impacted me most in a writing sense. Peter Gabriel, the Police and Sting, and Depeche Mode are some, on into the 90's with Jeff Buckley, Radiohead and Elbow. Obviously the Beatles have influenced me just like everyone else whether they admit it or not. Haha. Early MTV was huge for me. It was back when they still had music videos...imagine that. But when I really think of the people that made the most difference in my life musically, it was the guys whom I had that almost telepathic relationship with. Guys I'd play with, that sometimes we didn't even need to speak, the music just happened on a higher level. One of those guys is the main cowriter on my new record, Todd Lombardo. His talent and friendship continue to inspire me.
What is in your opinion the biggest challenge you have to face as a musician today?
Well, where do I begin? Being a musician has so many emotional challenges that will never change through the ages of business and Internet theft and availability. Sex Drugs and Rock and Roll isn't a cliche phrase for no reason. People idolize musicians when they're onstage and it can potentially alter the self worth and identity of a musician in a negative way, often resulting in promiscuity and depression. The pressures are never ending on a hard working artist and many of us turn to drugs for a creative release which also can be damaging. Nothing a little counseling can't help ;)
In terms of business, the game has changed drastically and I don't think anyone has really figured it out yet. There is so much music available now that the challenge is to get people just to listen to it...even when you give it away. So I think in many ways, we have gone back to a basic connection. Play your music for as many people as you can and do your best to connect with and appreciate your listeners. I am honored when people will give my songs a fair listen. It's all I ask for.
If you were not an artist, what would you be?
There is nothing that can keep me away from music. So I have my own recording studio called The Fish Tank, and here I engineer and produce other artists' creative visions. Otherwise, I think I'd be a professional dad and part time world traveler.
Name one album that everyone should own.
Jeff Buckley ~ Grace. I've bought and given this album away more times than any other. It's a music must have.
Is there a particular song out there that you wish you had written?
Happy Birthday. Hahaha!
What does the near future hold for you?
Besides producing in the studio, I'll be doing some traveling and playing shows. I'm having a hometown CD Release show on July 1st here in St. Augustine FL which I'm pretty excited about. Nothin like good old hometown support. I'll try to post some video of it as soon as its done.
Any plans of coming to Sweden to play?
I plan on coming to Sweden all the time. Whether or not those plans actually happen or not is written in the stars. If this is an invite, yes, I'd love to.
Thanks for answering the questions, any final words for our readers?
Thanks so much for having me and for the great questions. I'm on Facebook, and I really like meeting new people. So all you'z people out there gimme a shout. I'd love to hear from you!.