Did you come from a musical family? Were your parents musical?
Yes, I do. My grandfather was known to play jazz saxophone, my mother was a fantastic classical pianist, my father has a great voice and plays banjo and guitar.
How did Tracorum first come together?
Tracorum first came together when I decided to form a band to support the original songs I was writing. It was a duo at first just drums and piano and then a trio which recorded our first album “Rock n Soul” in 2004.
How does your creative process work when writing songs?
I am one of those songwriters who hears a lyric in my head which starts a chain reaction of melody and like a lightning bolt the song comes through me and out on to the paper. I may work on the lyrics or whittle down the arrangement but the birth of the tune is usually pretty effortless.
What inspires you lyrically?
I like to try and tell stories that relate to my own personal experience but are still universal to life. Lyrics that inspire me are the ones that touch my soul and make me feel the mood or emotion the artist is trying to convey. For me the best lyricists know how to say everything with the fewest words and the most space.
What was the first song you wrote for Tracorum?
I think the first song I wrote for Tracorum was “Foolish.”
Who are some of your favorite songwriters and why?
I have always loved Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, Billy Joel, George Jones. These guys have a way of crushing me with simplicity. It’s a deep understanding of the human experience that translates through the words they choose to tell their stories with that instantly reminds me of my own triumphs and tribulations. Good lyrics are like a great friend that never lets you down.
You’re playing the 4 Peaks Festival in Oregon this year. What do you enjoy most about playing in Oregon?
Playing in Oregon is always a treat. It’s a beautiful state, great music loving people, and everything from the traveling to the clubs and people we meet are amazing.
What are your hobbies outside of music?
I like to read books. Yes, the ones with words and real pages.
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome in your career?
There have been many challenges and I can only assume that will continue. Personal changes within the band, family tragedy, the financial reality of being a musician, never being in the “in crowd,” and self management have definitely posed their obstacles.
What advice would you give to musicians just starting out?
If you really feel the music in your soul as if someone has put there hand over your head and chosen you to express yourself with melody then the reward will always be the music itself. Then no matter where you end up in your career your only expectations will be realizing your potential on a beautiful infinite road. Oh yeah, practice and study and listen to everything you can!