Tell us about yourself?
I’ve been surrounded by music my whole life; I’m really lucky to have older sisters and parents that were really enthusiastic about music, theatre and the arts. I started learning piano when I was about 10, and since then, I’ve just been trying to learn everything I can to learn how to create great music. That includes learning guitar, cello, and ukelele, and how to produce quality tracks on my Macbook.
I started out writing worship songs, which I’m still passionate about because it felt like what I could relate to the most. I grew up in church, so music was always a great outlet to connect with my faith. I’ve tried to explore writing in several genres since then, because I want to be versatile but also develop a unique sound of my own.
In high school, I was involved in choir, musical theatre, my church’s worship team, an alt-rock band with my friends and an audio production class, so all of that really just made my passion for making music even stronger. The production class is ultimately what made me decide I wanted to study Audio Engineering.
Then I found Belmont University. In the heart of Nashville, they have an incredible Audio tech program and access to quality, historic recording studios to learn in. I’ll be doubling that major with Songwriting in the fall, so hopefully, that means I’ll be putting out lots more tracks.
What is your songwriting process?
My songwriting process looks a little bit different for every song. For my latest project, I had specific things I wanted to write about.
For example, I knew I wanted a song about the overwhelming feelings of suddenly losing the end of my senior year of high school. I knew I wanted a song about missing my girlfriend during quarantine, and one about moving on to the next chapter of life without much closure at all to the last one (Although I did just get to have a graduation ceremony!)
The lyrics came first rather than the melodies generally. I like to have lyrics that don’t feel forced into song, so that’s typically how I do it. For me, that feels more authentic.
Sometimes, I’ll just write journal entries about what I want to get off my chest, and then shape it into lyrics. That way, there’s a totally unfiltered, unpolished stream of thought to start with.
Tell us about your latest release?
‘Take Back the Joy’ is a 7-track EP that centers around navigating the unexpected, specifically as it relates to this pandemic, and the national shutdown we experienced. I tried to create something that was honest, would resonate with people, but also was still rooted in hope, and the celebration of love and life.
At times it’s reflective, at times it’s angry, at times sad and longing. Listening to it all the way through feels like an emotional rollercoaster, but that made sense to me for the times we’re living in.
What message do you think your music conveys to your fans?
I think my centres conveys a message of hope and resilience, as well as finding the beauty in every day life. Those seem like increasingly important messages, so as long as I find it necessary and relevant, I’ll continue writing around that as it relates to the experiences I have in life moving forward, and the experiences others are having that I can identify with.
Who are your musical influences?
I love musical theatre, so Ben Platt is a big influence. His album, ‘Sing to me Instead’, gives me a lot of musical inspiration. I’m also a big fan of Paramore and Hayley Williams’ writing style.
Who are your non-musical influences?
Both my parents and my older sisters: They’ve shown me what it means to share your passions with others, and be confident in who you are. I also really admire my younger brother’s imagination and ability to find joy/humour in just about any situation. My family is very important to me, and they’re definitely my biggest supporters.
What’s the best gig that you have ever played?
The only ‘gigs’ I’ve played are either in a coffee shop or with the band I formed with my friends a couple of years ago. We won a local talent competition called Lee’s Summit’s Got Talent, so that was definitely memorable.
My favourite show we played was last summer- we played a backyard concert, and people just danced around and had a good time pretty much that whole show. It was a lot of fun.
What is your funniest gig moment?
The band was playing a gig outside in Downtown Lees Summit, and we had decided beforehand that halfway through the set, we would improvise a song around a Mad Lib- you know those books where you fill in stories with random nouns, adjectives, etc.
We went around collecting random words from the audience before singing a passionate rendition of the Mad Lib they created. It was pretty hilarious, plus a train went by while it was happening, which amplified the chaotic energy.
What do you think are the biggest obstacles for bands/artists today?
I think the biggest challenge for artists today is that people’s attention spans are getting shorter. We have so much content continually being produced and shared on social media, which is a great tool for exposure, but it also means if you don’t capture your audience’s attention boldly and immediately, you’ll probably get scrolled through. It’s just a matter of cutting through the noise, which is something I’m trying to learn how to do.
What advice would you give to other bands/artists starting out?
I would say just make music that you love, instead of trying to calculate what you think others will love. Your passion for what you do will be evident if you’re doing something that’s authentic to you.
That’s important because people don’t want to be manipulated; if they think the only reason you’re making music is to appease what you perceive others to like, then that’s not as respectable as making something authentic that maybe not everyone is in love with.
What are your hopes for the next two years?
I hope to produce and release a lot more content in the next couple of years. I want to use my first two years at Belmont to produce a much bigger portfolio than I have now, and to grow in my songwriting and production skills. I hope to keep making music that is honest, hopeful and inspiring.
FV Music Blog July 2020
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