How did your debut album and the concept for it come about, and what are your ultimate goals with it?
"Time On My Hands" is a collection of musical events that took place over several years. The decision to bring this material together and release it to the world was made jointly with my wife, Lisa. The initial goal was to successfully release the work, coordinate its promotion, and set a level and standard with this debut material that I can then build on and personally commit to developing over time. It's also a great opportunity for me to showcase my playing, writing, and production skills to other musicians in the smooth jazz genre. Collaboration projects are already knocking on the door!
Who would you say has been the biggest single influence in your life in getting you to where you are now in your career?
I have to go back some time here! Trevor King (the drumming legend that is "LTK") was significantly influential back in my home town. Trevor taught me at a young age about the importance of knowing how to show up and present myself in musical circles, how to commit to a goal, and how to learn from valuable constructive criticism. Over the several years of playing music together, he showed me the values of "active listening", both musically and socially. Trevor was, and remains, a valuable mentor and influence in my life.
What are you most proud of at this point in your life and career?
The initial success of my debut album "Time On My Hands" is a big proud part of each new day! I'm also incredibly proud of the ability I have developed over many years to consistently balance a regular career with my creative work. Moving to Canada in 2005 inspired a different approach to my playing and my writing that is evidenced by this debut album.
What would your top "desert island" classic albums be, regardless of genre? The albums you turn to time after time for your own enjoyment and inspiration…
It's so tough to narrow that list down as there's so much great music I have been inspired by over the years. That said (and in no particular order) here are the early influences that never lose value!
- Michael Brecker "Now You See It… (Now You Don't)" (1990)
- David Sanborn "Hideaway" (1980)
- Stanley Clarke "If This Bass Could Only Talk" (1988)
- Miles Davis "Tutu" (1986)
- Level 42 "World Machine" (1985)
- Sisters of Mercy "First and Last and Always" (1985)
- Quincy Jones "Back on the Block" (1989)
- Prince "Sign O' the Times" (1987)
- Simply Red "Picture Book" (1985)
- Steve Vai "Passion and Warfare" (1990)
What would be the most important piece of advice you would impart to a young musician starting out in the jazz/smooth jazz arena?
Listen to and respect the people who discover you and show support for your work: never forget them! Learn to recognize those folks, as they may well be foundational to your long-term success. Identify the "early adopters" from your audience and build on those relationships. In the music industry, those contacts can develop into and become long-term allies. If you're serious about your musical career, make sure you get a grounding in mainstream business skills as early as you can.
What are some of the most important goals you have set for the next five years?
Initially, the amazing loyalty and support I have been shown by the many who believed in what I created with "Time On My Hands" needs to be rewarded with new material: the writing process for Album 2 is underway! With my debut release receiving global airplay and recognition, the next goal is to continue developing my brand. I'm confident that by working this way, I'll be well-positioned to build on my composition and production work through further collaboration across my expanding musical network.