You compose, produce, and perform. What aspect of this whole process brings you the most satisfaction?
All of the above. I love doing all three and that combination keeps me busy and satisfied. I find that composing, producing and performing are all essential to me as a musician and when I keep those things balanced is when I tend to grow the most as a musician. In fact when I don't get enough of one area I become dissatisfied - so doing all three is ultimately the most fullfilling for me.
Has the saxophone always been your instrument of choice, or did you start out playing something else?
I started out on piano as a kid - around 2nd grade. Then in started playing clarinet 5th Grade- I wanted to play sax but the instructor said my hands were too small. That was actually not true - they just had too many saxophonists already and needed more clarinet players. I reluctantly played clarinet in grade school and then in Jr. High they needed a Baritone saxophonist in the jazz band. I seized the opportunity right a ways and transitioned to saxophone. That baritone saxophone was almost as tall as I was. The fingerings were similar to the clarinet so I and taught myself to play saxophone. The rest is history....
You were born in British Columbia, and now reside in Colorado... how did the transition from Canada to the U.S. take place?
My dad came to the US to go to school in San Diego and when he graduated, his first job was in Colorado - that's how I ended up here. That was when I was in 7th Grade and I've been here ever since.
If you were in control of the Smooth Jazz format, what would you be doing right now to insure it's continued growth and longevity?
Well, it's funny you ask that - as a producer I get asked that all the time. In fact I've recently had several record labels ask me that same question. I'm very passionate about this subject. First of all I think we need to go back to basics - just making good solid records that the audience can understand - music that makes people feel good and has a universal appeal. I think we've lost touch with that - almost all the great songs in history have that thing - universal appeal - a great song is a great song. They are not usually very complicated - a good feel and a good melody, it's a winning combination. The general public can relate to that - and of course it has to be heartfelt, that feeling comes across in the music. Today we have SO many people that call themselves artists - but they just play a single instrument or sing. A lot of them don't really understand how to write compelling music. There are not a lot great songwriters anymore. We need to teach young musicians about all of music - not just playing an instrument or singing - but about music theory, harmony, melody, lyrics, etc...
Outside of your music, what in your life excites and fulfills you?
Well - I'm a family man for sure. I love spending time with my wife and son. When I'm in town, Friday night is family night - my favorite time of the week. Just the simple things - we'll go out to dinner - play games, watch a movie - that kind of stuff - quality time with my family is the best!
What are you most proud of so far in your life and career?
I am the most proud of the fact that I get to do music fulltime for a living. That is a dream come true for me. I have had so many cool moments that stick out in my mind. Producing and playing sax on my first number one hit as a producer was huge - that was Wayman Tisdale's "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now" - that was definitely something I'll never forget - and there have been so many moments like that - but that one probably sticks out the most. But as I said before - I am just the most proud of the fact that I have been able to establish a fulltime career in music. I am truly grateful and blessed.