You grew up in a very musical family setting, performed in church at an early age, and are still very active in your religious community. How have your spiritual beliefs helped you stay centered as you have navigated so successfully through the music business?
My spiritual beliefs keep me grounded and focused on what's really important. To me, that's the love of God and the love of my family. Being in this industry, there are a lot of temptations that are readily and easily available to me. When those moments come about, I just think back to the fact that my musical gifts/ talents are God-given. As easily as they came, they can be taken away. Being that this is how I support my household, I can't have that happen! :-)
Your new album, "Forever & Always," is filled with solid, soul-stirring performances. Do you remember as a child a particular moment when you just knew that music was your future, and that you were compelled by spirit to work to fulfill that destiny for yourself?
Yes. I'm the last of seven children. All of my siblings play multiple instruments and/or sing. As do my cousins, uncles, and aunts. At first, I wanted to be different. I was going to be the 1st athlete in the family. I ran track and played football in the 8th grade. Things were looking good until I had a rather serious weight lifting injury. At that point, my doctor told me if I had any other interest other than sports, it would be smart for me to concentrate on them. So I turned to music. The following school year, I was asked to play a solo in front of my entire high school during an assembly (Lift Every Voice and Sing), I received a thunderous ovation. At that point, I decided that being a saxophonist was what I wanted to do as a career.
Is there a particular gig you've played that stands out as being maybe a few notches above all the others so far in your career?
I can't say that any one stands out. Everytime I play, I treat it as if I'm playing for thousands even if there is only a hand full of people in the room. I'm just blessed to be able to do this everyday!!!!
What artists of today are exciting you musically (feel free to include all genres)?
Everett Harp, Kirk Whalum and Gerald Albright are my favorites.I would put Kirk Whalum at the top of the list; I love the passion and soul he puts into his music.
What other things besides your music do you like to spend your time and energies on?
Besides music, I love spending time with my wife and kids. I'm beginning to travel a lot more now, so any time I can spend with them is golden.I love fishing and boating as well. I can't go as much as I want because of my career but I try to sneak away every now and then just to meditate and refocus. Something about the water does it for me. I love to cook too!!!!!!!
If you were asked to describe the biggest reasons why someone would want to spend time in your hometown of Atlanta, what would you tell them?
I would tell anyone who is looking to have a great time, to come to Atlanta. The weather is great, beautiful people, and the biggest reason of all............... If I'm not on the road, you can hear me live somewhere in Hotlanta!!!!! :-)