How did this new album and overall concept for it come about, and what are your ultimate goals?
The album was conceived in a vision while dreaming. I envisioned Jesus speaking to his disciples. I awakened at 3:00 a.m., went to the piano and the music to the title track “Do You Really Love Me” flowed into composition. It is inspired by the scripture, John 21:17, when Jesus asked his disciple Peter three times “do you love me, do you love me, do you really love me”. If you love me, then feed my sheep. The other compositions soon followed. My ultimate goal is to reach humanity throughout the universe with this message.
How would you describe what inspires you to do what you do?
I am inspired by the positive forces in my life, God the creator of all, my family, son and daughter.
What would be the most important piece of advice you’d impart to a young musician just starting out in the jazz / Smooth Jazz arena?
I would encourage young musicians to adopt the spirit of consistency and persistency in pursuing their dream. The words “I can’t” must be eliminated, so that it will never be an option. Education and mentoring are vital elements. Become an entrepreneur, because music is a business and must be respected as such.
What’s your favorite charity or cause you work for and why?
Our future in all genres of music, including jazz relies on the musical development of our youth. I am passionate about “Victory Over Violence” which aims to put instruments in children’s hands and music on their minds to discipline and motivate them to make favorable choices. This can help create great musicians, when there are mentors willing to inspire new blood. I support the legacies of world peace activists Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, Mother Teresa and Daisaku Ikeda.
What aspect of the creative, from concept to market, do you personally find to be most rewarding?
The entire process is rewarding to me. As a pianist and composer the conceiving of a melody or chord progression is rewarding, it motivates me to add other elements. The composition evolves into a universal language, called music. I am inspired when the world responds to my music either by listening in general or during a live performance. Music is a reflection of humanity, of life, we are a mirror image of each other. My ultimate reward is from those who embrace my music.
What would you define as the most life-changing event, so far in your musical career?
Collaborations with other internationally acclaimed recording artists, Ronnie Laws, Gladys Knight, Kenny Garrett…have been some of the most life changing and rewarding events so far in my musical career. These great icons have paved roads and opened doors for those of us to follow, providing many of the opportunities that exist today. The recording technology, internet distribution and radio , such as Smoothjazz.com have created unconditional windows of opportunity and exposure for my music.