How did this new album and overall concept for it come about, and what are your ultimate goals with it?
The concept for “The Color Of Midnight” came about all because of the persistent nudging and support of my mentor, friend and employer of many years, Grammy Award Winning Record Producer, Tony Camillo, who encouraged me to arrange, compose, play and produce my own album. As a studio musician, I worked for Tony since the early 1980s on a number of record dates for the various artists he was producing and/or arranging for. On those sessions I often overdubbed all the sax, flute and clarinet parts in addition to solo work. After the sessions he would always say to me “It’s time to do your own album, do your own thing”. At that time I was content just to be a back-up musician and didn’t really have an interest in becoming an artist. As time went by I became more interested and started to write some material to be recorded. Then, three years ago I finally had some time in my schedule to start my album and the rest is history. My goals for “The Color Of Midnight” are to reach a wider audience through airplay and hopefully lead to performing the music live, maybe as an opening act.
What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of recording a new album?
Producing the album while also wearing the hats of arranger, composer and artist. After each take I would run back in to sit with my engineer to hear what I played. It’s a very different experience when you’re the artist. I’m used to hearing a producer tell me in the headphones “great, let’s move on” or “now try it this way”. When you produce yourself you have to listen with a different set of ears and instincts. Being a perfectionist, I tend to tell my engineer, “keep that take and let me take another”.
What elements do you look for in a song that makes it especially satisfying for you to perform?
Before I started the recording process I spent many hours listening to classic songs by iconic vocalists that became well known popular hits. I narrowed it down to the songs that translated well from a vocal interpretation to instrumental. If a melody has a strong rhythm and the chords are interesting enough to work with or rearrange, those were the songs I picked. I apply the same techniques when composing my originals. After working in the recording studio for many years I’ve learned how important it is to let the melody breath and more importantly, the need for a strong “hook”. These are the elements that make for a satisfying performance.
Who would you say has been the single biggest influence in your life in getting you to where you are now in your career?
I’ve mentioned this gentleman’s name above a few times, Tony Camillo. Do a Google search for Tony and you’ll see all the recognizable artists and songs he’s produced and written for over the years. I’ve been very fortunate to have played on so many recordings for Tony, in addition to learn about the various aspects of the music business from him. He has always been more than giving of his time and wants nothing in return. His philosophy has always been to believe in yourself and things will happen in your life.
What would your top “desert island” classic albums be, regardless of genre… the albums you turn to time after time for your own personal enjoyment and inspiration?
It’s an eclectic list of albums that reminds me why I became a musician, arranger and composer:
Outside of your musical career, what else in your life gets you excited and fulfilled?
My wife and soul mate, Elizabeth, for she put God and love in my life. My daughters, Samantha and Sydney. I'm so proud of all their accomplishments and for the goals they've set for themselves. And my family for their unending support, patience and understanding. Being a musician often doesn’t allow for a regular 9 to 5 work week, so when I am given those precious times to be together with my wife and family, I look forward to doing things with those that I love and cherish.