What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of recording a new song?
Deciding on which instruments to ultimately use to track a song that originated with simply an acoustic guitar, pen, and paper is the most challenging aspect of the recording process for me. Iím scared to death of ruining that sort of Ďsinger/songwriter feelí. However, on a song like ďSittiní On Topía the RoofĒ from the very beginning I heard (in my imagination) so much going on instrumentallyÖbass, sax, electric guitar, keys, and backup singers. The next challenge lies in figuring out when and where each instrument ďfitsĒ into the song because you want to make sure the songís basic foundation isnít lost with too much (or too little) instrumentation at any one point in the tune.
How would you describe what inspires you to do what you do?
Itís definitely the creative part of my nature thatís constantly tugging at me to want to write a new song. Thatís not something where I am really given a choice. Itís just what I do by nature. Although I have written a handful of songs and released a couple of independent albums, I wish I felt more prolific. Songs come out of me only when inspiration hits and, to be honest, I wish it happened a lot more often. So, what inspires me to do what I do? I donít honestly know other than to say it's in my nature to want to createÖsometimes.
What elements do you look for in a song that makes it especially satisfying for you to perform?
Itís usually the sound of a particular instrument that grabs my attention first. Then, if the lyrics cleverly deliver a message or story in a way Iíve never heard before and it goes along with the music perfectly, Iím really intrigued and drawn to want to perform the tune in my own way. Thatís a big part of what I do when I perform. I enjoy taking a song that I find brilliant and putting my own style or my own twist on it. And I hope that the original artist , if they ever heard it, would ultimately approve and hopefully enjoy my rendition of his/her song.
What would you define as the most life-changing event so far in your musical career?
When I finally let go of playing music to satisfy my own needs and began playing from a mindset of making people happy, that, most definitely, was the turning point in my professional music career. Since Iíve been able to take myself out of the equation, so to speak, Iíve been able to reach people on a deeper level. People seem to be more drawn in and inspired by my live sound since Iíve integrated that shift. I learned so much about this from a man named Yuki Matsuda with whom I worked for a few years back in his shoe and clothing company in Hermosa Beach. The gift he gave me I will always be indebted to him.
Whatís your favorite non-music activity?
I love to travel. My favorite place I've been so far is San Sebastian, Spain. You cannot beat Basque food!
Whatís your favorite charity or cause you work for, and why?
I am faithful to a local organization called Walk With Sally which is an amazing , non-profit organization that provides mentoring programs to children who have lost a parent or sibling to cancer. My mother passed away from cancer when I was 13 years old and it was not until my 30ís that I realized I was still harboring sadness and anger related to losing my mom which ultimately stifled my creativity. If I can help a child process the very real emotions they are feeling as a result of what has happened to them, I would like to do that.