What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of recording a new album?
I tend to approach every album from where I am musically at the moment. The big challenge for me, is deciding at project’s end, what songs to cut, what songs to trim (time-wise) and what songs deliver what I am trying to convey, but also give my fans and listening audience what they want to hear. Because I come from a very musical background, the overall finished product also has to have elements in it that stand out, and are not just formulaic, or contrived. I want the project to feel like a musical journey or experience, as opposed to just a bunch of beats thrown together for the sake of doing it. I am my toughest critic!
How would you describe what inspires you to do what you do?
I am such a fan of music in general. I get excited by listening to old Philly International albums, Stevie Wonder, George Duke, Quincy Jones, Stax albums, Motown, etc. I love the musicality of projects from these artists and producers, but I also get excited about the way they were mixed, recorded and produced! While writing/ producing my album “Epiphany”, I set out to create a memorable project, a creative art piece, that just like my musical heroes would succeed in making your head bop for years and years to come!! I still throw on Songs In The Key Of Life, and hear things I never heard before! I want that same excitement when someone listens to “Epiphany”, “The Shedd”, or any of the projects I’ve done!
Who would you say has been the single biggest influence in your life in getting you to where you are now in your career?
There are so many people who have helped me in my career. Choosing one person is such a hard task! Lol! To point out one in particular though, I have to say Gerald Veasley! Gerald has been the most helpful to me, in taking my career to the next level! Gerald played on my album “The Shedd”, which opened up so many doors for me with other artists, etc. Gerald also guest starred and CRUSHED on my album, “Epiphany”! In addition to this, he has given me the platform to perform on some major stages, with many influential individuals. His help has been priceless!
What are you most proud of at this point in your life and career?
In my life, I am most proud of being a good father and husband! I absolutely love my family, and I’m so thankful to be able to watch them grow and become the amazing people they are! I love my wife! She has been my biggest fan and supporter through our 19 years together! She has been here through it all! On the music side, I made the decision to be a solo artist in 2000. I struggled, fought and prayed my way through so much adversity, and so many challenges. I am most proud today to say I am on my 4th album, and I have had the pleasure of recording with people like Gerald Albright, Frank McComb, Steve Cole, Carol Riddick, Gerald Veasley, Alex Al, Elan Trotman, and a host of others I grew up idolizing. I’ve shared the stage with, and hung back stage with the very people I listened to on repeat daily for years. It’s an absolute blessing to be moving from the sidelines into the game!!
Outside of your musical career, what else in your life gets you excited and fulfilled?
I mentioned earlier that I am a family man! My kids are crazy, and there is never a dull moment! I love to watch them learn sports, I really enjoy seeing them try new things, and exploring new possibilities. My oldest son is a genius, and some of the conversations we have on a daily basis are mind blowing! He’s the type that gets A’s in grades, and 3’s in behavior! LOL! (1’s are the desired). In addition to family, I really enjoy laughing and hanging with friends! I grew up laughing a lot, and I strive to continue that in my adult life! If you are a drain, and don’t like to have fun, you probably don’t want to be around me! I also enjoy acting, and aspire to do some movie acting as well as film direction, at some point in my career.
Going back in your life as far as you can remember, what song or performance is the first you recall hearing and being affected by?
I grew up on George Benson! You would have thought he was my uncle or something! However, when I heard Norman Brown’s “Just Between Us” album, it triggered something in me! From that moment on, I knew I wanted to be a jazz star! I was 16 at the time, and immediately went in and started recording solo guitar jazz songs! I switched from hip hop to jazz that year!