How did this new album and overall concept for it come about, and what are your ultimate goals with it?
Soulfisticated came about from the need to make my mark on and put my voice out in the world.
At what point in your life did you make the decision to become a professional musician and actually record your own albums?
I was young when I knew being a professional musician was my life calling. I started playing at around 10 years old after my parents told me I could pick an instrument to study. I picked the flute seemingly out of thin air.
What are you most proud of at this point in your life and career?
I have a lot of proud moments, but a lot have come with my newest album, Soulfisticated. It hit #1 for Soul-Jazz and #2 for Contemporary R&B on Amazon.com. It also hit #5 on Amazon Japan for R&B. Since, my initial intention was to make a place for flute in R&B those were really major moments for me.
If you were magically allowed to spend an hour with whomever you chose in history… alive or dead… and really be able to get inside their head, who would that be?
Mariah Carey. Vocalists are the top influence on my playing style. Mariah is at the high on the list in terms of her phrasing, riffs, and writing.
What elements do you look for in a song that makes it especially satisfying for you to perform?
Melody is most satisfying to me. It is what I connect with most emotionally, and in the end it is how the audience best understands what an instrumentalist is "saying." I am always very conscious of melody even when I am soloing. I put in a bit of what some might consider "virtuosity" but I am trying to tell a story.
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?
Find your own voice. If you go to school for it don't let yourself come out sounding like everybody else.