Which artist or artists have been influential to your musical career?
Everyone! I think jazz especially draws from all aspects of our life musically. On the piano I play all the classics: I eat Beethoven for breakfast, and Miles Davis for dinner! For listening, I love pianists Brad Mehldau, Robert Glasper, Errol Garner, and Art Tatum.
What advice would you give an artist who is trying to break into the music business?
There are LOTS of careers that can involve your love of music besides being a performing musician, so be sure and look at those options. People who are musicians do what they do because they have to. It is a tough path, but it doesn't really matter because it is your true love and passion.
What is the most challenging aspect of composing new songs?
Writing music is lots of fun for me, and pretty easy. Writing great music....ahh, now that's another story. A melody, riff, hook or beat can come pretty quickly and is thrilling, like a new romance. But to take those first ideas and nurture them into a memorable song can take months. To play a great song well, can take years. A great song is a gift, and you want to do it justice: to present it as it's best, rather than unpolished. That takes a combination of time, nurturing, trial and error, and pure magic!
Do you have a favorite new artist or album that you would recommend to your fans?
I admire Chris Botti's playing very much as well as Diana Krall, and Rossa Passos for that Brazillian sound, but I'm also a big fan of the Arctic Monkeys and I love Eric Benet's voice. I like to listen to a wide variety of music, as I think most people these days like to do.
Is there a special place you find inspirational?
As a composer and pianist, I really am inspired every day: this is my love and my passion. To do these things well, I need to be balanced in my life - the happiness I feel is exuded through my instrument. There's nothing like a walk on a sunny summer day, travel, or being around those you love for that. I've also been known to compose during TV commercial breaks too though!
Do you have a pet?
My little Italian greyhound, Ricky, is a HUGE fan of my music. Curled in his bed, with his head hanging off the edge, his sleeping face so blissful as I play the piano for hours on end. How sweet! I have had the band over to rehearse at my house and they have commented what a music lover he is.