You’ve said “Come To Your Senses” is about dating frustrations. Definitely something that resonates on first listen. Know I’m not alone as your initial streams show it to be true for so many! How did you choose it to be your debut single?
Out of the 5 songs on the EP that I recorded with my producer Matt McVaney, “Come To Your Senses” stood out as the clear frontrunner for the first single. It is the closest, sonically and lyrically, to the pop/country songs that I think country music fans are used to hearing on the radio, but with a little twist. We used a track (no live drums). We used an 80's style synth/keyboard. Then there’s a steel solo. But it also has a bright mandolin sound in the chorus. It tells a story. So the song is uniquely me while still sounding familiar for my audience.
And I have to ask about the 5 senses — their role in dating? Which ones are your favorites? Favorite sights? Sounds? Saw your post from Stinger’s Waterfront — would your favorite tastes include salmon? Smell? The Homesick Pennsylvania candle? And, of course, touch?
I think the senses definitely play a huge role in dating. Am I physically attracted to that person? What kind of cologne are they wearing? Do they have a sexy voice? Does he lightly touch my arm while we’re talking?
My favorite sights are sunsets — the kind that seem to change colors from orange to red to pink to purple in a matter of minutes. I like to look up at the stars on a clear night right before I go into the house after a gig. I like seeing couples laugh and talk over dinner and not touch their cell phones once. I also love things that sparkle.
Sounds have to be Whitney Houston — ha! I also love fiddle in pretty much anything. The sound of my mom’s voice. I like hearing the coffee pot wake up in the morning because that means fresh coffee is imminent.
Tastes have gotta be pancakes! I like dark chocolate (pretty much sweets in general). McDonald’s chicken nuggets and French fries. You can’t really beat a glass a prosecco, vegetables, and fresh fish.
Favorite smell is… coffee brewing! Vanilla and cinnamon. Bath & Body Works makes some really great pancake and pumpkin candles. I don’t usually care for any floral or herbal scents. I love earthy scents and spices.
As far as touch goes, Bath & Body Works has an AMAZING body butter that makes my skin feel so smooth. My parents give really great hugs that make everything feel like it’s going to be okay. I like sitting by the fireplace in the winter and feeling the warmth. When I’m stressed, I like to soak in a hot bubble bath.
What is it like singing the National Anthem like you’ve done for the New York Mets and at other venues?
Scary! I still get anxious every time I sing the anthem. It’s such a small part of the event, but it’s an important one.
Congrats on recently being named a Semi-Final winner of Atlantic City’s Got Talent. Would you go on another singing show like you did on NBC 10 Talent Search and MTV Copycat? What song would you audition with if you did?
Yes, I would! I would probably audition with a Whitney Houston song or one of my original songs.
Saw you’re opening for Adam Doleac. You’ve also shared the stage with Chris Lane and many others. Country music scene on the east coast — how would you say the crowds compare to the ones in Nashville?
Because Nashville is a tourist town — crowds are pretty similar. Everyone knows the words to every song. You can play Garth Brooks, “Fishing in the Dark,” Florida Georgia Line, Joe Diffie, Taylor Swift. The crowd can sing along to every word, whether it’s Nashville or New Jersey.
What was it like seeing Keith Urban post that your duet with him was one of his favorite “Raise ‘Em Up” Tour moments? Dream duet partner?
I remember going on his website and scrolling down to a section that read “Favorite Tour Moments”… and then suddenly seeing my picture pop up with him onstage. Crazy! One of the best nights of my life.
How’s the New Years’ resolution to play new places going so far this year? Favorite venues to date? Bucket list venues?
I played Captain’s Getaway in Iowa this year when I opened for Chris Lane. I had never been to Iowa before, let alone that venue. So that was really cool to get to see that part of the country. It’s been on my bucket list to perform the pre-show at a Lehigh Valley IronPigs game, which I just recently did. (Get the corn and the Bavarian soft pretzel if you go). I’ve also gotten to play quite a few local venues I haven’t played before like Farm & Fisherman and Timothy’s.
Saw you’ve also acted in a post-Broadway production of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. How does performing before a crowd of concert goers differ from an audience of playgoers?
Concert goers can be drinking, texting, taking videos, chatting with friends, singing along with you. Playgoers are very attentive. They’re following the story of the play, they’re laughing at jokes, they’re tearing up at the sad moments. It is equally hard to grab and keep the audience attention for both, though. But that’s the fun of performing. You have to be able to get up onstage and command attention first, then hold the room.
Published author and songwriter. How do the two styles of writing differ?
I’ve had a few short stories published. I like to write about whirlwind romances or really haunting horror stories. When I write songs, they’re deeply personal about things that are bothering me or things that I’m happy about and want to share with someone. So for me, being an author means creating fantastical worlds and stories, and being a songwriter means exploring my own.
You’ve said that “music has no rules, and that’s what I love about it.” How has your music stretched the no boundaries?
I’m a country artist who plays an electric, 6-string banjo over 808's and hip-hop beats. Like I mentioned earlier, I use an 80's synth sound in the same song as a steel solo. More country artists are experimenting with sounds and cross-genres, but overall, commercial country music all has a similar sound. I’m trying to break that mold.
What’s the synopsis for the dark fantasy/horror novels you’ve written? Were they inspired by any of the horror films you’ve watched?
I don’t want to give it away! It just came from an idea I had in high school that I thought was different and commercial, so I wrote it when I was 16 or 17. I actually pitched it around to some literary agents and got some good feedback. Might revisit it someday!
Favorite authors/novels? Books on your to be read list?
Stephen King and Nicholas Sparks are my two favorite authors. I did my senior book project on Needful Things, and The Notebook is such a classic. But I also love Anna Karenina and Gone With the Wind. I STILL haven’t read Middlemarch or Arabian Nights plus a ton of newer novels.
Competitive bocce ball. What else do you and your family love to do together?
Eat! We love to go out to dinner together and just talk. We also all love watching movies.
Read you wrote a song, “Imagine”, for your mom. What inspired that write?
I’m really close with my mom. I wrote that song for her years ago when I first started writing and sang it for her at a local golf club. So it was a gift of sorts, just to try to put into words how much she means to me.
How close are you to owning a pair of cowboy boots in every color?
I have red, lime green, navy, orange, pink, white — some wild colors! I still don’t have baby blue, canary yellow, or magenta.
“Come To Your Senses” Artwork & Photography by Atomos Photography