“Putting this album together, as my own personal mission, has been one of the most rewarding and difficult endeavors I have ever encountered.”
Newport Beach/Southern California native. Listened to Bon Jovi, Led Zeppelin, and Neil Diamond growing up. Self-taught pianist and guitarist. Studying at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. How have the 80s songwriters influenced your creativity?
I really gravitated towards the writing from that decade of strong and catchy hooks, and have always strived to incorporate that into my own songwriting. I feel like anyone can catch on to and sing along with 80s pop hit choruses, which I don’t think is true for all decades. These songs also have an amazing live feel that feels like you are at the concert anytime you listen to the recording. I really strive for both these aspects in my music, because some of my favorite memories are singing along to “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey with my best friends.
Debut album, CLWNS. “The album is inspired by the mistakes I’ve made and how I’ve grown from them. The title ‘CLWNS’ is referring to how I felt I have made a fool of myself in the past. The release of this is me coming to terms with my past and loving myself for who I am.” You wrote the songs over a multi-year transformative period of your life, “with a desire to resonate and identify with each and every one of us.” Can you share how fans help shape the music you write?
Songwriting has always been a very personal and therapeutic process for me. When I put out music, I really have no expectation of success. Obviously, it’s great when it happens, but at the core of it, I put out music for me. After my first release, new and old fans expressed how much they can relate to my lyrics and emotion. It helps make this world feel smaller knowing that my feelings are a shared experience. With the writing of the second album, I definitely kept this in mind, and the fans made it so much easier to be more open and honest in my writing.
11, new, independent release, album. You shared that for the past year it was the only thing on your mind. “I am so grateful for the talented musicians I have had the honor to work with over the writing and recording process. Thank you to all of you, and for putting in the time and effort these songs deserve. Another big thank you to my family for supporting me through this process as well as the 840 West team for all your help. Without you all this wouldn’t have been possible.” How has this process changed you?
Putting this album together, as my own personal mission, has been one of the most rewarding and difficult endeavors I have ever encountered. After the writing, recording, branding, and distribution processes where if I wanted help, I had to seek it out, and I was really the only one keeping the timeline for the release, I now know I can do anything if I put my mind to it. This process has really made me grow up.
The album’s cover art. Your birthdate, 11/11 (at 11:11), explains you choosing the number as your favorite. The number has become a calming sign for you, one that tells you someone or the universe is letting you know you are on the right path. Moving forward, overcoming the challenges of the past few years, how do you see your music evolving?
Honestly, I hope I can write more happy songs. This year has been very tough, and this album helped a lot with getting through it. I have been playing a lot of shows lately and it’s so fun to play upbeat rock songs, so I’m hoping to move more in that spectrum with my future releases.
“Generations,” “… Generations taught us one thing: Commitment is so exhausting. Tied down to one just feels so wrong …” Were the lyrics inspired by a personal experience or a general take on society as a whole?
Both! I found that Gen Z is having a problem with commitment, through talks with friends, Tik Tok, and an overall vibe. The divorce rate within our parents’ generation is over 50 percent at this point. I got this idea from this guy I was seeing who told me that he didn’t believe in love because of his parents’ nasty divorce and that anyone who says they are in love is lying. Hence, the first line, “so you say they’re in love, I think that’s just made up.”
“That Bitch,” written about a guy who told you it’s unattractive for a woman to work full time. Recording the song (and “Move On + Pray”) remotely with Gavin Paddock (Sound City Studios) and Brian King during the pandemic. What was the most challenging part of working apart?
Keeping my motivation. It was awesome that I could work with a production team from across the country, and I am so grateful for their hard work. But, being in person in a studio creates such a different vibe, and I would have loved to be there to assist with the entirety of the recording process, instead of the constant calls back in forth.
The plan as of now is to keep writing, recording, and promoting 11!