To communicate a thought or a feeling from within myself through a song is not an easy thing. Even when a song that took five minutes to write turns out great, it doesn’t mean its creation was simple. It just happened to be that it was its time to come out, but everything that went into its pre-construction and evolution, even behind the scenes, was also part of the process.
The truth is that most of the time I sit down to write, I have no idea what I want to say. It’s through the writing process itself that I become aware of what’s really going on inside of me, and as I keep writing I get more clarity. As a lyric comes together I begin to see where it’s taking me, and try to stay focused and connected to the journey. As the idea becomes realized, choosing the right words becomes crucial to the exact image I am trying to create while expressing the thought. When I’m done, I have hopefully learned something about myself and my outlook through the words I have been guided to write.
Determining the music that will be the right vehicle for these words and will help to convey the idea and become a partner in the transmission of the message, is another undertaking. Sometimes the music comes with the words, but still must be developed to become its own artistic expression. Other times a melody might come into my head without any words and I’ll go through my lyrics to see if I’ve already written something that goes well with the tune. Sometimes the words have to be changed a bit to fit the phrasing, while retaining the essence of the message. Other times I’ll just sit down at the piano or pick up my guitar and start singing as I hit the first chord and a miracle happens. I hardly ever think of the words and music at the same time, although there have been those rare occasions when the sound of the harmony and the idea it evokes comes together with words that make sense and just say it like it sounds.
My musical influences go back a lot further than the Easy Listening music I heard in my home as a child in the early 70’s, the American Top 40 Pop of the late 70’s and early eighties, the hard rock of my teens, and classic rock, which remains my favorite. I believe that deep within me I was born with a connection to a certain sound, a certain rhythm, a beat that I move to; a unique voice that’s right for my specific message with an attitude and outlook that is who I truly am as a soul. I believe that any song that I’ve ever liked has had within it a spiritually familiar element that speaks to my own soul.
To bring out a positive message that I want to share, in a song that sounds good, is moving, enjoyably received, appreciated, and uplifting to another, is what I have been striving for in my journey as an artist. The commitment that I have made to my art is one that is unconditional; whether there is fame and fortune in my future has nothing to do with my mission to create and be true to whom I am and my art.
The more I work on developing my craft the better I become at sharing my message. I have learned a tremendous amount from hearing the music of other artists. Being open to personal change and growth and willingness to explore new ideas and to rewrite has helped me to mature as an artist and to look at all of my songs, even ones that I have already released, as a work in progress. I have no problem changing a tune at a performance or on a future recording if I see a better way to express the idea.
Finding my own sound as a singer/songwriter has been a long road. One of the reasons is that I lost myself as a youth by trying to be someone that I wasn’t, and subsequently had to find myself again. Pursuing an image that I looked up to for the wrong reasons caused me to overlook my true voice and message as an artist. In a sense, finding my own voice was something that coincided with finding myself, and as I become comfortable and happy with who I truly am, I’m finding that I feel more satisfaction and harmony expressing it through my art.
Performing in front of an audience hasn’t been difficult. I mean, I really just sit behind the piano and sing my songs with my eyes closed. I do this not because I’m nervous, but in order to get into the song. I haven’t yet felt my performance has come together. I would like more of my personality to come through at a show. I feel like I have the potential to strongly connect with an audience and to have an unbelievable experience, and I’m looking forward to the day that, with help from heaven, it will all come together.
My first two album releases, With Help from Heaven and Son of Israel are collections of piano and vocal tracks. With my latest release Man of Faith, I have begun working with producer Craig Levy of Little Pioneer studios in Soho, who has helped me to begin adding some layers to my sound.
Finding a balance between writing, practicing new material as well as the old, booking and promoting gigs, recording, working on my on-line presence and social media, marketing and advertising etc… isn’t easy. It’s a blessing to have a wife and children who are supportive of my endeavors.
Wishing you only good things,