I’ve been a musician my whole life. As a little kid, I remember standing next to the stereo speaker and feeling the sounds and vibrations of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band with my whole being. I followed my creative instincts into studying music, earning a Bachelor’s degree in classical piano from James Madison University and a Master of Music in jazz and commercial music from Manhattan School of Music. After that, I taught music at The New School, UVA, JMU, and VCU, where I currently teach jazz piano and improvisation. Along the way, I rocked out as a drummer and singer in a band, played solo classical piano recitals, and improvised at jazz clubs and festivals all over the world. I performed at the prestigious Spoleto Festival in Italy, the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, and musically collaborated with artists including Dave Matthews, Wynton Marsalis, David Liebman, Betty Carter’s JazzAhead, and Tom Wopat. I played frequent gigs as an accompanist in New York City, which took me away from my wife and son. My musical pursuits were taking me to greater heights, but something just didn’t feel right. It was difficult for me to admit at the time, but performing in front of audiences wasn’t working for me anymore. It felt like the walls of my career were closing in on me. I considered leaving music altogether to pursue a new career as a therapist.
With the help of good friends, I began to discover the joy of collaborating with non musicians. I began to realize that I felt most at home in intimate, one-on-one musical experiences, like accompanying a singer or cello player, or with a poet or dancer improvising alongside me in the moment. I played for visual artists and storytellers, as well as workshops and therapy groups. I became interested in quieter, more introspective pursuits like meditation and poetry.
Over time, I recognized that my love of music continued to burn brighter than ever, but I needed to find a new paradigm of what it means to be a musician in the world. I needed an outlet for sharing my music in a more personal, meaningful way. Not on a stage separate from the audience, but meeting as equals, each of us helping the other. I wanted to focus less on the music and more on connecting with people in a personal and authentic way. I wanted to use my music to help people feel seen and appreciated and loved.
The road to this point has been long, and it hasn’t been an easy one. I’ve suffered the pain of pulling away from the old and familiar, and learned the value of patience and awaiting what’s next and giving myself over to what’s unfolding. And that road has led me to this point, to creating this podcast for you.
“I Wrote this Song for You” provides me with an outlet, a creative home, and a platform to share my music in a way that is absolutely free of commercial influence. I’m not trying to make millions, fill performance venues, or sell products.
I'm doing this because it is genuinely my purpose and calling. It enriches my life, and I hope it enriches yours, too. I'm writing these songs for you.