The art of Songwriting

Songwriting is an important part of the ride for me… I don’t claim to be a world class songwriter, but it’s definitely an art that I practice most every day. I love playing other peoples’ works and creations; it gives me an appreciation for who has been and who is to come. But there is nothing I like better than performing something I’ve created.

One of the questions I get a lot from people who hear my music is, “Did you write that?” And it’s definitely the question I like answering the most because typically 8 out of 10 songs in my sets are mine; it gives me an opportunity to talk about my music and where it comes from. Because of shows like the Voice and American Idol, so much of vocal entertainment has become what I think of as aggrandized karaoke. And admittedly, those shows are platforms for some incredible vocalists; but for me, being a musician is so much more than just singing.

I play a handful of covers, usually from lesser-known artists, but I’ve been writing poetry and lyrics for music almost for as long as I’ve been playing the guitar. I like to think with each collection of songs on my cds I build on my previous work. I also believe that what I write isn’t calculated or formulaic. I know it’s cliché, but when I write I’m inspired by where I am, who I’m with or what’s happening to me at the time – it’s what makes music true…for me anyway.

Sometimes I knock out a song in a few hours, and it just falls into place. “Move your Feet” was like that. I was hanging out with Amy Marie Gaertner (I’m both a friend and a fan), and I just felt like I needed to write a song about what she does (amazing uninhibited dance). The fact that she was willing to come into the studio and sing on the track and the album was just the cat’s pajamas for me.

I had a similar experience writing and recording a song with my younger brother Ellis for my next project. He’s 7 years younger than I am, and just watching him grow made me want capture what it’s like to be a kid (not to mention, he has a natural vibrato to his voice that blows me away).

I’ve never been one to post every little detail of my life online, I love social media just as much as the next person, but there’s magic in leaving ideas up for interpretation. When I am able to share my thoughts and ideas indirectly through lyrics and through instruments… that is when I am most satisfied. Ever since I can remember I have wanted to reach in and pull out the emotions of people, and music is just one means of reaching them. When listeners and fans tell me how my music made them feel, I have reached my goal.”